The Death of Hajiya Halima Kabir Gaya reminds me that on earth, happiness is not an elixir for immortality. The lost of a mentor do not only defy or cock a shock at the meaning of happiness, but it replay the life of a deceased mother and a son she left behind, from start to finish, like a documentary movie.
Death is a universal phenomenon that changes the destiny of all that is a living being on earth. It is not like a poem that goes into the ear and appeases the heart. It is also not like the French or Ethiopian perfume that glorifies the ambient temperature with the finest chemistry of aromatic hydrocarbon extraction. Death has its own awful aura that transcends the intelligence of mankind and his crude knowledge. It is the terminator of dreams. We all ran away from it, but yet it come at the fateful hour- when one cannot help than to embrace it, waving goodbye to the rest of the hour we were not able to live or see.
In the mild words of an American business magnet and media proprietor, “No one want to die, even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent”. At this juncture, my entry point into the heart of this tribute will be Qur’an Verse 15, Chapter 23, that says “And verily, it is We Who give life, and Who give death: it is We who remain inheritors (after all else passes away)”.
*ON SERVICE TO NIGERIA & HUMANITY
Barrister Amina Bibi Faruk introduced me to Hajiya Halima Kabir Gaya at the wake of the 2019 General Election that ushered in the 9th National Assembly. The essence and expectations of the introduction was for me to conceptualize and inject new ideas that will reposition the Senators Wives Forum of the 9th National Assembly to stand on a more brilliant pedestal. Like Haj. Halima, Barr. Amina Bibi Faruk, is also one Angela-Merkel figure who truly put on her mettle in every situation, three words defined her in character; intrepidity, polyhistor and religious.
Before the inauguration of Her Excellency, Mrs. Ahmed Lawan, Haj. Halima Kabir Gaya was the leader and central figure that work assiduously in preparing the grounds for the Senators Wives Forum of the 9th National Assembly to have a successful take off. Even at the eleventh hour, she has her eyes fixed on community development.
First, Hajiya Halima asked me to identify the names of the Senators that returned elected and those that are new in the Red Chamber. She gave me a list of all the members of the Senators Wives of the 8th National Assembly, Chaired by Wife to Senator Bukola Saraki, who was the President of the Senate at that time. When I compiled the list, she figure out few names and asked me to contact them via phone call on her instructions, with the aim of scheduling a meeting so as to prepare the table for the incoming President, of the Senators Wives Forum.
I remember contacting via phone, wives to Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Abubakar Kyari, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, Senator Phillip Aduda and Senator Alimikhene. When Senator Ahmed Lawan became the President of the Senate, his wife now has to assume the seat of the President of the Senators Wives Forum. Therefore, To make the whole process easier, Hajiya Halima again gave me the number of Mr. Andy Gabriel, former Senior Protocol officer to Mrs. Bukola Saraki. Andy is an orator and refined bureaucrat, his knowledge of the National Assembly administration is classic and wide in scope, he was Instrumental in running the Senators Wives Forum of the 8th National Assembly under Mrs. Saraki.
During Planning and Strategy processes, there was a book I wrote in honor of Her Excellency Aisha Buhari, First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Haj. Halima now suggested the Public book presentation be done in conjunction with the inaugural ceremony (Welcome Dinner as Andy will call it) of the 9th National Assembly Senators Wives Forum, the Venue we agreed to be Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa (State House) Abuja.
My first meeting with Mr. Andy Gabriel was with a friend and activist, Engr. Abdullahi Auwal, now Staff with NASREA, Abuja. Andy was at Bolingo Hotel, as a resource person during an induction program for Legislative Aides and Technical Advisers to Legislatures of the National Assembly. The networking was so brilliant and promising.
Few weeks after, Hajiya Halima lead a delegation of Seven Senators Wives on what will afterwards be the first courtesy call to the wife of the President of the Senate. The visit on the long run served as a harbinger for a beautiful beginning and a success roadmap for the incumbent leadership of the Forum. We created a WhatsApp group strictly for the Senators Wives to have an interface and also discuss constituency projects support matters and national development.
The cooperation between Haj. Halima and Wife to Senator Lawal Gumau, was a remarkable boost for the forum, because Mrs. Lawal Gumau played an instrumental role along with Haj. Halima in designing an Action Plan for the Forum. Mrs. Gumau has a good history of friendship with Mrs. Ahmed Lawan before the ascension to power.
When Mrs. Lawal Gumau came in more actively, I recall a visit with about five senators Wives to Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing in Agriculture Lending (NIRSAL), in attendance was Mr. Nura, Head of Anchor Borrowers Program and Mr. Opeoluwa, Senior Manager, Agric Finance and Investment. The fundamental essence of the meeting was to provide an empowerment funds for 270, 000 farmers across the country through the ABP window. Mrs. Gumau lead the delegation of the Senators Wives in the absence of Haj. Halima who travelled to China for an emergency official purpose. Even while in China, she will put up a phone call to ensure the process went without any hitch.
My stay was temporary, i left the group four months after I was sure the house is intact and that brought to an end my role as an ad-hoc coordinating Secretary of the Forum. Haj. Halima, each time I visit the family will always commend my role in promoting the forum’s development agenda.
Hajiya Halima was a veteran member of the forum, She witnessed all constituency projects support programs too numerous to mention from the 6th, 7th, 8th and inconclusively 9th Assembly, one of the historical project was the visit to Maiduguri, Borno State, to deliver Relief Materials and Palliatives for the victims of the Boko-Haram insurgency. She also played role in ensuring unity and spirit of national integration become an amiable culture amongst forum members, irrespective of party-political affiliation. Haj. Halima kabir Gaya will be remembered in the Strategic role played to ensure the participation of the Forum at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held in New York during the 8th Assembly.
Hajiya Halima was at Geneva, Switzerland with her beloved husband, Distinguish Senator Kabir Gaya during his election as the first Vice President, Africa Group at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Senator Gaya is a former Governor of Kano State, career Parliamentarian and fourth term Senator from Kano South.
On the part of education, she was an advocate, mentor and an inspirational leader whose reputation and sense of personality excellence always stand pole high. But I will leave her achievements on the path of education for the people of Kano State to tell the tale, her impact on Kano State education has left a foot print on the sand of time.
FROM A SON TO A MOTHER
After you left us, I made a promise to myself, that one day, inshaAllah I will beget a beautiful daughter and I will name her after you, her name will be, “HALIMA”, with the hope of ‘immortalizing’ you, both in faith, character and classic reputation.
She will be so elegant, eloquent, religious, sincere and kind just like you mumy. She will be a mother to many, she will be firm and honest, she will be one of my powerful tree (Gamji) that I will be proud of, with confidence that she will be a symbol of success and Islam.
Mummy you left us on Friday, a blissful day, during Ramadan, a blissful month, and two days after your death, it’s Eid-el fitr. So many blessings. The signs are clear, and we will keep praying with confident hope that you are residing in the highest station (Jannatul firdausi). Ameen.
Saidu Ahmed is a Development Strategist and 2019 CNRJ Nominee, Orhid World Prize for Humanism, Macedonia, South-East Europe.