Gone but Never Forgotten: A Tribute to My Late Father

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I have always known how to send condolences to people who have lost their parents but I have never known how it feels to lose one till now. On Tuesday, 3rd May 2017, my dear beloved and caring father Mal. Bala Suleiman (Abusumayyah), ‘ Baba as fondly called by his children pass on at the hospital, in Jos after an illness which started 4 years ago. He died around (12:30 am) and the funeral was observed around 7:00 am. At the family house, with a huge crowd of people including respected personalities and renowned religious scholars. He was buried at the Zaria road cemetery.
I was spiritually motivated to write this tribute because of some reasons which include how visitors emotionally praised his virtues and mentioned good things about him. In a Prophetic S.A.W reminder, amplifying and voicing out the qualities of a dead person by the people, contribute to his success in the hereafter. And for those still leaving, the death who is portrayed to have lived a good and religious life, serves as a role model.

Though I am a living witness to these virtues and qualities of my late father, but I will like to pinpoint some as mentioned by well-wishers, friends and colleagues during their condolence visit.

My Dad humble lifestyle evolved right through his family early life and decent up bring, a habit that has accorded him the admiration of many People. Certainly, the exhibition of such simple way of life has earned him not only popularity but also respect and dignity amidst People.

His commitment and love for congregational prayer are second to none. During the condolence visit, some of my father’s close friends including neighbours testified to that.

As an academician, He spends his entire life teaching people. he gave out his very best for the development of education and his people. So many people while commenting on the death of my late father testified that ‘ people like Buhari Na Shehu Mai Kyau describe him as a very hard-working and disciplined man who taught so many people in different aspect including his beloved Mum’.

His belief in education as the only way to development has taken him to as far as School for Islamic and Legal Studies Misau where he obtained his diploma in Sharia and Islamic Law and later proceeded to Ahmadu-Bello University, Zaria where he studied and obtained his B.A degree.

His eloquent and fluent expression in Arabic, English and Hausa while in class and outside is in no doubt something worthy of emulation and admiration to many.

Besides that, my Dad also had been visiting primary, junior, and secondary schools where he thought pupils, and students voluntarily as part of his selfless service to humanity. He also helped many pupils and students enrolled in Primary, Secondary and tertiary institutions. Those who benefitted from his magnanimity paid us condolence visit during which poured encomiums on my father.

Until his death, He was one time a politician. His political sojourn started in 1993. He was the pioneer two-term councillor of Naraguta ‘A’ which comprises of ‘Garba Daho’ and Nasarawa but it was later split into two. He told me how he contested and won. He also contested for the position of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Jos North-North in 1999, under the platform of APP which he lost gallantly to his opponents.

His contemporaries in politics are the likes of Hon. Samaila Muh’d, Hon. Nazifi Ahmad, Hon. Dasuki Nakande, Hon. Aminu Baba, Hon. Isiyaku among others.

He taught me more than just simple about life. He taught me so much about life. He showed me how to really fight and battle adversity and to never back down. I can never but recall the encouraging and morale booster always
giving by my late Dad to many.

I will never forget one night, my mother came into my room and told me I was needed immediately, as my father had fallen to the floor from being so weak and needed my help up. I raced into the living room to my father’s side and I found a way to get behind him, put my arms underneath his armpits, and pick him up to put him on his bed. I could hear him tearing up to my mother that, “his son had to pick him off the ground.” If I had to do it all over again, I still would not have thought twice about coming to his aide.

He was a very generous man and always willing to help. He was also very wise and you could go to him with any problem. He taught me a lot about hard work, love for friends and family, appreciation for the outdoors and respect for others. He has no quest for worldly things.

Sheikh Nasir Abdulmuhyi, a Childhood and an intimate friend said, my late Dad lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation, that does not want to hurt anybody,” he tried his best and ensure that he lives in peace with his relations, friends, family and the entire community”.

Engr. Mansur Maidakalin Jos said, ‘His mission has been always how to help People, on his little way, he has no time of his own, I pray Allah to be merciful to him.”

Not only was my father gone, but a best friend, a mentor, and my hero. The guy who I would come running out to and give breaking news to about politics was no longer there. He spends his the last kobo including sacrificing some of his assets just to send me to school.

It’s been 7 days since his death, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, miss him and remember how much he taught me.Though I was not the senior, but I was so intimate with him, he always consulted me, for advised on so many issues.

So for all those reading this piece, who have parents, don’t ever take a day for granted with any of them. Even if you are mad at them, tender your apology, because you never know when they might not be there.

My dear Father, you have always been my inspiration and you shall always be. Dying wasn’t your choice likewise allowing you to die wasn’t ours. My heart aches to know that you are gone but I take comfort in knowing that you are now resting in Allah’s mercy. We all love you and will always do. Rest in peace till we meet to part no more.

Usama (Jaafar Bala)
10/05/2017