Life and times of Yusuf Amuda Abubakar. By Tunde Akanbi

Date: 2017-10-21
The news of the demise of Alhaji Yusuf AMUDA Abubakar , the second General Manager of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Harmony Station Idofian in KWARA State was received by different people with different feelings . It was like a different stroke to different people. To his wife, Titilayo Abubakar , p continue to linger on in her memory which was the date of their wedding .To the children, they have lost a father , and to the family, a brother is gone for ever and to the grand children , they have lost a grandfather. One of the deceased grand daughter based in Australia, Mrs Halima Saadiya Buhari Mahmoud has this to say about her late grand pa "He was a father to all and ever ready to let you have his shoulder to lean on. He was all ears to whatever you had to say, he was very simple and down to earth. I will miss talking about politics and journalism with him".

Some of Late Yusuf Abubakar extended family just like others are yet to overcome the shock of his death while some of his in-laws that were so close to him even at the point of death still could not believe that Yusuf Abubakar was no more. One constituency that will for life not forget the easy going and highly respected Media guru are the journalists. Yusuf Abubakar was a bridge moulder or better put, bridge builder among his colleagues .

Even in the religious circle, the vacuum the journalist left behind would ever be remembered particularly at Hillal Crescent Islamic Central Mosque at the GRA in Ilorin where he has a place particularly during every Friday Jumaat Service which was attested to by the Chief Imam of the Mosque, Professor Lanre Yusuf Badmus. No doubt, Yusuf Abubakar died a practicing Muslim . He was a devout Muslim.

Even in the social life , Yusuf Abubakar used to have a place . Then he was referred to as Uku - Uku . This is on a lighter note. In fact the deceased was a complete Nigerian . This was attested to on the day of his burial (Janaazah) at the Muslim Cemetery and to crown it all on the day of his Fidua prayer which took place at his Ile Aweri compound , Niger Road, Ilorin and presided over by his Inlaw, the Imam IMALE of Ilorin, Alhaji Abdullahi Abdulhamid.

Sympathizers trooped in their hundreds to bid him final fare well. He related with people regardless of ethnic, age difference or religious barriers. Up till now , sympathizers have not stopped trooping to his Sango private residence to condole his family.

One of the prominent early callers at his Sango residence was the Chief Executive of Kwara state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed who was accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government , Alhaji Isiaka Sola Gold and some of his aides. Governor Ahmed was highly emotional on the day of his visit . He offered special prayer for Yusuf Abubakar whom he described as his personal friend since their days of childhood in the North. They both spoke Hausa language fluently. The governor who described Late Yusuf Abubakar as his personal person summed up his condolence remarks by saying that the deceased was somebody that took life so simple and one that he would miss dearly. It was even reliably gathered that Governor Ahmed had concluded arrangement to transfer the deceased to a private hospital in Lagos and possibly fly him out of the country for better medical attention more so that medical personal at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital ( UITH) where he was initially admitted were on strike which led to his sudden discharge . However, man proposes , but God disposes . The family and friends of the deceased particularly gentlemen of the press, however , appreciate the good intention of Governor Ahmed.

Another early caller was the Nigerian Ambassador to Malaysia, Alhaji Nurudeen Mohammed who came in company of the Director- General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Is'haq Modibbo Kawu. It was few hours after Modibbo KAWU and my humble self visited the late media guru on his hospital bed at a private hospital in Tanke that the news of his death was announced. Late Yusuf Abubakar died at about three o'clock in the early hours of the day on October, 1st ,2017 at the age of sixty- five. (65)

An All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje CON and some of his close associates were also not left out of the condolences . They visited the family he left behind and offered special prayers for the repose of his soul.

Definitely , a former General Manager of the KWARA State Television Service (Kwara TV) Alhaji Nurudeen Imam Abdulrahim , (The Tiger ) who also served as a one time Chief Press Secretary to Colonel Rashid Shekoni (Rtd) and Late Admiral Mohammed Lawal as well as the current Senate President , Dr Bukola Saraki when he was the Executive Governor of KWARA state and other media gurus including the General Manager of The Herald Newspaper , Alhaji Abdulrasaq Adebayo (Senior) , the Managing Director of the National Pilot Newspaper , Alhaji Billy Adedamola and the Publisher of National Moonlight Newspaper , Alhaji Toyin Olokoba felt so worried and devastating about the death of Yusuf Abubakar (Mutumu) as popularly called by his contemporaries . The deceased was really a man of many parts and definitely a man of the people. Even the current spokesman of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi who is also a journalist per excellence , expressed shock over the death of his professional colleague and a close friend. The last time Mallam Abdullahi met with the deceased was when he, Abdullahi delivered a paper at one of the series of the NUJ lectures where Bolaji Abdullahi specially recognized late Yusuf Abubakar's presence. He appreciated the deceased for personally attending his lecture and declared "I recognize your coming Alhaji Yusuf Abubakar alias "WATO" . "WATO" in Hausa language means "That is " There is hardly a sentence that Yusuf Abubakar would make while he was alive that he would not add "WATO". So the former Minister , Abdullahi then nicknamed him "WATO". The hall at the Abubakar Olusola Saraki Pen House was full of laughter that day because of the word "WATO" which Late Yusuf Abubakar was referred to at the occasion. Alhaji Moshood Adebimpe, a close ally to BOLAJI Abdullahi and one time Press Secretary to Senator Bukola Saraki while he was KWARA state governor , knows more about the "WATO" joke.

He would be missed at the Sola Saraki Pen House ( the Press center ) where he always relax and also at the correspondent chapel , located at Muritala Muhammed way ,Ilorin where he was a member before his demise . At most NUJ functions held in Ilorin , a seat was always reserved for " Mutumu " on the front row where he would sit down gently. He was always at hand to resolve differences among his colleagues .

The likes of Kamaldeen (his PA) and Oba Karama, Serikin Camera would seriously feel the gap Late Yusuf Abubakar left behind as well as Mulana AbdulRaheem ADISA , who is his contemporary in the pen profession since over four decades. His friends and associates really mourned the demise of Alhaji Yusuf while members of staff of his former place of work , Harmony FM under the headship of Alhaji AbdulMualiy Olanrewaju Adegboyega were always at hand throughout the mourning period as Chief mourners and sign of pen fraternity.

Late Alhaji Yusuf Abubakar, the ace pen pusher was a gentleman to the core and an easy going person. Hardly had he quarreled with anybody to the best of my knowledge . A good mixer and a journalist per excellence. His namesake , Yusuf Alli, another media guru and the Regional Editor of The Nation Newspaper in Abuja even recalled that the deceased was the Chairman of his campaign committee when he contested for the post of Secretary of the state council of the Union in 1994. Late Alhaji Yusuf Abubakar had served in both Niger and Kaduna State councils of the NUJ as a young and vibrant reporter. The KWARA NUJ in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman and Secretary , Comrade Abiodun Abdulkareem and Comrade Babatunde Jimba described the death of Yusuf Abubakar as a colossal loss to the journalism profession. . His Chapel, the Correspondent Chapel of the NUJ in a related statement signed by its chairman and Secretary, Mr Bolaji Olanrewaju and Mallam Umar Abdulwahab said the union has lost one of its greatest members to the cold hands of death. The statement described his passing away as sad and painful.

One would recall that the deceased once served as a former chairman of the Correspondent chapel. It is also on record that he served as Chief Press Secretary to two past chief executive (military administrators ) of kwara state namely: CP Mustapha Ismaheel who has also passed on and an Airforce Officer, Baba Adamu Iyam .

Efforts have now begun to make the foot prints of the deceased to remain indelible as journalists in the state are desirous of sustaining his vision of promoting peace and harmony across the country. No doubt, journalists have lost a rallying point as he had during his life time played a vital role in the stability of the Union and by extension , members of the great NUJ.

Due to his outstanding qualities, journalists in the state and concerned citizens have taken it upon themselves to immortalize Late Yusuf AMUDA Abubakar by establishing a foundation to be known as Yusuf Abubakar Foundation which will take care of the needy particularly the education of indigent students. The foundation when fully stabilized will also take care of the poor in the society and provide some immediate needs to the less privileged.

The Late General Abdulkarim ADISA Foundation is still fresh in our memories. Why can't we emulate such a lofty idea . General Abdulkarim ADISA died over twelve years ago, around February , 2005 but through his foundation, his name still flourishes and shall never die. What stops Nigerian journalists from also immortalizing their own members either during their life time or after their demise? As Journalists, we should wake up from our slumber and celebrate ourselves, rather than always packaging or celebrating other professionals at our own detriment . Notable journalists have died in this country unrecognized and un glorified, some even in the course of performing their official duties. The names of such outstanding members of the fourth Estate of the realm that played or still playing the role of educating , enlightening ,informing and correcting the social ills of the society just goes down the drain. It's quite sad, unfortunate, painful , disgusting highly disappointing and highest height of weakedness . Even the immediate families of such dogged journalists are forgotten within a very short period .

This is act of callousness and its quite unfortunate . Kudos needs to be given to that professional colleague that used to be a practicing journalist but vied into academics , Doctor Abubakar Eleyinla of the University of Ilorin who first muted the idea of raising a foundation in honor of Late Yusuf Abubakar and embraced by the entire membership of the NUJ.

Members of the family and some notable friends of the deceased that are based in Niger, Sokoto, Kaduna , Nasarawa and the Federal capital Territory , ABUJA have embraced the idea and a committee headed by the Kwara State Chairman of the council , Comrade Abiodun Abdulkaeem has been inaugurated to work out modalities for the success of the idea. No amount is too small to be part of this historic event . Lets all join hands to break the jinx of not appreciating the good works of our colleagues .At the same time, efforts have commenced to name a street in honour of the late journalist.

Late Yusuf Abubakar was born in Kaduna on 9th , June , 1952 to the families of Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq and Hajia Asmau Kanijo Abubakar who are also late. He started his Islamic education under Alfa Yakubu Agbabiaka in Ilorin in 1962. The deceased briefly attended Baboko LEA School, Ilorin before leaving Ilorin for Kaduna where he completed his primary education . He attended Sheick Shabal Secondary School at the inception of the college and as a result of his uprightness , he was made the head boy of the institution .The late journalist started his journalism career fully with the popular Radio Nigeria ,Kaduna, a radio station with a rich culture of excellence and went through series of journalism workshops and training programmes before he was transferred to Ilorin as a correspondent sometimes in 1998 . The media guru later rose to the position of the Acting General Manager of the station in January , 23, 2006, a position he held till he voluntarily retired from service in January 2009 after thirty five years of meritorious service. To put records straight , Alhaja BOLA Adejoja who hails from Offa was the pioneer General Manager of Harmony FM , Idofian . She took delivery of all the equipment of the radio station at inception but the station was not broadcasting then not until Late Yusuf Abubakar took over as Acting General Manager that full blast transmission begun. Some school of thought are therefore of the view that his status as pioneer General Manager still remained valid and tenable because it was during his tenure that Harmony FM , Idofian started broadcasting .All has now become history.

This now reminds me of the Life Insurance Scheme which has been abandoned or not taken seriously by journalists and the various NUJ councils across the country. Only few councils have keyed into the scheme. If a journalist dies and such media practitioner is not part of the scheme , or not working with a viable and reputable media outfit , particularly in this era of non payment of salaries as at when due or the deceased is not well connected or from a wealthy home, such person would have died in vain.

It's therefore high time that headship of NUJ across the state councils and at the National level take the Life Insurance Scheme for the media practitioners with all seriousness as life has no duplicate .

Death no doubt, is an inevitable end which every soul must taste one day hence the need to live as if one would die the next minute. The best we can do is to accept death as a fact of life . It happens , and we can't do anything to change that. If a person knows that he will die in an half hour, he certainly will not bother doing trivial, stupid , or, especially , bad things during this half hour but death is the permanent end of the life of a biological organism . Yusuf Amuda Abubakar has answered the call of nature. Who's next ? Why don't we change our character and life style and do good to our fellow human beings so that our names too would be written in gold . May the soul of Yusuf Amuda Abubakar rest in perfect peace and grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Amen.

Tunde Akanbi wrote this piece from Ilorin via tundeakanbibabby@yahoo.co.uk

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