Monday, January 13, 2020 has gone down in history as a day a shinning Northern Star exited Nigeria’s firmaments. The Star was Alhaji Alhassan Shu’aibu… a grandfather like no other.
Born into the Royal Family of Kanam Emirate of Plateau State in 1935, Alhaji Alhassan Shu’aibu passed on after a prolonged illness that gave us the impression that he could pull through eventually. But that was not to be!
His passage has left a large vacuum that will be difficult to fill…not only in the family but also Plateau State in particular and the nation in general. The joy, however, is that he lived an exemplary life and left a legacy that will be difficult to match let alone surpass.
He was an accomplished public servant, a consummate politician, an astute business mogul and a deeply religious man as exemplified by the position he held as the Secretary-General of Jama’tul Nasril Islam (JNI), Plateau State Chapter, at the time of his demise.
The late technocrat served the state creditably. He rose to the position of the Permanent Secretary and was also a Board Member of the Warri Refinery, a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He was also a key component in the emergency administration of Major-Gen. Chris M. Alli following the impeachment of Governor Joshua Dariye in 2006.
No one could have captured his immense contributions to humanity than the Plateau state Governor, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong. In his condolence message, to his immediate family and the Kanam Emirate, Governor Lalong described the philanthropist’s death as a great loss to the Emirate, Plateau state and the Nigeria as a whole.
He recalled the numerous contributions he made to the development of Plateau state and the nation through various responsibilities he carried out including his tenure as Permanent Secretary in the Plateau State Civil Service and as Board Member of the Refinery, including his stint as President Shagari’s Presidential Liaison Officer (PLO), in the Shagari administration.
While commiserating with the immediate family of our grandfather, Alhaji Alhassan Shu’aibu, and the Kanam Emirate Council where he was a Prince, the Governor also noted that the legacies he left behind would remain indelible in the hearts of many who came across him and witnessed his benevolence, compassion, deep knowledge and sacrifices in service to Kanam Emirate, Plateau State, Nigeria and humanity.
The Governor had also visited him at his Abuja residence on January 7, 2020 shortly after he was discharged from the hospital. He was also represented at his burial at the Gudu Cemetery, Abuja, by a delegation led by the Secretary to the Government of Plateau State, Prof. Danladi Abok Atu. The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Idris Ahmed Wase, was also among several sympathisers that included his friends and business associates who were present to pay their last respects.
For me, I will sorely miss him. He was the most fascinating person in the world I have come across in my lifetime so far. It is not an exaggeration to describe him as a reservoir of knowledge and wisdom. He was also a man of honour and integrity whose qualities have rubbed us off as his grandchildren as well as our parents. He was generous to a fault and he never turned away anyone needing his assistance. Even though he lived to the ripe age of 85, humanity has lost a great man and a peace-maker full of kindness.
I still find it extremely difficult to come to terms with the reality of his death. Although I reside in faraway United States, I was always in constant touch with him, monitoring his health condition. And we visited occasionally to register our hope and prayers for Allah to grant him a quick recovery. He was my hero and role model. If his exemplary lifestyle is the guarantee for immortality, he would still have been alive today for all of us to continue to enjoy his presence. Those that were fortunate to come across him would feel the same as me. He exuded the aura of great personality wherever he went. His presence amongst his peers in social gatherings, business meetings, and official functions always stood him out as a man you could not ignore and must be listened to. His views and opinions were not only respected but also sought after. His presence commanded a high degree of dignity and yet one still felt his light-heartedness, generosity and kindness. He was always a delight to behold.
Indeed, he has left big shoes the size that many within and outside the family would find difficult to grow into. Although he has gone to join his ancestors in Aljannat Firdausi, we pray his good deeds will forever remain in our memories to be passed on to unborn generations. It is the greatest tribute and honour we owe him.
As we, mourn the painful exit of our patriarch and icon, I, on behalf of the family extend my gratitude to all those that shared with us the pain of sojourn to be with Lord Almighty Allah (SWT) with us, including His Excellency, the Governor of Plateau State, Barr. Simon Lalong and the entire people of Nasarawa, Benue and host of others from far and near for their condolences in our moment of grief. This is not also to forget those who stood by him and assisted in one way or the other as well as those far and wide who commiserated with the family through phone calls.
May Allah grant his soul Aljannatul Firdausi. Ameen.
Ai’sha Umar wrote in from San Diego, California, USA