One would have thought that, given these unusual times of COVID-19 in Nigeria and the high number of sudden and “mysterious” deaths in Kano, the news of yet another death should not have come as a surprise.
But the news of the sudden death of my primary school classmate, dear friend, colleague and a thoroughbred professional, Engr. Ibrahim Khaleel Inuwa (Khaleel), on Monday 11 May 2020, hit me like a thunderbolt.
It was as shocking as it was sudden.
I had exchanged text messages with him only two days before. Another colleague had spoken to him the night before and yet another, even that morning.
He had even commented on a post in an NIM group that he belonged to at about 11:25 that morning.
According to his son, Umar, they were actually discussing at home when Khaleel slumped slightly.
He was however alert enough, soon thereafter, to walk to the car with which they rushed him to see a doctor.
At the doctor’s, Khaleel even engaged in some banter with the doctor on the challenges of the COVID 19 epidemic in Nigeria, before he passed out again suddenly and died.
By Umar’s estimation, the gap between the first attack at home and the second one at the doctor’s that killed him was just about 15 minutes!
Khaleel and I were admitted to the then newly-opened Gwale Senior Primary School in Kano City, 60 years ago, where we shared the same class for the next 3 years.
Our class set actually set a record for all primary schools in Kano, when we graduated in 1962 that is probably still unbeaten.
The record is that, due to the good teaching we received in a public primary school and the commitment and dedication of our teachers, who set up many weeks of extra evening lessons (for which they weren’t paid any extra), up to nine of us in our set did so well in the Common Entrance Examination organized by the Northern Regional Government, that we were selected to go to three of the best secondary schools in the North, at the time.
Four of us went to Government College Keffi, four to Government College Zaria (now Barewa College) and Khaleel to Government College Kaduna.
All of us kept in touch, through letter writing (the only option then) and when we were back home on holidays.
We were also contemporaries in Ahmadu Bello University, with Khaleel studying Engineering and I Economics.
Being both in the ABU Samaru Main Campus, we interacted through various associations, fora and, of course, as friends and classmates.
We also interacted and visited each other, as graduate students in the UK, with Khaleel at the Cranfield Institute of Technology and I at the London School of Economics.
My first visit to see Khaleel in Cranfield in fact, was my first experience of very rural England.
An Engineer and a Half
Khaleel was very proud of, and passionate about, engineering, right from his student days.
He was always very effusive about engineering.
I cannot recall which of our friends gave him the nickname of “Injiniya da rabin Injiniya“, i.e. an engineer and a half rolled into one, to which he answered very proudly.
No surprise at all, therefore, that he joined and rose to the top of his various professional associations: to become the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, and of COREN, etc.
He also distinguished himself in the practice of engineering in both the public and private sectors and latterly, through the private company that he established.
Khaleel was also a passionate and committed patriot, in devoting his time, energy and resources to various national, state and local causes, organizations and NGOs aimed at enhancing development and improving the welfare of the less privileged in the society.
An example are two NGOs of which both Khaleel and I were founders: the Kano Peace and Development Initiative (KAPEDI) and the Kano-Jigawa Professionals Forum (KJPF).
It was Khaleel’s commitment and dedication, as Chairman of the Organizing Committee that ensured the great success recorded at our last two versions of the KJPF Mentoring Programme for Young Professionals, held in Kano.
Honest and Straightforward
Khaleel was very loyal to his friends, including those who are less previleged, materially or otherwise.
He however did not tolerate fools, gossip and idleness.
As a result some people greatly misunderstood him.
I have had occasions when someone would say to me about Khaleel, this your friend is so proud and unfriendly.
I often reply them that, if you know Khaleel, he is one of the simplest people to know and get along with.
Knowing Khaleel is to know that he is honest and straightforward, two qualities that are neither common, nor appreciated in our society.
If he perceived you as relating to him on the same platform, then you would find him very amiable and welcoming.
If you gave him the slightest doubt, however, Khaleel could shut you out completely.
What I admired most about Khaleel also is that it did not bother him what you thought of him, as long as his conscience was clear.
One regret that I have, is that Khaleel did not live long enough to launch his autobiography, which he had been writing for more than five years now and which is in the final stage of printing.
As I was the one that linked him up with the printers, they called me on the day of his death to confirm if it was true.
The publishers also said that, in their decades of publishing, this is the first time that the author of an autobiography has died, before they have had the chance to deliver on his order.
As I assured both the publishers and Khaleel’s son, Umar, we the friends and associates of Khaleel would, in Shaa Allah, soon after the lid is lifted on the COVID-19 epidemic, ensure that Khaleel’s autobiography is appropriately launched and due honor and recognition are given to our classmate, friend and professional colleague.
To his wife, Lami, and his children, our hearts and condolences go out to you, as we share in your loss and grief.
We are consoled, however by two Quranic injunctions: Kullu nafsin za’ikatul mauti– Every soul shall taste death and Inna lillAh wa inna ilaihi rajiun– From God we come and to him shall we return.
May Allah bless Khaleel’s soul and grant him Jannatul Firdaus.
Dr Shamsuddeen Usman is a former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Childhood killer diseases: NGO gets $29m grants to reach 1m caregivers
An International Non-Governmental Organization, New Incentive, said it has received a grant of $29 million under it project – All Babies Are Equal targeted to reach over one million caregivers and immunize their infants against childhood killer diseases in four Northwest States .
Kano Focus reports that the four Northern states are Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Sokoto.
These childhood killer diseases include, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcal disease and measles.
The Stakeholder Relations Director, of the NGO Nura Muhammad disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting with the benefiting states held in Kano.
Muhammad said the grant would be disbursed as conditional cash transfer to support the caregivers to ensure they avail their infants for the Immunization.
He said, “New Incentive – All Babies Are Equal, NI-ABAE has received commitments of over $29 million of funding over the next 3 years to reach over 1 million caregivers and their infants in Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto States.
This covers expansion to 35 LGAs with continued operations through Dec 2023.
“The organization aims to reduce child mortality through cost-effective and evidence-based health interventions.
In Nigeria, the organization operates as the All Babies Are Equal Initiative and implements the conditional cash transfers (CCT) for routine immunization (CCTs for RI) program.
“The flagship CCTs for RI program operated by ABAE disburses cash incentives to caregivers conditional on infants receiving four vaccines: BCG (against tuberculosis), PENTA (against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b), PCV (against pneumococcal disease), and MCV (against measles).
These vaccinations are part of the routine schedule for infant immunizations in Nigeria and are provided at no cost to the caregiver through government-supported clinics.
Upon confirmation of their infant receiving a vaccine, the caregiver receives ₦500 for the first four routine immunization visits and ₦2,000 for the fifth visit.
“The cash transfers compensate for transport, lost trading income, and waiting time while creating behavioural change through awareness of routine immunizations.
“The CCTs for RI Program has been implemented in the states of Katsina, Zamfara, 2017 while Jigawa in 2018.
To date, the program has enrolled over 390,000 infants whose caregivers have received over 1 billion naira in conditional cash transfers.
An independent impact assessment of NI-ABAE’s CCTs for RI program (2017 – 2020) found that the program increases the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by 27 percentage points, and increases rates of individual vaccinations by 14 to 21 percentage points.
Beyond vaccination, the assessment found that the program contributed to improved knowledge about vaccination among caregivers in the catchment areas served by the program.
“Immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, saving 2 to 3 million lives yearly (WHO) and there is evidence that suggests a 27 percentage points increase in the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by a conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program (NI-ABAE RCT Impact Assessment 2017-2020),” the Stakeholder Relations Director, Nura Muhammad however said.
Meet Abdul: The most talented Dabo Babies player of all time
Picking out the footballing stars of the future is a tricky task.
There are so many factors which could hinder the progression of even the most professional of teenagers.
But some do seem destined to reach the top, while others display a work ethic that’s even greater than the natural talent at their disposal.
The second paragraph could be the case with Dabo Babies talented, 19-year-old forward Abdul Attacker.
He burst onto the scene when he was playing for a local club, Golden Bullet and was snapped up by famous Dabo Babes FC after the departure of former Nigeria U-20 star, Nazifi Yahaya.
And has since caught the attention of football enthusiast across the country with his brilliant display for Dabo Babes.
Abdul tormented four-time Nigeria Professional Football League Champions, Kano Pillars FC after he scored twice against the Sai Masu Gida in a friendly match before the kickoff of the second stanza of the just concluded 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL).
He was the catalyst to Dabo Babes good run to the Kano state Tofa Premier League title driving the famous academy from game to game until they reach the final.
The dazzling forward produces mouthwatering display to earn himself accolades from the Pen Profession who could not hide their love for the next Super Star during the Tofa Premier League final.
He likes his game to that of Real Madrid forward, Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich deadly striker, Robert Lewandowski.
The 19-year-old’s talent and versatility has some people wondering whether he could be a bolster for the Nigeria National U-20 team, the Flying Eagles for their upcoming assignments.
As preparations for the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League season gearing towards climax, many top clubs are interested in snapping him to bolster their squad as well as few other European top teams.
He has scored 55 goals and provided further 22 assists for Dabo Babes in less than three and a half years.
Lamido, Jega celebrate NEPU @ 71
Dr. Nuruddeen Muhammad
Yesterday, Sunday, the 8th of August, 2021, I accompanied His Excellency Dr Sule Lamido (CON) who was the speaker at a symposium organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University Kano (Mambayya House) to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the Northern Elements Progressives Union (NEPU), with the theme; ‘Politics of Principles and the Phenomenon of Political Party Defections in Nigeria’.
The event which held under the distinguished chairmanship of the cerebral Dr. Tijjani Muhammad Naniya, also had the ebullient Dr. Auwalu Anwar as the sole discussant. While Professor Attahiru Jega, Professor Dandatti Abdulkadir, Dr. Akilu Sani Indabawa, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Professor Sule Bello, Dr. Nasir Fagge, former NEPU/PRP regional, federal and state parliamentarians, women and youth leaders from across the country, notably Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna States all ran incisive commentaries.
The cacophony of voices were as fierce as they were sharply different in tone, content and delivery. But by far, that which stood out and generated most responses was Dr Lamido’s lead assertion that the raison d’etre for the NEPU/PRP ideological and political initiatives was to liberate the common folks (the Talakawas), first from the clutches of the combined reppression of the colonial overloads and their willing surrogates in the Native Authority establishments in Northern Nigeria, and the restrictions placed on them in political participation, aspirations and freedoms.
He forcefully argued that the movements have achieved on both counts as the children of yesterday’s Talakawas are today the new overloads and oppressors who deny their fellow Talakawas quality leadership as presidents, governors, parliamentarians, ministers, council chairmen and their councils. He concluded that the movements (atleast as organised political actions) should rest and cease to exist. And that today’s progressives should instead leverage around available political opportunities/platforms to confront the existing selfish order using present day political sentiments and realities as mobilization tools.
But recalling copiously from memory, the lead speaker canvassed for an ideological graft transplant from the NEPU/PRP days in ways that the moral and ethical characters of both politics and governance of today can benefit from the sound value systems of old oder.
He narrated how he first resigned as a member of the House of Representatives in Lagos in 1983 purely on moral grounds, and then flew to Kano to convince the then Governor Alhaji Abubakar Rimi to do same as the governor of the old Kano State when the duo defected from the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) that gave them the mandates in the first place.
He then described the present phenomenon of political party defections in Nigeria as the worst form of corruption.
This profound submission drew a symphony of responses from today’s PRP practitioners who are mostly academics. Leading the park was Professor Attahiru Jega who argued that without justice in leadership and the level of impunity as is the case today, the NEPU/PRP cause has just begun and asked Sule Lamido to come lead the national onslaught.
Many other PhDs and Professors joined in the call that Lamido would later say lacked sufficient local and broader national political insight. It is significant to note that I was to totally align myself with the Sule Lamido’s perspective of the argument only yesterday, having engaged with him for over a decade on the same exact topic as the Jegas had done yesterday at Mambayya.
I am now fully convinced that the NEPU/PRP politics exclusively represented yesterday’s political sentiments and realities in the North with no much utility for either our present political and social circumstances or broader national appeal.
The Mambayya rendezvous is prehaps the only remaining theatre in Nigeria where political practitioners, activists and ideologues meet political researchers, theorists and even wannabees in a real time intellectual brawl. Bayero University Kano is both creative and thoughful in this annual ritual. Mallam Aminu Kano and his comrades had lived a very politically active, intellectually robust, and ideologically/philosophically sound lives to deserve this honour.
When academic excellence and classroom sense meet self taught philosophers and the practical hands on the streets, a cetain unique flavour emerges. Yesterday’s flavor has unfortunately left a distinctively sour test in my mouth. The fact that the Talaka is today his very own oppressor is a very bitter pill for some of us to swallow. And even more bitter is the second fact that the second on coming liberation of the Talakawas (from themselves this time around) will have to invent it’s devices with no NEPU/PRP emotional relic to rely on.
This, on a very personal note, was a befitting way to round off my three weeks extended sallah visit in Jigawa.
Dr. Muhammad was Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Federal Minister of Information as
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