The Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf I knew
Iknew Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf who died recently in a horrific stampede after the symbolic stoning of the devil at the Jamrat in Mina, Saudi Arabia for 34 years or so. Both of us started our journalism career as pioneer editorial staff of the Triumph Publishing Company, publishers of the then famous weekly Sunday Triumph, the first broadsheet newspaper in the country. The company was established in 1981 by the first executive governor of Kano state, the late Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Rimi.
At the beginning we were in good company of great Northern journalists and academics like Dr. Haroun Adamu, late Clement Nda-Isaiah, Rufa’i Ibrahim, Dr. Jibrilla Muhammad, Isma’ila Muhammad (now Emir of Karshi, FCT), Aminu Mustapha Ibrahim, Isa Aremu, Haruna Izah, and Ujudud Shariff. By the fourth-quarter of 1983 some of these people left and we were subsequently joined by ace journalists such as Abba Dabo, Kabiru Yusuf, late Dr. Rufa’i Madaki, Emmanuel Yawe, Adagbo Onoja, late Muhammad MousaBooth, and two Ghanaians - Nii and Okon (late).
As my senior colleague, I have always appreciated Hajiya Bilkisu having found her to be humble, hard working and highly committed to her duties. Even though we reporters found her approachable and accommodating because of her warmth, she also proved to be firm and a disciplinarian when the need arose. When she became the editor of Sunday Triumph, her determination to keep to production schedule and maintain standards was beyond reproach.
However, I have marveled at the determination with which she pursued her career later; becoming the first female editor of New Nigerian (up to that time considered as a leading ‘Northern mouthpiece’), joining other Northern journalists to float a well-written news magazine called Citizen, and maintaining her weekly column ‘Civil Society Watch’ for years in the Daily Trust.
Her last piece for the column was published on the very day she died, September 24, 2015, which was this year’s Eid-elKabir or Sallah Day. The second of a two-part serial, it was review of a workshop she attended in Lagos which was organized by the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) on the “Review and Validation of Training Modules for Political Parties in ECOWAS Member States.”
I pray that Allah (SWT) will give all of us the fortitude to bear the loss, forgive her sins and reward her with Aljannat Firdaus, Amin
Muhammad, former Editorin-Chief of Triumph Newspapers, wrote from Hotoro, Kano <firstname.lastname@example.org>