By MARIAM ALESHINLOYE AGBOOLA, Jos
ALHAJI Shehu Abubakar, elder brother to the former Theatre Commander of Operation of Lafiya Dole and Director of Training and Operation in the Headquarters Major General Yusha’u Mahmud Abubakar, who died in a motor accident on Maiduguri-Damaturu road last Tuesday has described his death as very shocking and devastating but said that the family has accepted it as the will of God.
Alhaji Shehu Abubakar, who is The Sarkin Hausawa of Gindin Akwati in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state, said: “We have always prayed that as God has elevated him in his career, he would retire peacefully in God’s own time. But he did not retire before death came calling. We have accepted what God has destined and for us to start blaming somebody for his death or giving another interpretation to it means that we do not have faith in Allah. If he had not been destined to die in that accident he would have survived it. Death will always come with a reason.”
Alhaji Abubakar said since the death of their father in 1974, he took over the training of all his siblings including the late Major General Mahmud, from primary up to the university level and never envisaged that such a devastating thing could happen, adding that the whole village was thrown into sorrow when the kinsmen heard the news that he died. He added that the news was quite shocking to them.
He described the general, who is survived by two wives and eight children, as “a peacemaker, very friendly and a philanthropist par excellence, whose generosity extended to both Christian and Muslims in the community.”
He spoke further: “The whole village was thrown into mourning. Everybody, including the Fulani herdsmen in the bush all came into the village that Tuesday evening with tears flowing uncontrollable. The kind of assistance he gave to this community and even Barkin Ladi Local Government Area as a whole is unquantifiable. Whenever we are faced with any problem he assisted us in solving it. “He ensured that troops were deployed to the village and Barkin Ladi LGA to ensure there was no crisis in the area. We never had crisis in Gindin Akwati from 2001 till date. In this our community, we have mosques and churches and none has ever been torched for once.”
The head of the family further explained that the general’s plan was to retire and continue assisting his people: “During fasting, he usually sent bags of grains and sugar to be distributed among Muslims and when it was time for Sallah, he used to send money to be shared among the people so that everyone got something to celebrate. In like manner during Christmas he would send bags of rice and groundnut oil to be given to the churches for onward distribution among their members. For instance during last Christmas I shared the things as far as to Yelwa village which is about three kilometers from here.”
Narrating how the family got the news, the immediate younger brother to the late General, Dr. Idris Garba who is a physician at Murtala Specialist Hospital, said that somebody called to inform him about the death because the person felt that him being a doctor, he would know how to relate it to other members of the family.
He said: “What we learnt was that when he landed at the airport, he got into the bulletproof car of the GOC, so that they could go to Birni Yadi to boost the morale of the troops. They were on their way on Maiduguri-Damaturu road when the accident occurred. We learnt that they were together at the back seat and the rear tyre burst. The car somersaulted and they were flung out of the car before it burst into flames. He died instantly while the GOC had serious injury.
“It was not easy telling the family because it was least unexpected and there were plans on ground. I called him about 10 days ago to thank him for his financial assistance to our nephew who will be getting married to the daughter of Chiroma Gomber on the 26th of this month. His house in this village has just been completed. His plan is to stay there any time he was in the village to receive visitors. He has not even seen the house physically. We only took the picture and sent it to him on Whatsapp.
“As a field commander, he did not have the time to come down to see the house. His two wives are okay. One of them lives in Jos and whenever he was around in Jos, he used to come to the village to stay briefly and go back. The nature of his job did not give him the luxury to relax at home for long. The wives are both in paid employment. He has eight children with some of them in the university while some are in military school.
“We are 12 in number but four had died before now. We were not out of primary school when our parents died. Though our family migrated here from Rano, in Kano state in the course of doing their business and settled in that community. The late General is very passionate about the place. He was born here. His dream was to retire and go back to the farm. He was supposed to retire very soon because he enlisted into the army in 1984. He was the breadwinner of our family and had assisted all of us. It has not been easy for us .
“Since his demise, the kind of crowd that was pulled to this village has never been witnessed. More than 30 Generals in the army have been here. Both senior and junior officers and other ranks have been here to commiserate with the family.”
Collaborating this, another brother, who is a public servant in Plateau State Civil Service, Alhaji Sale Abubakar said: “He was a man of the people. Most people we never thought could come down here were in this village. He left a good legacy. We will miss him dearly but have nothing to say but to thank God for his life .
Similarly the Ward Head of Nghar also under Barkin Ladi LGA, Akwati, Da Mangai Yaks who was also in the house to condole the family said late General Yusha’u Abubakar left a good legacy worthy of emulation by any person placed in authority. He said the General promoted unity in the community, noting that all the people would miss him.