Tribute to our beloved father, ‘Malami’ of Rinji

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On May 19, 2013, equivalent to 9 Rajb 1434 AH – Islamic calendar, was the first time I lost consciousness! It echoed “Ummi, Baban mu ya rasu” (Ummi, our dad is dead) Ya Allah! I didn’t believe what I heard from my sister Zainab M. Malami as she dropped her phone. I ran back to my hostel to pick up my handbag and proceed to ATBUTH, Bauchi. It was a quiet Sunday evening. I cried profusely as I was being consoled. We were to travel tears-filled from Gadau to Bauchi/Rinji.

I remember my last moments with ‘Yaya’. We grew up addressing him so, (Yaya mai Minti or Yaya mai Mota) because he gives out minti (sweets) to Islamiya kids. He was strict but calm. Muhammad Hamzat Malami a.k.a ‘Kaigama/Sakatare’ was born in Rinjin Gaini, Toro local government area of  Bauchi state. He attended primary school in Ribina/Gyamzo after memorising the Holy Quran in Rinji’s ‘Makarantan Allo’- Quranic School. He proceeded to Bauchi Teachers’ College and later Bayero University Kano a B. Ed and ABU Zaria for a PGD. He did his NYSC in Rivers state and started his career as a teacher. He held many political positions in Bauchi state. He had been diabetic for 10 years and was hospitalised for three months before his death.

The late Malami was a philanthropist. He distributed foodstuff and money to many. He was so simple that he eats together with all manner of people and friends, irrespective of religion or tribe. As diabetes sets in the later years, he was still considering people that were already used to eating with him. He later had his separate tray of selected foods for his insulin management and they too got theirs with our normal household meals. How Considerate!

First thing that came to my mind after his demise was ‘yanzu shikenan mun zama abin tausayi?’ amma Allah Bai barmu haka nan ba, Allah SWT Ya tausaya mana (Now, is it over, we’re pitiable? But God never abandons us). Truly, God has been with us over the years. It’s 10 years now, Malami’s memories still lingers. We are bound to spend our lives living his history through keeping our bonds with each other tight, his families’ and friends’ ties on too, various Sadaqah jariyah and daily prayer over his departed soul. His love, care and respect for his mother when she was alive are legendary.

I’m proudly living his dream for me on education and I shall continue the cause of my religion and serving Allah SWT. There’s this ‘certain prayer’ he always said. Our eldest, Alhaji Hamza M. Malami (Kaigaman Bauchi), is backing me on our father’s dream. We’re all very proud coming from his lineage and enjoying the prestige that comes with his gene and name.

Islamically, our father was a steadfast worshipper, and prayed in congregation. My mother, Mummy, said his nickname was ‘Kwana Sallah’, meaning someone that spends the nights praying. He had a library of many Islamic book collections and others. He enjoyed reading the Holy Quran. I still have his lmm Holy Quran with me which we both agreed then it was borrowed. Meanwhile, I didn’t get to give it back but now hold and read it dearly. We had a family tradition of going to his side every morning for greetings, prayers and discussions. Everyone is expected to have his/her tasbih (rosary) active and to give the total counts of previous day’s given supplications for summation. Allahu Akbar!

Our father was a great leader. He played his roles in honesty and with fear of the Almighty. He was secretary and later chairman of Toro local government, commissioner for Bauchi State Pension Board, chairman, Bauchi State Hospitals Management Board, chairman Bauchi State Internal Revenue Service, among others.

He retired as a state permanent secretary in 1999. He was fair and just to all under him. His focus on the youths has been empowerments and working appointments. Muhammad Hamzat Malami is our true role model who taught us to be respectful, humble, honest, prayerful, kind and determined. He held many traditional titles yet, he till the end used his name plainly. How humble!

He had over 20 children and grandchildren; we lost our brother DVM Abdulrahim M. Malami five months (October, 2013) after our father’s demise by accident. He also had many adopted children and four lovely wives; we lost one of our mothers Baba last year (March, 2022) after an illness too. I pray to Almighty Allah to have mercy on their souls and grant them Jannatul Firdaus.

Of the things I will remember and ever thankful for during his ailing time was the visitations by his relatives, friends, government officials and classmates (BTC, Class of 72) including his classmate Senator Danjuma Goje and many numerous to mention.

Aishatu Muhammad Malami (Ummi)

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