Re­mem­ber­ing Abubakar Rimi

Daily Trust - - VIEWS - By Ujudud Shar­iff Shar­iff wrote from Kano <ujushar­iff@ya­hoo. com>

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.

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