A tribute to our beloved father, ‘Malami’ of Rinji, by Aishatu Muhammad Malami (Ummi)
At 4 pm or thereabout on the 19th of May, 2013 equivalent to 9 Rajb,1434 AH – Islamic calendar, was the very first time in my life that I lost consciousness, yes I lost myself and didn’t know what I was doing or where I was exactly! It echoed “Ummi, Baban mu ya rasu” (Ummi, our dad is dead/gone) Ya Allah! I didn’t believe what I heard from my sister Zainab M. Malami as she kept her phone down.
We were outside and my phone’s battery has been down all day, so I had to call Mummy and confirm the odd and unpleasant news myself. I ran back to my hostel room on campus to pick up my handbag in an attempt to proceed to the Amenity wardroom in ATBUTH, Bauchi instantly.
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It was a very quiet Sunday evening. I didn’t know that I woke up others on siesta in the hostel as I was shouting “innalillahi wa inna illaihi raging “ (We belong to Allah, and Him we return) at the very top of my voice. I found myself crying profusely as I was being held and consoled by many ladies outside. I don’t know how or what. We were to travel from Gadau to Bauchi/Rinji at that instant; My first ever longest tears-filled journey was escorted by my cousin Rabiu S. Bako.
I can still vividly remember my last contact and moments with ‘Yaya’. We grew up addressing him so, (Yaya mai Minti or Yaya mai Mota). Because he gives out mini (sweets) to closeby Islamiya kids that duly come to our house after closing as Sadaka. I know in my heart he dearly loved me and all of us. He used to be firm and strict but deep down loving and calm most of the time. We were all over him and meant the world to him and vice versa. I tried hard to get used to being okay without him but I still have tears whenever I remembered him loving me exactly as I’m and his humanity lived life for others. Until you know his full story, this is not exaggerating at all!
Muhammad Hamzat Malami a.k.a ‘Kaigama/Sakatare’ was born in Rinjin Gaini, Toro local government area of Bauchi state. He attended his primary school in Ribina/Gyamzo after memorizing the Holy Quran first in Rinji’s ‘Makarantan Allo’- Quranic School, and to then Bauchi Teacher’s College (BTC) and later to BUK for a B. Ed and ABU Zaria for a PGD afterward. He did his NYSC in Rivers state and started his career as a Teacher then later became Toro local government secretary and chairman as well. He held many political positions in the Bauchi state government.
As he’s aging, he became a Diabetic patient which was managed for ten (10) years from diagnosis. He was on hospital admission for about three(3) months before death. He was unarguably the philanthropist of his time in Rinji Gaini, Toro LGA of Bauchi state, and even beyond. He distributes items especially foodstuff and money to many relatives and unrelated families. This is something forever attributed to his name even if we do not state or tell anyone. He was so down to earth that he eats together with all caliber and categories of people and friends irrespective of age, clan, religion, region, or tribe that always come to him.
As diabetes sets in the later years, he was still considering people that were already used to eating with him. He then later had his separate tray of selected foods as advised by doctors for his insulin management and they too got theirs with our normal household meals. How Considerate!
The first thing that came to my mind after his demise was ‘yanzu shikenan mun zama abin tausayi?’ amma Allah Bai barmu haka nan ba, Allah SWT Ya tausaya mana ( Now, is it over because we become all alone, piteous?, but God never left us all alone) Surely, God is with us over the years and continuously in sha Allahu.
It’s exactly 10 years now but his achievements, legacies, and tributes are still in all of us and even in many others. We are bound to spend our lives living his history through keeping our bonds with each other tight, his families’ and friends’ ties on too, various Sadaqah Kariya, and daily prayer over his departed soul. His love, care, and respect for his Mother, when she was alive are worth adapting to all of us. Indeed, the plain truth about our role model!
I have for long been trying to write purely and straight from my heart on our father’s attributes and his life lived, but I haven’t been able to wordsmith that right to date. Maybe someday I can. For now, in my thoughts, I’m proudly living his dream on me as it has been instilled in me right from my teenage that he wants me to be on the Western education lane and I shall continue to live to that passionately in the cause of my religion and serving Allah SWT through it In Sha Allahu.
There’s this ‘certain prayer’ he always says to me whenever we had a conversation about me then. Our eldest, Alhaji Hamza M. Malami (Kaigaman Bauchi the second) is backing up this dream as I know we’ve been on this trail and usually referred to my aligned dreams as our father’s dream then.
We’re all very proud to be from his lineage and truly enjoying the prestige that comes with his genes and name. And he will have been proud of us all if he was here. In his Islamic way of life, our father was a steadfast worshipper, and always pray in congregation. My mother; Mummy told me his nickname during his school days was ‘Kwana Sallah’ meaning someone that spends the nights praying.
He had a library in his parlor of many Islamic books collections and others. He enjoys reading the Holy Quran and should you be in his presence during one of those moments, you definitely should be ready to be asked many questions or given a book to read there and then or to take it with you. I still have his borrowed Holy Quran with me which we both agreed then it was borrowed not given. Meanwhile, I didn’t get to give it back but now hold and read it dearly till my days too with the knowledge of my siblings to let me keep it.
We had a family tradition of going to his side every morning for greetings, prayers, and discussions then. Everyone is expected to have his/her tasbih (rosary) active and to give the total counts of each previous day’s given supplications for summation. Ya, Allah. May Allah SWT forgive our dear Father.
Our father was a great leader per excellence and definition, he played his roles with honesty and integrity and with the fear of God Almighty across many positions and political posts he held. He was once time the secretary he times the chairman of Toro LGA, Commissioner of Bauchi the sStatepStatenardrd, Chairman of the Bauchi State Hospitals Management Board, and Chairman of Bauchi State Internal Revenue Service amongst others. He tried his best to be fair and just to all under him even at the cost of his displeasure. His focus had always been on helping others to stand on their own through empowerment and working appointments.
Muhammad Hamzat Malami is our true role model who taught us how to be respectful, humble, honest, prayerful, kind, endure, and determined in the cause of our life journeys. He left behind more than twenty (20) children and many grandchildren; We lost our brother DVM Abdulrahim M. Malami five(5) months (October 2013) after our father’s demise by accident, Our father ‘Yaya’ also left behind many adopted children and four lovely wives; We lost one of our mothers Baba last year (March 2022) after an illness too. I prayed to Almighty Allah to forgive them, have mercy on their souls, and grant them Jannatul Firdaus. May Allah SWT give us the fortitude to continue to bear these irreplaceable losses. And may we live longer in peace, unity, love, wealth, health, and happiness with our mothers and each other.
One of the things I will remember and ever be thankful for during our trying moment and his ailing time (sickbay) was the visitations paid by his relatives, friends, government officials, and classmates (Bauchi Teacher’s College, Class of 72) before his death at the hospital like Senator Alhaji Danjuma Goje’s, the former Gombe state governor and many numerous to mention. Rest on dearest Mai Martaba Babanmu; Kaigaman Bauchi the First, Sardaunan Toro the First, Garkuwan Rinjin Gaini, Zannan Ribina, Jarman Jarawa, Dan malkin Tilden Fulani, Magayakin Wunti (Gumau), Magajin Garin Zakshi.
These were his traditional titles given based on his vast and selfless community services and also his wonderful relationships to/with others. Yet, he till the end uses his name. How Humble! Some things I get to understand from their early life that he likes include; classy and shiny shoes, designer perfumes, well-embroidered babble Riga, short plain white rawani on Borno caps, and carrying himself with charisma! He also likes to have long meaningful conversations with anyone present and to ask questions. By and large, He was a ‘perfect generous gentleman’ who was very kindhearted and humane.
Our father’s good reputation preceded him in life and transition. May peace be with you wherever you are, Mai Saje! Amin Ya Rabb.
Aishatu can be reached; at firstname.lastname@example.org