The Ha­jiya Bilk­isu Yusuf I knew

Daily Trust - - OPINION - By Ado Umar Muham­mad

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 <aumo21@ya­hoo.com>

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