I am overwhelmed with emotions, esteem, and appreciation on your new government appointment as, Federal Commissioner For Refugee, Migrant and Internally Displace Persons by the Nigerian government. When I heard the news that Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq had been appointed as the Federal Commissioner for RMIDP, I was absolutely elated. Your competence, focus, selfless dedication and devotion to the cause of the General Buhari movement, since the inception of the TBO (The Buhari Organization) from 2002, has earned you this deserving recognition. Please accept my heartiest congratulations. You really deserve it. I am sure you will be able to meet the new challenges without any difficulty. But please, take care; the road to success is always full of tumbling stones.
While this appointment means more responsibilities for and higher expectation of you, I am fully confident that you will be able to discharge your duties well. I know your talent and hard work will give you a good opportunity to excel at the position you have been appointed. This is just the beginning and many such awards and distinctions should follow. I wish you more feathers to your cap, sister.
When I think of your part in the tedious political journey that has led us to the place we are at now, I hardly know what to write and from where to begin with your story within this movement.
As I recall, it started in January 2003 when I walked into The Buhari Organization (TBO) and saw a very uncomfortable looking Sadiya defiantly sat in one of the offices. As always, I gravitated towards you and there began our political adventure. As the only constant young Fulani women, we were really out of place during the rallies and the trips. But we stuck together, determined to support General Buhari all the way. On a few occasions, I asked you if you were confident that General Buhari would beat an incumbent General Obasanjo during the 2003 elections. You almost bit my head off. You were so confident that General Buhari would make it to the presidency eventually. Your confidence was infectious because it made me and so many people believe. I think that back then, General Buhari was rather uncomfortable with us being so ingrained in politics. But when he saw our enthusiasm, Sadiya, I think he embraced us and seemed quite protective of us.
2003 was a tough outing for us. It was a learning curve. You and I organized several peaceful youth demonstrations. One that comes to mind is when we organized youth to peacefully protest at the American Embassy after the 2003 election when President George Bush came to visit. A gung-ho IG Tafa Balogun ordered for our arrest and while most of us were arrested, you and I managed to avert arrest until the courts ruled that we had a right to peacefully protest. Our names were blasted all over the media as ‘wanted fugitives,’ mind you.
That never deterred us, as we continued to organize peaceful protests every time a foreign dignitary would visit President Obasanjo after a rather flawed election. I remember one incident when we lined along the Airport Road and you were dragged and pushed into a ditch for holding up a sign protesting the 2003 elections.
I remember when we were tear gassed for being part of the mass action in late 2003. While I went to join General Buhari’s legal team in 2003, you continued to rally the youth and organize seminars, speeches in order to keep the movement alive. When I joined Sam Nda- Isaiah to write op-eds in order to keep the message of the opposition movement alive, you were more committed than ever Sadiya.
In 2007, you picked up where you left off and fought tooth and nail for General Buhari’s victory. This trend continued in 2010 but this time you took a different approach by contesting to be part of the EXCO of the CPC. You were pitted against many heavyweights and was bullied and persecuted. No one but Allah helped you and you became victorious. I saw you cry buckets of tears in 2011 when General Buhari shed tears out of compassion for the Nigerian masses.
As the Treasurer of CPC and later APC, after the merger, you were the voice of General Buhari, even within the party. Everybody knew not to mess with you when it came to support for General Buhari. Even when several injustices were meted out to you as a result of your support for General Buhari, you never abandoned ship, never cowered, never wavered. Sadiya, you were always the Number 1 supporter of General Buhari. It was just the kind of decent and loyal person you were!
You know in life, some people come into our lives and leave a huge impression. You are one of those people that came into my life and left an imprint upon my heart. You have truly been a sister that has been there for me every step of my own political journey.
To be honest with you Sadiya, I don’t think I can actually recall the specific first time we met. It just seems like you have always just been there. I remember having this exact conversation with you when we tried to recall when we first met. While we couldn’t put a time and date to our first meeting, we both remember that, whenever we did come into contact with each other, we just really liked each other. There was just a mutual, draw, respect and adoration we had for each other. I don’t think we had too much in particularly in common but we just wanted to be friends with each other. There wasn’t a moment of hesitance for either of us. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be friends with a person who is so kind, so full of honor, so caring, full of good advice and someone who makes one laugh?
Since becoming friends, we have both pushed each other under our protective wings and haven’t let go of each other since. It was those protective wings that we cuddled each other with during our long, drawn out 13-year political journey.
As the years passed by, our adoration as friends has only grown. We weren’t just friends, we were sisters. No matter how bad any of our personal situations gets, we’d roll up our sleeves, splash in the deepest of puddles and make light of any situation life threw our way. Sister, together, we have always been stronger and braver. And no matter how much distance is between us, no matter how many days, weeks and months we haven’t spoken to each other, we always pick up where we left.
Life! Sometimes it pulls the rug from under our feet. Suddenly, we find ourselves broken and unable to get back up. This happened to both of us during our 13-year stint in politics. When we thought all hope had gone, we were always there to dust each other down and told each other everything is going to be okay. When everyone else had left the room, we cheered each other on in order to give each other that little piece of hope to carry on.
That’s what real friends and sisters do. They are the glue that held us together when we feel like politics was tearing us apart. They are the anchor to keep us grounded when politics tried to blow us away. They are the wind beneath our wings, keeping us going when we felt like giving up.
I know, you will not even like my saying thanks to you and showering you with praise but, Sadiya, you deserve all the kudos for the way you handled a very difficult situation with great boldness and much patience. I know that the last year has not been easy for you, yet you did not lose hope and faced the ridicule of not being included in governmentdespite your dedication with utmost courage and, girl, you came through.
For me, you have always been a living embodiment of the core purpose of the Buhari movement. You were the symbol of the virtue, integrity, purity of what the movement stood for. You sacrificed so much for the movement to the detriment of your own comfort and convenience. The values you instilled in those who observed you, was like a guiding light. The movement was very lucky and blessed to have you as a devoted member. You never wavered, even when the movement did you wrong.
Thank you for always being a true friend to me and so many others, in and outside the movement. Thanks for sticking by me and so many other underdogs; for letting us sob into your shoulder when things got dark. Thank you for letting us pour my heart out, for listening and for not just telling us what we wanted to hear. Thank you for loving me the times that I became unlovable. Thank you for staying as my ‘constant’ in the murky and unjust Nigerian political world that you and I ventured into 13 years ago. And thank you, Sadiya, for just being there when I needed you… and that was quite often.
It’s hard to put it into words just how much you have meant to me and so many others in this journey. We have been tear gassed together, unfairly cheated, been made fun of, been laughed at and yet we walked so far, laughed so hard, and cried a sea of tears about politics; together. We have climbed each other’s highest peaks, and travelled through the darkest of valleys. You raised me up when politics beat me to the ground, and I encouraged you during your moments of weakness. This is the same for so many others.
You have not only been my political rock, my political anchor, my political tear catching shoulder to cry upon, but you have also taught me many things in handling political disappointment. You taught me that friends never judge each other, no matter what their political experience and choices.
You told me to forgive. I remember the speech you gave me in 2011 when providence forced me to move from CPC to ACN. You understood the reason I was compelled to make that decision. I recall when you travelled to Kaduna from Abuja with the sole purpose of dragging, pulling, yanking and picking me out of a slump when ‘Smeagol’ orchestrated a treacherous personal and physical attack on me as part of a duplicitous political intrigue and game plan which I stood in the way of, at the time in 2013. You really were there for me.
You taught me to be face my fear, if my fear was losing in the political chess game. You counseled me to trust the Choices Allah made for me and literally move forward in a positive light. During my darkest days engaging in the murky world of politics, you were part of the light that guided my way. You helped to liberate my emotions politically. Now, I have been able to finally face my fears and put the past quite literally behind me. I owe that, in part, to you, my sister!
Thank you for being my political sister and my mischievous partner-in-crime, my political companion, my political telepathic pal and so much more in the horrible, horrible politics we experienced. Thank you for all the glorious memories, wrapped up in a bow of nostalgia, Sadiya.
Sadiya, you are the most loyal, kind, sweetest and beautiful person, inside and out. You are selfless, compassionate and God fearing. The political movement of General Buhari hit gold when you ventured into it back in 2003. With your first Degree in Business Administration, an MBA, experience as the Treasurer of two major opposition parties, CPC and APC and a 13-year experience on the front line navigating the murky terrain of Nigerian politics, as the APC administration took over power in 2015, there was ‘not one woman’ politician more deserving of a major government position than you!!! And you had the experience and qualification to warrant any position in government, had you been given the chance then.
The very befuddling delay in giving due recognition to, especially, you my friend, and none to many who are as deserving and qualified as you bares the weakness of internal organizational crisis response. It has exposed a current disconnect between the values of which the initial movement existed and survived on and the reality of the present structure of which the administration is hinged on as a whole.
It calls for better approaches to mobilizing competent, qualified, appropriate, neglected and deserving personnel, some of which have struggled and toiled for General’s success for well over a decade. It is comforting to know that some, such as yourself, have finally been recognized, as they should have been. And I speak for many when I say that, while not every deserving person can be called to form part of the administration, the fact that you have been absorbed, is enough to give so many of the movement’s veterans peace of mind.
My beautiful friend, what more can I say? The country is lucky to have you perform this National Service. This government is blessed to have finally called you up for duty. The Buhari Movement was fortunate to have had a dedicated, honest and loyal person such as yourself for all this time. You still remain President Buhari’s biggest Cheerleader, bar non!
Just as you have done for me, I trust that you will cushion those under your present office and the nation as a whole under your protective wing. I have no doubt that you will still be the person who will hail the nation, arise as a compatriot to obey your nation’s call. I’m pretty sure you will serve your fatherland with love and strength and faith. You will give your heart and might to our nation bound in freedom with peace and unity.
Dearest sister, as you embark on this exciting, frightening and exhilarating phase of your professional and political career as the newly appointed Federal Commissioner for Refugee, Migrant and Internally Displace Persons, I pray for Allah’s Guidance, Blessing and Protection in everything and anything you do.
I’m always going to be here for you, cheering you on and supporting you, By Allah’s Will. You will always be my girl, Sadiya.
My friend, I am ecstatically happy for you and outrageously proud of you. I will love you always, my dearest friend. Good luck Baby Girl!
Sincerely and affectionately,
—Your Sister forever.