“I’m home; I’m the son of the soil; I’m truly grateful to God that we truly belong to him and to Him we shall return.”
The above is the short statement made by Alhaji Ahmed Musa, the Walin Misau when he was asked to make a remark at a dinner party hosted by the Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Adamu Muazu. I replayed the videocassette several times and wondered whether my emotional feeling at the news of Wali’s death was deceiving me. Again and again, the few words above were what re-echoed from the video recording of the event.
It is said that the average life span nowadays is 60 years. The dream and prayer on the lips of the present young generation are to live a long and fulfilled life worthy of emulation by all. But the long life still eludes us and seems to be unattainable. It is a tall dream in Nigeria today when viewed from the perspective of political instability, murders through the hands of unscrupulous elements, reckless driving, deadly infectious diseases and various other terminal ailments that rear their ugly heads in this age.
That Ahmed Musa died at the age of 71, peacefully, in his hometown, is a fulfilled dream of our era. It is gratifying to note that the deceased lived a memorable and dynamic life whose impact is felt throughout the nation by virtue of his immense service to his fatherland through the several public positions he held, even beyond the normal expected life span on earth.
Until his death, Alhaji Ahmed Misau was an active and humble commissioner in the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Abuja. One of his last public assignments and official outings was at the last retreat organized by the RMAFC at a conducive hideout, away from the hobnobbing of the city of which he contributed a lot to its success.
When the Commission was about to submit its final work on the new revenue formula, there were intensive political lobbies from the likely beneficiaries, which cut across the arms and tiers of government. Therefore, when the Chairman, Engr. Hamman Tukur and the commissioners from all the states and Abuja, concluded all the meetings and consultations with stakeholders with additional memos received from interested groups and individuals, a conducive environment was sought, where they would digest, analyze and determine, in its totality, the new revenue formula, away from prying eyes.
The venue of the retreat was the Yankari National Park, Bauchi. The choice of the place was deliberate, to avoid distraction, unnecessary lobbies and at the same time, maintain a high level of confidentiality in taking decision on the sensitive and delicate constitutional issues of revenue sharing. Being the commissioner whose state was to be used for that epoch-making event, Walin Misau did a lot of moving around and sacrificed his leisure time to make sure that adequate arrangements were on ground for his colleagues to have a pleasurable stay in his state. In fact, he saw to it that all facilities and security at Yankari National Park were in place to enable the members have a healthy and smooth deliberation.
In company of Engr. Tukur, he led other members on a visit to the Governor of Bauchi State for a dinner party. He was reluctant to sit at the high table, as the commissioner from the host state, preferring instead to sit among his colleagues, who, however, refused, insisting that he should take the platform reserved for the men of status and achievement.
It was at that forum which turned out to be his last known public engagement that he made the remark which remains a puzzle and is at present interpreted as imperceptible farewell to all his colleagues at the federal and state levels where he served diligently and honorably in different capacities.
On learning of his death, a powerful delegation, comprising Alhaji Magaji Muazu, Chief John Mankilik, Alhaji Bello Kwari, Alhaji Yakubu Muhammad, and others, was quickly dispatched to commiserate with the state and the family over the irreparable loss. The death occurred on Saturday, 16th June 2001 at his home state.
Born on 22nd November 1930 in Misau, Bauchi State, Alhaji Musa started his education at a very tender age in the popular Elementary/Middle School, Bauchi between 1938-47. He combined the formal Western education, which was very rare in the then Northern Nigeria, with Quranic instruction. His educational pursuits took him to higher institutions at home and abroad. He was at the Institute of Administration, Zaria between 1947-48, where he obtained a Diploma in Accountancy from ABU Zaria in 1958 and attended a senior management course at Royal Institute of Public Administrations, London in 1977.
He began his public career as a Clerk in Misau local government in 1950 from where he steadily rose to hold several positions in the then regional government before he became a Commissioner of Internal Revenue in the Northeast in 1971. He was appointed Permanent Secretary between 1976-79.
In view of his meritorious service and commitment to excellence, the then Federal Government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari appointed him a Federal Minister of Housing in 1979-82. Due to his impressive performance in the ministry, he was saddled with an additional portfolio as he was asked to combine the Ministry of Housing with Environment. That was in 1982-83.
Before his death, Alhaji Musa had served as Chairman and member of several government agencies and organizations, among which include Chairman, Bauchi State Revenue Collection and Tax Review Committee, Chairman, Misau Emirate Development Appeal Fund, Chairman, Misau Community Bank, among other several appointments at the state and national level.
The Chairman of the Commission, Engr. Tukur, described the deceased as “a humble and active member of the Commission whose contributions in the constitutional workings of the Commission would be missed by the Board, management and staff of the Commission.”
This article by Yushau A. Shuaib was originally published in Daily Trust June 28, 2001, New Nigerian November 10, 2001