By Henry Akubuiro
Dr. Bukar Usman’s repository of awards swelled recently when a delegation of Biu Student’s Association, Ahmadu University, Zaria Chapter, honoured him with an award in recognition of contributions to the promotion of history and culture of Biu Emirate and Nigerian folklore.
In a letter addressed to the award recipient and signed by Abdullahi Ibrahim Bwala on behalf of BESA, the student body said: “The award is in recognition of your contributions to Biu Emirate, for promoting its history and culture, as Alumnus of the prestigious ABU, Zaria, and for your great contributions to the Nigerian folklore.”
To this end, on September 8, 2021, Dr. Usman received the BESA delegation comprising Abdullahi Ibrahim Bwala (President, BESA) Nabil Musa Mustapha (Secretary General, BESA), Mohammed Musa (Public Relations Officer, BESA) and Ibrahim Abdullahi (Member, BESA) at his residence.
In his brief remarks before the presentation of the award, Dr. Usman welcomed and thanked them for braving the road to make the presentation in Abuja. The former permanent secretary in the Presidency told them of the need for inclusiveness in whatever they were doing.
He emphasises, in particular, the need for them to uphold and promote religious tolerance Biu community is known for.
After the presentation of the plaque and certificate of the award by BESA, Dr. Usman addressed the delegation at length, starting with a recollection of his educational background and working life, urging them to be steadfast in whatever career they wished to pursue.
In working life, he advised that they should treat people with civility and in a manner that they would hold their heads high and not compromise themselves and be afraid of their shadows after retirement.
“You should strive to earn the confidence of your colleagues, subordinates and superiors, who, at any time, can testify and vouch for your good character. You should be obedient and diligent and punctual. You should always stand by the truth, for truth is your armour,” he emphasised, citing instances where this admonition had served well some notables in high and low places in public service.
Furthermore, Dr. Usman remarked, though money was important, it should not be the sole determinant in relationships and offering service, adding that, at the end of it all, they should be honest to themselves after “they have served enough and retired honourably from public life.”
Going down memory lane to the colonial period, Dr. Usman narrated how Biu people who were recruited as domestic servants all over the federation by the colonial officers were noted for neatness and trustworthiness.
In response, the delegation recalled how they came across his books back home at Biu and how they read them with interest. A product of girl-child education in Biu Emirate, it was learnt, had set up a school. Also, a member of the delegation testified that he was one of the products of the school called Minihaha and knew the proprietress. Dr. Usman made a mention of this to emphasise the importance of girl-child education in the Emirate.
Biu Emirate, which previously was under one Native Authority, now has four local governments. Unfortunately, the four are not performing what the Native Authority was doing in offering services to our people.
Dr. Usman emphasised the need for town planning in Biu to meet up with growing urbanisation. “Equally important is to enhance access and interaction with the outside world,” he said.
As they rounded off the interaction, he took the delegation to his study and his bookstore. On behalf of the Dr Bukar Usman Foundation, he presented some books to members of the delegation. They took photographs and expressed appreciation, after which they left, as the host asked them to convey his best regards to their members.