Remembering Abubakar Rimi
Today we are remembering the late Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Rimi, former Minister of Communications and Governor of Kano State with tears and nostalgia. It is incredible that four years have passed since he left for the great world beyond on Sunday, April 3, 2010. We remember his views, opinions, dreams, fears and expectations about Nigeria and its leaders. It is already four years that we have to remember his good works while he was living in Nigeria as our motivator and leader.
Rimi as you will recall died as a result of shock from experiencing an armed robbery attack on his way back to Kano from Bauchi state on that fateful night. Even though he was accorded great respect and courtesy by the armed robbers when they realized who they stopped and were robbing, he could not bear the pains and agony of how Nigeria has degenerated that he could be stopped and robbed on a major highway! Listening to the account of the incidence from his driver and younger brother who were with him and an escort in the vehicle, one could only imagine. He was said to be sweating profusely from the place of the robbery to a Kano hospital some forty kilometres away before he died. He was said to be talking with his daughter on phone from London when the robbers stopped his vehicle at relatively early evening hours. It was with great disbelieve when he heard his robbers discussing in Fulfulde (Fulani language) and he spoke to them in the same language! Presumably, that was when they realized whom they were robbing and began extending courtesies and allowed him to seat in his car while they were robbing the other passengers!
We are today remembering Rimi especially as the first civilian governor of the old Kano state between 1979 and 1983. We remember how Kano was transformed in all sectors of human endeavours, just within a span of four years. He made his greatest and most enduring mark in the field of education where the system was expanded both horizontally and vertically. Schools were built in their hundred and young children both male and female were enrolled in their thousands throughout the state (including Jigawa). To crown it all, adult education and women were boosted and the Agency for Mass Education was created under the late Alhaji Umaru Aji of blessed memory. The Agency even won the United Nations award. Two Science secondary schools were set up in Dawakin Kudu and Dawakin Tofa towns that today produced hundred of doctors, engineers, pharmacists and other science professionals. Thanks to Rimi’s foresight that today Kano state is leading the whole northern states in the number of medical professional. It is most exciting to learn the other day that the young doctors produced by these science secondary schools are planning to honour Rimi for positively changing their lives. He built several hospitals, clinics and heath centres across the state.
Agricultural development was pursued throughout the state especially through the Fadama irrigation schemes. Agricultural extension services were boosted through the creation agencies like KASCO and KNARDA. In fact, even the Judiciary was not left out a several houses were built for judges in all local governments and several courts were built.
The political contributions of the late Mohammed Abubakar Rimi in raising our political and social consciousness to the realties and dynamics of our existence are the most profound. His disagreement with the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) under late Malam Aminu Kano created a platform that led to massive public enlightenment to educate the people. This led him to establish the now defunct Triumph Newspaper Publishing Company, the publishers of The Triumph, Sunday Triumph, Alfijir and Albishir newspapers. He also established the Kano State CTV 67 Television and reinvigorated the state radio station. His outstanding courage, honesty and willingness to share up his mind on any issue, anywhere and anytime made him one of the most accessible leaders Nigeria ever had. That was why his doors were always open till wee hours. In January, 2006 he told the Newswatch magazine prophetically that; “You see, politics in Nigeria now is that of bread and butter or tuwo and miya or amala politics. It is politics of the stomach. The government has succeeded so much in impoverishing everybody that people think that they have to toe the line in order to survive. And many people are more concerned about their survival and the survival of their businesses rather than the survival of democracy or the country. What used t o be the course of justice and fair play is no longer there. The judiciary is no longer the last resort for the ordinary man. The civil service rules and regulations don’t save the civil servant.”
Looking back at his entire 69 years’ sojourn on earth, Rimi lived well and had a pleasant life and family. He held several positions at both state and national levels. His public service career started in Zaria at the Institute of Public Administration. He was a Member of House of Representatives at an early age, a state governor, minister and chairman of Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative Bank as well as Chairman of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company. His public service career started in Zaria and the Institute of Public Administration. He later became an Information Officer at the Federal Ministry of Information and a few years later he was posted to Cairo as an Information and cultural attaché. He was also at the University of London where he got his masters degree.
We will conclude with praying for the repose of his soul and for his family and teeming supporters to bear the loss. Rimi will continue to shine from his grave and lighten up our politics and soul. Change will continue to happen as Rimi, the IMAM of Change had fought throughout his life and taught all disciples to embrace Chanji Dole. We therefore appeal to the Federal Government to immortalize the great Rimi by institutionalising his residence in Kano as a great centre for teaching and political research. The Federal Government University in Jigawa state should also be named after him.