Two well known figures passed away within 24 hours of eachother. One was born into privilege and has been in charge of looking after ‘his people’ for over 50 years. This was Emir of Kano Alhaji Dr. Ado Abdullahi Bayero, 84 years old by the time of his passing. He was flown out of the country in February this year to London, for medical treatment. His ill health was publicised on media briefly and a handful of people sent their well wishes to him. He later passed away on Friday June 06 2014 in Nigeria.
I have a fond memory of my visit to the Emir’s palace and plenty of photos to show for it. However, each time I thought about this trip I always have puzzling questions – why are those kids not in school in the middle of the day? The Emir was an educated man, were his sons also taught and participated in the act of collecting alms on a school day? When I read about the Emir being taken to London for medical treatment earlier in the year, I imagined how this could have been happened differently. I imagined the Emir to be treated in the comfort of his home in Kano, well, this would have been the case if the boys observing almajiri duty had a shot at western education.
Another loss to the country was Professor Dora Akunyili, She died at the age of 59 on Saturday 07 2014. She was a lot of things to many people but to all Nigerians she was the hero of NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control). The lady who saved us from ourselves. Most adult Nigerians have a story to tell regarding the prevalent of fake drugs and food products. If it didn’t happen to you, you are likely to know someone who almost died or actually is dead due to drug or packaged food poisoning.
When Prof Dora resumed office as the Director General at NAFDAC in 2001, the effect of her work was immediate. Everyone in the country knew someone new had taken office. Lots of pharmacies were closed down if illegal drugs were found to be stocked. A chemist I grew to know in my hometown was raided and closed down, this was a very popular chemist so quite a lot of people were upset for the owner for the loss of revenues but in private, everyone thanked God that silent killers in our midst were been ousted, lots of fake drugs were confiscated. Many people are beneficiaries of illegal drug trade hence it had gone on for too long.
Observing Nigeria collective concern over the death of these two public figures was very interesting – one of a born to rule and the other earned every bit of honour bestowed on her.
The Emir of Kano Ado Bayero was a much respected figure mostly amongst Northerners as well as those that have had business with him. During my trip in 2005, The Emir’s secretary realising that I am from Osun State said the king of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade was visiting the Emir and attended the graduation ceremony together at the university of Kano. Learning that many influential monarchs across Nigeria were friends was intriguing, but what saddens me is whether these influential kings during their social interactions, ever thought of using their positions of power to benefit ‘their’ people in positive ways. Not sure what the answer is as both kings have had endless crisis within their borders.
Emir of Kano narrowly escaped from Boko Haram insurgency last year, his driver and bodyguard killed. Oba Okunade Sijuade is all here
Nigerians reaction towards the passing of Prof Dora was unanimously overwhelming throughout the country. She will be remembered for a very long time as she already set standard to follow before leaving NAFDAC.
Royal families get monthly stipend for being born royals and of course lots of bribes from the government so their people could vote for the politicians with deeper pockets – no defined accountability imposed
Professor Dora was a private citizen, she had a job to tackle fake drug industry – she delivered.