On May 26, we were awaken by the sad news of the demise of Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, Chairman of the board of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency. He died at Niziamiye, the Nigeria – Turkish Hospital at Abuja. He died at around 4 am, after hospitalisation from a brief illness.
Dr. Lame was born on the 10th of February, 1953. He attended Ahmadu Bello University Zaria where he obtained a BSc. in Political Science. He later bagged a doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration from the Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, in the United States. He was appointed as Registrar, to the Bauchi College of Arts and Science, then popularly known as BACAS, in 1978. He later became the college principal in 1984. He later served as the commissioner for education from 1985 to 1987.
He was an educator and a politician. Highlights of his career include serving as a senator in the third republic in 1992. He was the Deputy National Secretary of the PDP from 1998 to 1999. He was then appointed a special adviser on Narcotics and Financial Crime to former President Obasanjo in 1999. He was later to be appointed Minister of Police Affairs in the Yar’adua administration. He later became the Director General of the Peoples Democratic Institute in 2002. He was at one time, the National Secretary of the Northern Union, formed by the late father of current Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who described him as ‘An astute educationist, parliamentarian and patriotic Nigerian who played leading roles in the socio – economic development of the country”. He was also a member of the emirate council as the Santurakin Bauchi. He is a member of the Sarkin Yaki dynasty (chief warrior) in Bauchi, being the third son of the late Sarkin Yaki, Yakubu Lame.
Dr. Lame was the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in Bauchi state. He was a close political ally of Alh. Bola Tinubu, and led the party in Bauchi state, into the merger talks – and also at the national level, that saw to the birth of the now ruling APC. He was the leader of the group popularly called the ‘merger group'(yan maja), that saw to the establishment of the APC in the state, registration of members, and holding of congresses for various official party positions. He alongside other notable APC stalwarts like Senator Mohammed Mohammed, late Senator Ali Wakili, late Garba Gadi – former Deputy Governor of Bauchi state, late Eng. Sadiq Mahmood, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, present Speaker of the House of Representatives, Eng. Nuhu Gidado, former Deputy Governor of Bauchi state, Amb. Tuggar (current German Ambassador), and a whole host of other prominent politicians of Bauchi state extraction; toiled for the success of the merger of the APC, and subsequently its success at the polls of 2015.
Dr. Lame was one of the front runners of the gubernatorial primaries of the APC, alongside former Gov. M A Abubakar, Amb. Tuggar and a few others. In fact, Dr. Lame was primed to clinch the party nomination for the gubernatorial seat, until the last hour, when M A Abubakar became victorious, to become the APC’s gubernatorial flagbearer. The rest is now history.
After M A Abubakar’s victory at the 2015 polls, there were wide consultations to consolidate ties between elders of the party in the state. Dr. Lame, an astute politician that he were, was perhaps the most co-operative, in closing ranks, and sticking together as one house of the APC. A year and a half later, he was appointed the Chairman of the governing board of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, in recognition of his efforts towards the success of the party in the state, and also as a committed party member. He again contested as a gubernatorial aspirant in the 2018 primaries of the party, losing again to the incumbent Governor M A Abubakar for the second time running.
As an education administrator, Dr. Lame invested heavily on education in the state. He was the owner and founder of the Fariah Foundation, which runs a Nursery and Primary School. He also launched another site of the School at the FCT – Abuja, and was working on starting a private university before he died.
He was a great employer of labour, as the owner of Fariah water, (both sachet & bottled) and Fariah suites; a luxury hospitality facility in the heart of the GRA area of the State. The combination of the three investments in the state, served as a great employer of labor for the citizens of Bauchi state. This is rare, from most of the elite of Bauchi state, be it political or otherwise.
Dr. Lame was a politician of a different sort, not of the ilk, flooding our political space. He was genuinely concerned about bringing development to Bauchi, and moving the state forward. Dr. Lame was a frank talker, telling it blue or black as it were. And as an academician, one must be prepped for the whole nine yards of erudite debate and discourse with him, for he was ever ready wherever you meet him.
In 2015, Lame gave me a sound political advise but I stood against what he envisaged. 5 years later, I was running helter skelter to find his advise and brute political tutelage, which he had pointed me at before, and I had totally disagreed with him. He was a rallying point and a leader of the progressives in Bauchi state. He was also a proponent of sustaining sound traditional values, as he was an active member of the committee of traditional title holders in Bauchi, that sought the stabilisation and harmonisation of emirate – leadership structures in the state. We will miss him and his leadership. But we will not forget his message and what he stood for, especially towards the educational emancipation of Bauchi state. President Buhari described him as one of sound intellect and outstanding wit. He said Dr. Lame had served the nation selflessly and faithfully. Buhari said, “He and a handful of others, traveled across the states of the federation, spreading the APC message at it’s inception, paving way for it’s acceptance and eventual success in 2015, and February this year”. Senator Saraki said, “Dr. Lame rose from humble beginnings into national limelight. His contributions to the upliftment of the nations education, party politics, and Nigeria Police Force remain legendary”. The loss is for all of Bauchi to bear, and we pray that the blessings and providence of the Ramadhaan period in which he died, grant him favour in the sight of Allah.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.