- His aunty, others speak
- His house in Hong razed by Boko Haram
From Abel Billy Graham, Yola
Garaha is still smarting from the devastation visited on it at the peak of Boko Haram onslaught in the north-eastern state of Adamawa. Located in Hong Local Government Area about 150 kilometres from Yola, the state capital, the agrarian community was one of several communities that were overrun when insurgents laid siege to seven local government areas in the state. But last week the teary rivulet on the cheeks of people of Gahara gave way to a beam of appreciation. One of the illustrious sons of the land has just ascended an enviable height in the nation’s political landscape.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last week named Boss Gidahyelda Mustapha the new Secretary to the Government Federation, SGF a position formerly occupied by Babachir Lawal. If Mustapha’s appointment is considered as a form of restoration to what the people of Adamawa State would have lost as a result of the removal of the former occupant of the office, Gahara people see the new SGF more in the mold of the biblical character of Nehemiah who spearheaded the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.
Mustapha; A rebuilder
People of Gahara told Sunday Sun that everything in the town was literally burnt to the ground by insurgents, and pointed to an ongoing church building, which they said was being reconstructed by the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The town though gradually returning to life, the visible telltale of devastation wreaked by the insurgents failed to eclipse the joy of Garaha whose proximity to Askira in Borno and the Sambisa forest made her a vulnerable target by the terrorist group.
The new SGF is more than a folk hero to people of Gahara. Locals adore him more for his unflinching dedication to the development and welfare of the community. Sunday Sun correspondent who visited the Gahara was shown a road network, electricity project, and a church building all of which were destroyed by the insurgents but which are currently being reconstructed by Mustapha with a view to restoring hope to his people, who lost almost everything except the will to go on, to insurgency.
The wild jubilation that trailed Mustapha’s appointment last week in Hong as a whole and Garaha in particular, must have made many to wonder if he was born and raised in the community.
Though a native of Garaha town, he was born in Nassarawa but raised at Jimeta, Yola, where his father, Mr. Wesley Mustapha was a teacher and later headmaster at Central Primary School, Yola. His father later rose through the ranks to becoming a commissioner in the ministry of education in the then Gongola state.
Those who knew his father described him as thoroughbred teacher and disciplinarian, a virtue they say impacted on Mustapha, his siblings and other young men in the community, who have come to adore him as a father and mentor.
An aunty to the new SGF, Mama Duatu Yachinna Falli, who gave a glimpse into the early days of Barrister Mustapha described him as highly dedicated from childhood.
“Boss has always been a highly dedicated person from childhood. As a baby he never cried like the rest of the children. When you put him to bed, your only job would be to check on him occasionally, that’s all. He would never wake up or cry all night and that was how he grew up, no trouble, no fighting, always glued to his books, unlike other children, his studies were more important to him than play.
“His father, who died in 2013 and his wife Benedicta Wesley (still alive) were very dedicated Christians, who trained Boss and his four other siblings: Mrs. Daloney Attah, Flora, Blessing and Charity Mustapha, to be dedicated Christians and they take to that training. Mustapha was never a troublesome child; he was never a child that his parents had to worry about. He was dedicated to his Sunday school and has always been a man of the people.
“I will advise him to remain true to himself and hold unto those good qualities that made him who he is today. He has always been the one listening and helping people, he should keep doing the same thing.”
Garaha youths in celebration mood
Dauda Andrew, who has resided in Mustapha’s father’s house in the last 15years has this to say about the new SGF: “I have been in his father’s house for about fifteen years, that was about the time I lost my father. We were just kids when we moved in here so most of the things I know about him, I was told because he was far ahead of us.
“We were told he’s a kind of person you would never hear exchange words with anyone. They say he’s very careful with words and has been a positive influence on his peers and a role model to the younger generation here.
“On your way into the house, you must have noticed some handwritten card board papers all over the community indicating there would be some kind of party or celebrations by some group in this area.
“In fact, the elders in the house here don’t have a clue about what is going on and some of these boys organising the celebration have never met him or seen him, it’s just because of the impact he has on their parents or someone they know and how he was committed to giving them a better life or because of some of the stories they grew up to hear about him, that is who the man Boss is. Forget that he is a very successful lawyer, a successful person, he is one hundred percent a people’s person, who genuinely cares for the people and has been committed all his life to touching and changing the lives of others.
“Success has never changed him, he succeeds to help people, his commitment to Christian faith has never changed, that is Boss.”
Mr. Samuel Happy Stephen, another resident who claimed to have lived in Nassarawo for more than twenty years, gave further insight to who the man Boss is and why the community is in celebratory mood: “This celebration is organised by the younger generation. More than ninety percent of them have never seen him before. I mean that they don’t even know him but because of his commitment to youth empowerment and the welfare of everyone in this community, they just have to celebrate.
“We the elders will also organise our celebration party and it would be the whole state.”
Mr. Abel Yerima, a native of Garaha described Boss Gida as a person who carries people on his own shoulders. “The whole village was in a rapture of celebrations because they know his appointment was for everyone and not for his immediate family alone.
“Barr Boss is an asset to our community, the state and the country at large. I cannot tell you more about his qualities just wait and see.
Mustapha in the eye of a political associate
Dr. Raymond Chidama, a political son of Mustapha has this to say about the new SGF: “I can tell you that every indigene of Adamawa is celebrating because he is a man of integrity, a man of principle and a man who believes in merit.
“Boss was the one that brought me into politics and taught me everything. One most significant quality I have come to see in him is his dedication and discipline to work, when he wants something done, it must be done.
“Boss Mustapha is a perfectionist and the president will enjoy working with him.
“What I am saying has nothing to do with the fact that he was appointed SGF, he has always been like this and everyone who knows him would tell you that.
Describing the former Adamawa SDP gubernatorial candidate as a true party loyalist, Raymond said, “Mr. Boss Gida Mustapha’s background as a lawyer with extensive management experience, thorough political party schooling, strong party philosophy and massive boardroom mastery are some of the important qualities he is bringing to Buhari’s administration’s table that could propel the APC’s government in the right direction after over two years in office,” he said.
Buhari and the new SGF
Prior to his appointment as SGF, Mustapha had worked with Buhari as a member of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) from 2000 to 2007.
He served as secretary of APC Presidential Campaign Organization Mobilization (2015) and was a member of the APC Transition Committee (2015) and he is also a member of the APC Board of Trustees.
Chronicling Mustapha’s success will not be complete without a reference to his exploits as a committed member of Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship, where he currently holds the position of National Vice President, Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International Nigeria.