Malam Imam Dalhatu Imam, my good friend, brother, schoolmate and colleague departed this world in the early hours of Friday, April 26, 2018, after a brief illness.
I first met him in Kaduna Polytechnic. We came in the same year but he was a year ahead of me and we remained very close friends, such that it was said that we belonged to the same school of thought, even though I couldn’t fathom what that meant. We became even closer when he was elected president of Mass Communication Students’ Association (MACOSA) and fate had it that I was to succeed him in that position. Even at that level, I recall with nostalgia the matured role he played and support he gave me to emerge in that hotly contested election.
It was his belief and conviction that as aspiring journalists then, we should bear the light by shedding primordial sentiments that were being pushed by some retrogressive elements. That was your philosophy and what you stood and fought for all through your short, impactful and eventful life. After graduating from school, we parted ways but kept in touch and fortunately, destiny brought us together when you were appointed the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and our relationship continued to blossom within those four years. Again, as fate would have it, you moved over to Sokoto with our big brother and leader, His Excellency, Governor Aminu Tambuwal and again, I succeeded you in the position you had held in the House of Representatives. Dalhatu, you were a friend that stayed closer than a brother. You were there for me through thick and thin.
Whenever I encountered any challenge or difficulty in my work, you were the first point of call. You never hesitated to offer your counsel and suggestions which always helped. Our bond continued to wax strong and even extended to our families.
You were with me during my wedding and I am eternally indebted and would forever remain grateful to you for the brotherly love, friendship and support you gave me both in cash and kind. Although all arrangements had been perfected, Imam chauffeured me and my wife to and from the church and also to the reception venue.
He was all over the place as the chief event planner. Memories of you and your children when you brought them to my house for my daughter’s birthday is still fresh in our hearts.
Ever smiling and hardly provoked to anger, Imam, you were a fine gentleman, humble, down to earth, never pretentious, hard working and a visionary whose leadership qualities began to manifest very early in life.
You were a leader, rare gem, and a family man who possessed a high sense of reasoning and sound judgement, a good and brilliant writer who, within short period, reached the peak of the journalism profession due to your prowess, humility and brilliance. Imam started his career in New Nigerian Newspapers Kaduna and excelled as sports writer and editor.
He would later move to Thisday Newspaper where he rose from Zamfara State correspondent to Kaduna Bureau Chief and then, the Group Political Editor of the paper. People knew Imam as a journalist and PR professional but he was also an entrepreneur and an educationist who invested so much in providing quality and affordable education to children of the less privileged in the society, including scholarship for brilliant and indegent students. Imam was sponsoring not fewer than twenty children in universities, tertiary and secondary schools.
As I entered the ICU along with others to remove Imam’s body for his final journey home, the grim reality of the mystery of life and death dawned on me. Just few hours back he was alive, we cracked jokes, talked and I left him but in a twinkle of an eye there he was laying lifeless.
I was once again reminded that death is a necessary end and it comes when it will come. It has taken you away from us. We will greatly and sorely miss you but your two wives and four children and indeed, your beloved mother, brothers and sisters who were there with you at the hospital will miss you more. His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, will miss you.
He has lost a trusted and worthy aide, because while you worked for him, you gave out your best and helped project him to the world, such that you became a reference point as far as image management in Nigeria is concerned. You led the way while others followed with your style of writing, innovative approach to issues and your exemplary human relations. Of all his sterling qualities, Governor Tambuwal is known more for his courage but he couldn’t hold back his tears when he arrived the hospital to convey your body to your house. I saw him weeping for your loss and I pray God will comfort him.
Your relationship with your boss was enviable. I recall you told me how Tambuwal stood by, protected and defended you, even against his political interest and under much pressure from people who saw you as an “alien” who had come from far away Taraba to occupy a very plum position in their state.
Only God will reward Governor Tambuwal for what he did for Imam.
I still cannot believe that you are gone! Myself and Mohammed Isa Funtua were with you on Thursday evening, and a few hours before your death, myself and Yukubu Tulu went to visit you and we met your mom beside you.
You had recovered but had to stay back to rest on doctors’ order. I remember you told us that you switched on your mobile phone to read news during your rest and someone in particular called twice but you couldn’t answer the call and then the person sent a text message in Hausa, saying, “Allah ya mana arziki mu rabu da wulakanci”, which means, “may God make us wealthy so that we won’t be humiliated”. May God forgive that fellow.
When all is said and done, your family, your children and wives will be left alone widowed and fatherless. I pray God gives us the heart to remember them, especially baby Aminu, who is barely two months old. Adieu, my brother and friend.