Last night I lost a dear friend (Professor Aliyu Dikko Umar) with whom we braved those difficult years as lecturers at Usumanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. Though a year ahead of me in class and much more in age, we graduated from the same Department of Biological Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1981, and 1982 respectively.
Dikko, as we often call him, moved to medicine where he became a professor of physiology and also a Deputy Vice Chancellor of BUK in mid-2000s.
Two weeks ago when he heard that we were asked to go for Covid-19 test and self-isolate after our Governor tested positive, he called to ask of my health condition: Tilde how are you? He shouted on the phone, as usual, full of energy. I am doing fine sir, I replied. He then said, “Speak to your daughter personally to assure her that you are well”. He handed over the line to his daughter and we greeted.
Unknown to us, death was on his way. Yesterday, he succumbed to the “unknown illness” that has been ravaging the New York of Northern Nigeria – Kano. His daughter works in the same office in Kano as mine. Last night she broke to her the sad news of his departure.
Professor Aliyu Dikko Umar will always come to my mind. In the ten difficult years we shared in the same departments and neighbourhoods, the memories of the times remain indelible. Aliyu was an amusing personality and I have always been a subject of his jokes, finding me very unconventional in those days.
Aliyu took his duties, religious and temporal, seriously. He did not miss his lessons as a student or his classes as a lecturer. He was socially disciplined. I cannot remember him having any girlfriend even in university. No smoking, no drinking.
I never heard him cheat anyone. He says his five daily prayers and other religious obligations with a perfect frequency that I will never match. He is among the best ambassadors that the contemporary nobles of Kano have produced. Dan babbangida, truly. Those who stayed with him in Kano will give a better rendition of his moral rectitude.
My heart goes to his family, relations, and the entire people of Kano. We have indeed lost an illustrious citizen. May his soul rest in the bliss of paradise. May we be joined once more around the spring of our noble prophet, surrounded by gardens and flowing streams, before a King that is able.
As a footnote, there is the need for Federal Government to take over the affairs if Kano in regard to the Covid-19 campaign. Something needs to be done and must be done; otherwise, no state in the Northwest and Northeast will be free of the merciless onslaught of the virus.
Clearly, the situation has overwhelmed the state government. The city is too big and our social configuration and attitude are making matters worse.
Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde is the commissioner of Education, Bauchi State. 25 April 2020
Professor Aliyu Dikko Umar’s legacy
Professor Aliyu Dikko, a professor of physiology who died on Saturday, April 25, was a lecturer at the Department of Human Physiology, College of Health Sciences, Bayero University, Kano. He was also a former Deputy Vice Vice-Chancellor the same institution.
He was involved in the opening of three faculties of Medicine/Basic Medical Sciences in Bayero University, Kaduna State University and Yusuf Maitama Sule University.