TRIBUTE: Muhammad Dan (Ma’ajin Bauchi) 1932-2006: Always in Our Hearts By Murtala Mohammad Dan
On the 10th July, 2006 Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed (Kauran Bauchi) FCT Minister then a Director at the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, Abuja advice me to go home to see my father due to what he perceived as his fragile health. He was back from weekend and had visited the old man as he normally does when he travelled to Bauchi. I became worried because in his curiosity dad called me early in the morning to find out about my well-being and when I inquired about his health he politely replied “I am good Sardauna, concentrate on your work”.
I was left with unsettled feelings since my boss had compassionately urged me to travel while Ma’aji in his diligence and rare bravery see no need for the travel. I had to dodge Kauran Bauchi for few days to make him believe I travelled and kept close contact with the family members on the state of Ma’aji’s health until he finally instructed that “Sardauna” should come. He was then so weak and in a pathetic condition.
Muhammad Dan born in 1932 was the eldest son of Sarki Umaru, the village head of Dan. He attended Bauchi Middle School, the Teachers College and Institute of Administration Zaria where he specialised as accountant. He was a school teacher, an accountant and an astute administrator. Some of his major challenges were when he served as the sole administrator of Dukku Local Government (present Gombe State) and Itas Gadau Local Government in Bauchi State during the military regime, and a part time commissioner Pilgrims Welfare Board and Local Government Service Commission Bauchi respectively. Muhammad Dan was turbaned as Ma’ajin Bauchi in 1970 by the 9th Emir of Bauchi, Malam Adamu Jumba charged with management of the finances of the Bauchi emirate. The Ma’aji (treasurer) of the emirate plays watchdog role over all aspects of financial management, working closely with other members of the Management Committee to safeguard the emirate finances. Ma’aji is responsible for general financial oversight, funding and fundraising, financial planning and budgeting, financial reporting, banking, book keeping and record keeping, control of fixed assets and stock of the emirate.
Muhammad Dan earned a lot of respect and recognition for his prudence and accountability throughout his working life. He received many commendations for meritorious services during his life time. Upon the death of the 9th Emir of Bauchi, Malam Adamu Jumba in July, 1982, his first son Dr. Sulaimanu Adamu and a childhood friend of Muhammad Dan succeeded him as the 10th Emir of Bauchi. They were friends from childhood till death. The friendship cut across their families. Muhammad Dan married one of his wives from Bani Yakubu, descendant of the 8th Emir of Bauchi Sarki Yakubu Dan Umaru (1941-1954) popularly called Sarki Maje Wase. Muhammad Dan had dedicated so much vigor to the Bauchi emirate and displayed unflinching loyalty to his friend Sarki. Sulaimanu Adamu such much that the level of the loyalty was incomprehensible to many of us. Throughout the reign of Sarki Sulaimanu Adamu on the throne, Muhammadu Dan maintained the prestigious title of Ma’ajin Bauchi and also served as a private adviser to the emir. He served the emirate diligently for good 36 years. No wonder upon his death we found out the enormity of love and confidence the late monarch had on him. On many occasions when we paid homage to the emir he became so emotional and ended up in tears. Sarki Sulaimanu Adamu was so humane and was an epitome of simplicity in royalty. I had never hidden my admiration for him and may his gentle soul rest in Jannatil firdausi. I am privy to some interesting letters written by the late Ma’ajin Bauchi to the emir on issues of local and national importance.
After a long battle with terminal ailment Muhammadu Dan passed on peacefully at 7.30pm of Tuesday 26th July, 2006 after the Isha prayer. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihir raji’un, from Allah we came and to Him we shall all return. That particular day we cannot forget in our lives. The day when despite all efforts by the medical personnel and all the love and caring by your children, grandchildren, in-laws, friends and relatives could not spare you. Indeed, Allah is Mighty! We were so frightened by your demise being our pillar and source of inspiration but we are consoled by the fact that you lived a fulfilled life. You empowered and touched so many lives. We would forever be grateful by the way you trained us and always be impressed by the way you adopted orphans, the way you helped and inspire many people to achieve their dreams. You were so blessed in life to have captured the hearts of many non-Muslims to Islam. You were a humbled mediator, a realist and a promoter of peace.
When you passed on some good people came to our aid, we cannot forget the magnanimity of the then Governor of Bauchi StateAlhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu now the PDP National Chairman who offered the family cash to support the education of our younger ones. Senator Abubakar Maikafi (Danmadamin Bauchi), Malam Isa Yuguda (Matawallen Bauchi), Malam Ali Wakili (Fagacin Bauchi) also assisted the family in kind. Late Dr. Bilyaminu Othman (Emir of Dass), Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed (Mr. Civil Service), Grand Khadi Abdullahi Marafa (Marafan Bauchi), Alhaji Sunusi Baban Takko (Barayan Bauchi), Alhaji. Muhammadu Disina (Marafan Katagum), Alhaji Abdulmalik Mahmud (Baraden Katagum), late Alhaji Baba Ma’aji Abubakar (Sarkin Malaman Bauchi), late Alhaji Ahmed Abubakar (Madakin Bauchi), Alhaji Bala Attahiru (Ajiyan Bauchi), Alhaji. Malami Abdullahi (Sarkin Kudun Bauchi), Amb. Umar Babaji Misau (Wazirin Misau), Alhaji Muhammadu Tango (Danmasanin Gombe), Alhaji. A.G Aliyu, Alhaji Kuloma M.K. Hardawa, Malam A. U. Misau, Alhaji. Abdullahi Musa, Alhaji J.D Hassan, Sheikh Tahir Usman Bauchi and Malam Bala Liman (Chief Imam of Bauchi Central Mosque) were part of many personalities that comforted us during our period of grief.
Children are one of the biggest blessings of life. So, with that blessing comes responsibility, and the primary responsibility that Muslim parents have is to raise their children to be righteous Muslims. Baba, you trained us well, you gave us more than enough, your thirty three children and the other extended relatives would always be grateful for your sacrifices and love. you taught us kindness, fairness and humility. You instilled politeness in us and nurtured the fear of Allah in our hearts.
The story of the Bush Doctor would always be bright in my memory. How you treated him nicely, and how you handled his relatives. It came with not much surprise when Likita Madaki (The Bush Doctor) met me one day in the month of Ramadan to indicate his willingness to convert to Islam. I cannot forget the many questions you asked him. He voluntarily embraced Islam and adopted the name Nasir, namesake of your third male child. Likita, a native of Plateau State was two years ahead of me in school and a friend to my kind elder brother Rabi’u who introduced him to our family after his secondary school graduation. Today none of you is alive but the memories still lingers on.
Your immediate descendants are the beginning of your progeny. The children you left behind are in their primes and your grandchildren have reached 109 this July, the month you passed away. The current “Ma’ajin Bauchi” your eldest son Muhammad Sagir was turbaned as the second Ma’ajin Bauchi by the 11th Emir of Bauchi Dr. Rilwanu Sulaimanu Adamu in fulfillment of his late father’s pledge to honour you and your obedient children. He is today the traditional head of the large family you left behind in peace. Only Al-Kasim (Ma’aji Jnr), the youngest in the family is still in school but all others work in various sectors of the public service.
Just recently the Bauchi State Governor appointed Bala Abdullahi Dan your younger brother who was under your mentorship as the Chairman of Alkaleri Local Government while your son Aminu has being the District Officer for over three years. We are so determined never to let you down by remaining steadfast, focus, united and upholding the moral standards you set for us! You taught us to be patient and calm, independent, hardworking and honest. You trained us to be law abiding citizens.
It is so nice to see you touched so many people. Always lifted the spirits of people on dark days…
You were such a big part of my life I am missing you so much. Ma’aji, the most wonderful dad you could have wished for and we had him. Ma’aji had his heroes and he was ours.
He was the most loving and devoted father to his children and grandchildren who he would have done anything for and did all of the time he was with them.
When he was not with them he kept thinking and asking about them. That was our mentor, our awesome and charismatic dad, our role model.
Gone too soon but will never ever be forgotten. To his friends he was the life and soul of the party and a true friend to them, and them to him, a friend for life. Baba you cannot believe how very proud I feel to be able to call you my Dad, your 17th child. I love you Baba, you will forever be in my heart. Always in our hearts
May your gentle soul rest in jannatil firdausi.
Engr. Murtala Mohammad Dan MNSE, MNICE
Work with Nigerian Meteorological Agency, Abuja
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