Alh. Nuhu Audu Babayade: Who He Was and Who He Was Not

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It was early morning on 20 July 2017, the Facebook page was looking reddish. On the wall of Ustaz Suleiman Dantsoho the news was again looking rather unfriendly. Alhaji Nuhu Audu, Baba Yade is no more.

Although we have heard more than enough of similar news this year, as it was also the case the previous year. I wasn’t sure whether the remains of late Dr Victor Egwemi has now been buried successfully, as our tears continued uncontrollably. Are we through with the shock of late Dr Tom Miachi? It was now the turn of Babayade. But what is really happening? I was speechless though supposedly not the expected character and expectation of a Muslim. We are from Allah and to Him we shall return.

Above all, we do acknowledge that Babayade lived a modest life while on earth. Alhaji Nuhu Audu has immensely contributed to development of humanity in the areas of education, politics, governance, community service and beyond. He was a successful teacher, administrator per excellence and was the General Manager of Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Company PLC. I knew when he contested for the position of governorship in Kogi State. Nevertheless, his consistent role in the creation of Kogi State, but how will his type of person ever wish to lead in that capacity in Nigeria? Politics is never for clean people. That is our collective political ideology in Nigeria, which has accounted for the situation we are in today. Money is the primary qualification of a political aspirant in Nigeria. However, this cannot go hand in hand with tenets of development and growth of the land. No one needs to be told that the likes of Nuhu Audu as a governor cannot allow educational institutions to go on strike that would last for two days, given his solid stance and value for learning. If we fail to learn some lessons from prevailing predicaments then our collective desire to move out of poverty and destitute can only but imagine.

My first daughter, Haneefah at the age of two enrolled in Babayade Nursery Primary School Idah in September 2005. May I say I was a member of the PTA of the school. I was a bit closer to him during my memorable time as PA to the Executive Chairman Idah Local Government Council (Hon. Prince Arome Ameh-Oboni, also of blessed memory).

The last time we met was at an Islamic function and public presentation of a book event held in 2013 at the Third World Relief Agency Centre old GRA Idah. That was the last time I was in Nigeria for research fieldwork activities. He was a man of his words. Indeed an excellent family man. I could recall vividly when one of his children, Kamir who much later graduated from Law Faculty at KSU, had to represent Idah Children/Youth Parliament at Kogi State level held in Government House Lokoja and won for the Idah people academic prize. The whole scenario was epitome of discipline and morality. So it was until I shifted my base to Anyigba in 2008, upon my appointment with Kogi State University. When I informed her of the demise of this great icon, the proprietor of educational institution she first attended in home town Idah, though not in her memory anymore but she was almost down in tears. A group picture she had then with her colleagues helped her recollection to a level. That is the beauty of investment of veritable resources in the people.

Haneefah now believed that the educational initiative of Babayade has foundational contribution to her life in England.

Alhaji Nuhu Audu of the blessed memory represented those core moral values of a typical Igala personality and cherished much all what a good name could bring. His life was like that of an average British person. If his likes were many in the society, what do we think would have stood in the way of our collective progress? Despite that he was blessed with positions of authority, Babayade never involved himself in unholy act such as corruption as commonly noted with some privileged elites in Nigeria.

If EFCC as an anti-graft body is looking for who to invite, either alive or in the grave yard, certainly not Malam Nuhu Audu. I proudly join the rest of community members to testify that Chief Babayade was not going to his grave with any amount of public money. He depended on his skills and sweat to eat and drink with his family and people. Unlike many of us who as a matter of class, in any slightest opportunity would prefer to live in Abuja or elsewhere other than Igala land, he did choose to live together with his people.

Amidst blessings he was committed to the service of Allah his Creator. To me he was really a fulfilled man. And a truly happy man he was. This is the kind of personality we should all receive mentorship. Anything otherwise is counter-productive.

– Dr Aminu Musa Audu
United Kingdom

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