Tears of my Grieving Pen flows for Professor Sa’ad Abubakar (OFR) By Sa’ad Abubakar Zongre

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Amb. Professor Sa’ad Abubakar was deservedly rewarded with the revered Nigerian National Honours Award (NNHA) of the “Order of the Federal Republic” (OFR) by former President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) in 2010 in recognition and appreciation of his sterling contributions to the growth, development and advancement of Nigeria both locally and internationally in the field of education, administration, diplomacy, community service and politics.

He was a renowned Nigerian Professor of History and an outstanding product of the famed school of History of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria whose PhD thesis titled, “Lamibe Fombina” (Emirs of the East) later emerged as the most authoritative, comprehensive, compelling and best-selling book on the political history of Adamawa Emirate.

Professor Sa'ad Abubakar
Professor Sa’ad Abubakar

He was an intellectual Prince from the intellectual dynasty of his equally intellectually-gifted father, the immediate-past “Waziri” of Muri (traditional Prime Minister), late Modibbo Sa’ad Abubakar, popularly known as “Waziri Sa’ad”. To the  best of my knowledge, the Waziri Sa’ad family remain the only family in the whole of Muri/Northern Taraba State, Taraba State and probably, North-Eastern Nigeria that produced two (2) professors (Professor Sa’ad himself and his younger brother, Professor Abdulmimini Sa’ad Abubakar)!

His deeply saddening demise yesterday, Saturday, 7th September, 2019, sorrowfully marked an end to a remarkable chapter in the life of an illustrious son of Nigeria that contained sentences written in gold, paragraphs written in diamonds and punctuation marks written in silver detailing his struggles and successes as a pillar of hope and progress for his people/community in Jalingo Local Government Area (LGA), Greater Muri Emirate/Northern Taraba State, Taraba State, Northeastern Nigeria, Nigeria, Africa and mankind as a whole.

Professor Sa’ad Abubakar graduated with an “A” (First Class 1970) in the highly demanding and strenuous Department of History of ABU, Zaria (where I also graduated from decades after he left) despite the seeming impossibility of making such an “elitist” grade; as “A” was said to be for Allah only and “B” (Second Class Upper) for Bala Usman (late) only, with “C” (Second Class Lower) as the best grade that the best among the undergraduates can make.

He subsequently served three (3) university communities (ABU, Zaria, University of Maiduguri-UNIMAID and University of Abuja-UNIAB) with distinction at different times as Graduate Assistant, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) and Head of Consultancy Unit/Post Graduate Studies. Similarly, he meritoriously served the defunct Gongola State as pioneer Commissioner of  Education; during which, he facilitated the establishment of Colleges of Education and Agriculture in Jalingo.

Furthermore, the defunct state benefited immensely from his administrative acumen when he served as Secretary to the State Government (SSG) under the first Civilian Governor, late Alhaji Abubakar Barde (CON) as he ensured the smooth running of government business through improved productivity and excellent service delivery.

Professor Sa’ad Abubakar equally served Greater Muri Emirate excellently as “Ubandoman Muri” (a high profile traditional tittle) through which, he contributed massively in the overall development of Muri as a member of the Muri Emirate Council (MEC) under the glorious reign of the immediate-past Emir of Muri, His Royal Highness, late Alhaji Umaru Abba Tukur (OFR).

In acknowledgement of his impressive credentials as a public and community servant, former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (retd), GCFR, appointed him as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Switzerland in the late 1980s and accomplished the international assignment with high marks to the satisfaction of the then Federal Military Government and generality of Nigerians.

In his patriotic quest to directly enhance good governance through people-focused policy and programmes, he sought for political power in Taraba State as the gubernatorial candidate of the then All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP) in 2003 where he performed creditably well in the polls but lost gallantly with the slightest of margins to the eventual winner, former Governor, Reverend Jolly Tavorou Nyame (CON).

The tourism/cultural industry in Taraba State received a massive boost through exposure to international level when he held sway as the pioneer Chairman of the then newly-established Taraba State Tourism Development Board (TSTDB) with the likes of Ambassador Idris Adamu Waziri, Chief (Mrs) Salome Audu Jankada (OON), Ambassador Sulaiman Zubairu, Alhaji Umaru Baba (OFR), Alhaji Ibrahim Tumba and Right Honourable Simon Yunusa Dogari as members, with my humble self as the Administrative officer through which, I was privileged to learn a lot under him.

Professor Sa’ad Abubakar was still serving Taraba State as Chairman, Governing Council of Taraba State University (TSU) until he breathed his last. Indeed, a true servant of Muri/Northern Taraba State, Taraba State, Northeastern Nigeria, Nigeria, Africa and the world is, painfully, gone.

Few months ago (sometime in April this year-2019) he called me on phone and told me of a historical book he has being working on for some years now alongside other prominent intellectuals of Muri on the individual history of the twelve (12) Emirs of Muri titled, “Lamibe Muri” (Emirs of Muri) and I pledged to meet him when next I am in Abuja. Sadly, the meeting was destined not to hold following his demise. It is my firm believe therefore, that the other prominent intellectuals working with him on the historical book will continue from where he stopped as part of honouring his blessed memory. Allah Sarki, our amiable, humble, hardworking and loving Prof!!!

Professor Sa’ad Abubakar was a professor of professors, historian of historians, academician of academicians, author of authors, ambassador of ambassadors, administrator of administrators, leader of leaders, commissioner of commissioners, SSG of SSGs, politician of politicians, chairman of chairmen, son of sons, brother of brothers, husband of husbands, father of fathers, uncle of uncles, in-law of in-laws and unbandoman of ubandomans (if it is linguistically permissible)!

My condolences to Muri Emirate for losing a brilliant mind, Adamawa Emirate for losing the loudest voice on their history, the academia for losing a star, Jalingo LGA for losing a remarkable son, Taraba State for losing an elder statesman, Nigeria for losing an intellectual giant, Waziri Sa’ad family for losing the Head of their intellectual dynasty, his immediate family for losing a dependable flag/name-bearer and hero, his extended family for losing a nationally-celerated relation, political allies for losing a principled leader, his friends for losing a long-standing trustee and myself for losing a teacher, a mentor, a model and a namesake.

Oh Allah, You are the most high, most powerful, most compassionate, most loving, most forgiving, most lenient and most comforting; may You bestow Your infinite mercy on our Prof, overlook his human frailties and warmly comfort him in his grave preparatory to raising him under the shade of “Al’arsh” (divine umbrella) on the Day of Judgement enroute entrance into Aljannatul Firdaus in a professorial way, ameen!

Writing By: Sa’ad Abubakar zongre

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Chila Andrew Aondofa

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