By Abdulmumin Giwa
It is now exactly eight days, just a day to the seventh day prayer for my two highly respected brothers in the struggle, colleagues in profession as well as personal friends that are late now, Alhaji Mia’il Abdullahi and Malam Haruna Sheleng, I finished the night prayers and was sitting and contemplating over the great loss.
I was wondering where to start adjusting as I move on because the residence of Alhaji Mika was more like my second address, where you can fetch me any time you needed me or even have an idea of my whereabout. This is known to everybody including my relations living in our family house two streets away from his residence. He was their first contact any time they wanted me or seek to lay any complain about me.
Alhaji Mika was many things to me; he was a caring elder brother, he stood in for me during my marriage, he was a very good friend even though much older than me.
As I sat quietly on the prayer mat, my eyes fell on the turba (piece of clay) on which I did my sujud and it immediately occurred to me that oh it was given to me by Alhaji Mika. All of a sudden I also remembered that I have two of it and the other one was also a gift I received fro late Malam HarunaShelleng when he returned from Karbala a few months back. What a wonderful God and now both of them are gone.
I could not control the pains in my heart that were only reduced by the tears rolling down on my face. I recalled how happy we were being together especially during the month of Ramadan when we broke fast together throughout the month at Allaji’s residence. Any time Malam Ibraheem Potiskum, now recovering from fractures he got in the same accident that took away the two, was in town he was there with us. In fact they always go to buy Kunun Gyada (grounut pap) for us with Alhaji Mika and Dr. Shuaibu Musa, who was driving when they had the accident. It was most memorable as though we were spending their last hours together. All our concern was the Free Zakzaky Campaign always discussing the next step forward and analysing earlier steps taken. That love, that brotherhood founded in their last days by the tyrants of this country who killed virtually all our friends including Dr. Mustapha a very close confidant and personal friend of Alhaji Mika. Every person we loved and cared for was killed by the government or is in detention and we were struggling everyday for justice and fairness together, imagine the bond we enjoyed then.
My wife would say to me, “ina ka fito? Alhaji Mika. Ina zaka? Alhaji Mika?” (Where are you from? Alhaji Mika. Where are you going to? Alhaji Mika.)…. and I will smile because it made me felt I was actually busy with the struggle and was identified with an embodiment of the struggle Alhaji Mika.
I remember when we travelled to Sokoto to attend the Martyrs Remembrance Day with Alhaji Mika and Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello. Alhaji Mika was a dedicated servant of the Marty’s Foundation working to support and better the lives of their children and other relations. On his side, he personally extends such services to even those that were not part of the movement due to his humanitarian nature. From Sokoto we travelled to a village with him called Chimmola to visit the relations of one of those he was caring for. It was there that I got to visit the tomb of one of the early Sultans of Sokoto that was buried there named Ahmadu Dan Atiku.
Despite the fact that I know Alhaji Mika as a natural humanitarian, I still feel he cared specially for me. If by chance I mention that I am needy of something, he ensures that I get it even after I might have forgotten. He also advised me even when I didn’t ask for it. That is how caring he was.
We always travelled together to Abuja for the case at the Federal High Court seeking the enforcement of the fundamental rights of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky along with him and Dr. Shuaibu in the same vehicle they had the accident. I can’t immediately say the number of times we embarked on that journey and his house was always the meeting point.
As a team under Dr. Shuaibu the International Quds Conference was organized to hold in Abuja. Registration materials for the conference were not ready up till Saturday, a day before the accident. Alhaji Mika was busy preparing materials for the exhibition meant to hold the next day in Abuja at home when I entered the living room. There was Malam Ibrahim Potiskum sitting on the one side and all of them were waiting for Malam Haruna Sheleng to come so they could move to Abuja. He had hardly finished compiling the exhibition materials when Malam Haruna arrived from Zaria with a chattered vehicle.
The arrangement was that they would move ahead while I stayed behind to take the conference registration materials to Abuja when the printers finished producing them. Malam Haruna Sheleng being in-charge gave me the transport fair. We all entered the car and they took me to the printer at the printers’ village in Kaduna around 5:30pm. They left me there and too off to Abuja.
There I waited for almost two hours before the printer finished producing the materials. I decided not to travel that night because it was late. I then planned to set out for Abuja very early the next morning. Malam Sheleng called me while I was on the way to Abuja in the morning reminding me that I was almost delaying the registration and advised me also to take a drop when I arrived Abuja which I did.
On arrival at the venue I went straight to Dr. Shuaibu asking for the keys to his car so that I could drop my bag in it because certainly we were to travel back to Kaduna together as usual. He then told me that we were not travelling together because he was taking one of the guests in my place and that he was not sure of the attendance of Malam Ibrahim Potiskum and now he has attended and is also joining them in the car.
In his usual manner, knowing that I was not going with them in the same car, Alhaji Mika went fourth trying to secure a seat for me in another vehicle but none was available. The committee again arranged for my transport fair back to Kaduna which I was to collect from Malam Sheleng.
I looked for him around and I found him praying at the mosque close to the venue. When he finished and came out we walked back to the venue and as we were walking he gave me the transport fair and I jokingly said to him where is my ‘brown envelope’ and also jokingly said you are not here in your capacity as a journalist but as an official so we can only mobilise you to get back to Kaduna and not give you ‘brown envelope’. I then said to him there was need to sit immediately we get back to Kaduna to outline the shortcomings of the conference for corrections against next time and he said it was a good idea. He went and joined them at the car close to which Alhaji Mika was praying as well. I turned back and went to the mosque to also pray and before I finished they left. Five of them in the Highlander jeep, Alhaji Mika, Dr. Shuaibu Musa driving, Malam Ibrahim Potiskum, Brother Harun, and Malam Haruna Sheleng.
My friend in Abuja, Brother Umar Ruwan Dorawa took me all the way to Zuba to get a vehicle to Kaduna. The journey was smooth all the way until we got to about 28 kilometer to Kaduna close to a certain U-turn we saw vehicles turning back and moving to the other lane and also signing for us to do the same which we did. We thought it was a robbery going on until we got to the scene and saw that it was a ghastly motor accident. I looked on and could not even recognise that it was Dr. Shuaibu’s jeep as some of the passengers in our car were saying it was a Sienna and even the driver said it was a Land Cruiser jeep that overtook him earlier. I prayed for the victims as we passed by because help was already there as was an ambulance there already.
We arrived Kaduna and I dropped at Bakin Ruwa along the expressway planning to go to Ungwan Sarki then to Alhaji Mika’s house before I finally go home. All of a sudden I received distress calls from two people asking where I was because there was a fatal accident involving Alhaji Mika and Dr. Shuaibu. I called all the numbers of those in the car and there was no reply. I then called someone in Alhaji Mike’s house to help me check if Alhaji was back only to be told that he was not back.
It was at that point that I broke down. I was already crying profusely wondering what next for us if all the backbones of our campaign for free Zakzaky are gone in an instant. I was already talking to myself and walking up and down the road not knowing what to do. I made several other calls and confirmed that they were taken to Saint Gerald’s hospital and immediately rushed there. There were the injured persons including Brother Harun with head injury and fracture, Malam Ibrahim Potiskum with fractures on both legs and bruises and then I saw Dr. Shuaibu who had some few bruises, he looked up to me and held my right hand tight saying Alhaji is no more.
At that time it was only the corpse of Malam Sheleng that was brought to the hospital while that of Alhaji Mika was stocked in the vehicle and needed the vehicle to be cut opened to remove. I have never been as shocked in my life before.
We are confident that they are all martyrs because they died in the service of Allah and humanity. We know how happy they now are wherever they might be and we see that in various admonitions that came to fore since they left us. Theirs are good while we are left to continue the struggle against tyranny and oppression until fairness and justice reign insha Allah.
By Abdulmumin Giwa