Professor (Ambassador) Sa’ad Abubakar was deservedly rewarded with the revered Nigerian National Honours Award (NNHA) of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by a former President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR), in 2010, in recognition and appreciation of his sterling contributions to the growth, development and advancement of Nigeria locally and internationally in education, administration, diplomacy, community service and politics.
Abubakar was a renowned Professor of History and an outstanding product of the famed School of History of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, whose PhD thesis titled: “Lamibe Fombina” (Emirs of the East) emerged as the most authoritative, comprehensive, compelling and best-selling book on the political history of Adamawa Emirate.
Prof. Abubakar was an intellectual prince from the intellectual dynasty of his equally intellectually-gifted father, the immediate-past Waziri of Muri (prime minister), late Modibbo Sa’ad Abubakar, popularly known as Waziri Sa’ad. To the best of my knowledge, the Waziri Sa’ad family remains the only family in the whole of Muri/Northern Taraba State, Taraba State and probably, North Eastern Nigeria that produced two professors: Sa’ad and his younger brother, Prof. Abdulmumini Sa’ad Abubakar.
His deeply saddening death on Saturday, September 7, 2019, marked an end to a remarkable chapter in the life of an illustrious son of Nigeria that contained sentences written in gold, paragraphs written in diamonds and punctuation marks written in silver detailing his struggles and successes as a pillar of hope and progress for his people/community in Jalingo Local Government Area (LGA), Greater Muri Emirate/Northern Taraba State, Taraba State, North Eastern Nigeria, Nigeria, Africa and mankind as a whole.
Prof. Abubakar graduated with a First Class from the Department of History of ABU (where I also graduated from decades after he left) despite the seeming impossibility of making such an elitist grade in a department in which, A is said to be for Allah only and B (Second Class Upper) for Bala Usman (late) only, C (Second Class Lower) as the best grade that the best among the undergraduates can make.
He subsequently served three university communities: ABU, University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) and the University of Abuja (UNIAB) with distinction at different times as Graduate Assistant, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) and Head of Consultancy/Post Graduate Studies.
Similarly, he meritoriously served the defunct Gongola State as pioneer Commissioner for Education during which he facilitated the establishment of the Colleges of Education and Agriculture in Jalingo.
Furthermore, the defunct Gongola State benefited immensely from his administrative acumen when he served as Secretary to the Military Government (SMG) under Major General Muhammadu Jega (Rtd) as he ensured the smooth running of government through improved productivity and excellent service delivery.
He equally served Greater Muri Emirate excellently as the Ubandoman Muri (a high profile traditional title) through which he contributed massively in the overall development of Muri as a member of the Muri Emirate Council (MEC) under the glorious reign of the immediate past Emir of Muri, His Royal Highness, late Alhaji Umaru Abba Tukur (OFR).
In acknowledgement of his impressive credentials as a public and community servant, a former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (Rtd), appointed him as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Switzerland in the late 1980s and he accomplished the assignment to the satisfaction of the then Federal Military Government.
In his quest to directly enhance good governance through people-focused policies and programmes, Prof. Abubakar sought for political power in Taraba State as the gubernatorial candidate of the then All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003 where he performed creditably well in the poll but lost with the slightest margin to the eventual winner, a former Governor, Reverend Jolly Nyame (CON).
The tourism/cultural industry in Taraba State received a massive boost through exposure to international level when he held sway as the pioneer Chairman of the then newly established Taraba State Tourism Development Board (TSTDB) with the likes of Ambassador Idris Adamu Waziri, Chief (Mrs.) Salome Audu Jankada (OON), Ambassador Sulaiman Zubairu, Alhaji Umaru Baba (OFR), Alhaji Ibrahim Tumba and Right Honourable Simon Yunusa Dogari as members, with my humble self as the administrative officer, through which, I was privileged to learn a lot under him.
He was still serving Taraba State as Chairman of the Governing Council of Taraba State University (TSU) when he breathed his last.
Sometime in April he called me on phone and told me of a historical book he had being working on for some years now alongside other prominent intellectuals of Muri on the individual history of the 12 Emirs of Muri titled: Lamibe Muri (Emirs of Muri) and I pledged to meet him when next I came to Abuja. Sadly, the meeting was destined not to hold following his death. It is my firm believe therefore, that the other prominent intellectuals working with him on the historical book will continue from where he stopped as part of honouring his blessed memory.
He was a professor of professors, historian of historians, academician of academicians, author of authors, ambassador of ambassadors, administrator of administrators, leader of leaders, commissioner of commissioners, SMG of SMGs, politician of politicians, chairman of chairmen, son of sons, brother of brothers, husband of husbands, father of fathers, uncle of uncles, in-law of in-laws and unbandoma of ubandomas.
My condolences to Muri Emirate for losing a brilliant mind, Adamawa Emirate for losing the loudest voice on their history, the academia for losing a star, Jalingo for losing a remarkable son, Taraba for losing an elder statesman, Nigeria for losing an intellectual giant, Waziri Sa’ad family for losing the head of their intellectual dynasty, his immediate family for losing a dependable flag/name-bearer and hero, his extended family for losing a nationally-celebrated relation, political allies for losing a principled leader, his friends for losing a long-standing trustee and myself for losing a teacher, a mentor, model and namesake.
Oh Allah, You are the most high, most powerful, most compassionate, most loving, most forgiving, most lenient and most comforting; may You bestow Your infinite mercy on our Prof, overlook his human frailties and warmly comfort him in his grave preparatory to raising him under the shade of Al’arsh (divine umbrella) on the Day of Judgement enroute entrance into Aljannatul Firdaus, Ameen!
Zongre wrote from Yerima Bappa Sanda Road, Turaki A Ward, Jalingo