Like Shakespeare wrote about greatness in one of his classic plays, Macbeth, “Some were born great, while others had greatness thrust upon them.”
Looking at this quotation, it becomes difficult for me to write this tribute to Maitama Sule because I found it hard to choose my words. On the other hand, I got a consolation in the sense that whoever came in contact with the elder statesman could easily compose his own tribute in the mind and create a fitting mental picture. Maitama Sule was an embodiment of pure love for humanity devoid of any hidden and selfish tendency, whereby he took everyone as his own son or daughter. He embraced all and sundry without discrimination: your tribe, religion and status did not matter. He would never give up in pursuing any goal he had, especially when it concerned the actualization of the country’s development, which he doggedly struggled for until his last breath.
He was a leading light in the social and political life of Kano and Nigeria in general. Despite his advanced age he was still very strong in body, high in spirit and very formidable as a rallying point for the political determinism of this country. He was not an armchair critic for the woes of this nation but he sought for solution and instituted various platforms for re-directing the course of this nation. His zeal for this country and the pains he had for her political, economic and social emancipation seemed to consume him all through his lifetime.
My personal encounters with Maitama Sule at Bayero University, Kano, on many occasions where he often presided at public lectures were life enriching as space would not permit me to say much more of him. His relationship with students is another legacy that should instruct all of us. He always wished the students to be greater than their parents in life achievements and my students always appreciated and loved him for that.
He adopted a special, favourite and a golden way to drive the rigorous scales of life before he finally took his exit into the great beyond. We miss Baba’s handshake, goodwill, advice and his smiles that would uplift anyone’s spirit. Anyone who belonged and still belongs to Maitama’s school of thought and ideology cannot be associated with laziness, corruption, evil, wickedness or maltreatment of the downtrodden, and indifference to what affects the people.
He did not only speak against societal vices but did something about them. Haaaa! If you see me carrying a lantern in broad daylight, do not be surprised because I am looking for and searching for another Maitama Sule and God help me if I would ever find one…. Adieu Maitama.
► Aondover Eric Msughter wrote from the Department of Mass Communication Bayero University, Kano.