To Allah we be, and to Him is our return (Quran).
Multitudes of men have walked on the surface of this earth. They all belonged to different nations and cultures. A few of them made history for which they were remembered, whereas others were never to be mentioned again. Although each one was personally different from another – their habits, thinking and tastes differed – they all had two things in common. First, they were all delivered from their mother’s womb (birth) and second, they all tasted death.
Recently, we lost our father, grandfather and guardian, Mallam Usman Dantsoho Makarfi who died at the age of 85, after a protracted illness and was buried in Zaria. He was a highly respected gentleman who worked for 33 years in various capacity in the public service and he lived a simple and ascetic life.
Born in Makarfi LGA in 1926, late Dantsoho attended the traditional Islamiyyah school at the age of five. He was among the first in the area to have had the privilege of western education at the time. He attended elementary school at Zaria and started work at the Federal Livestock also in Zaria as a livestock attendant with specialisation on prevention and management of tsetse fly.
His job enabled him to stay at different places in the Northern Nigeria. He was at Suleja, Bida, Ringim, Gaya, among other places. My late biological father, Mallam Adamu Rasheed, also of blessed memory, was also in the same job with late Dantsoho, in fact they were mutual friends. They also had many things in common as they were very strong advocate of both Islamic and western education.
Agriculture was the pride of the North before the oil boom. Today, agriculture is not getting the desired attention from our governments, despite its tremendous importance. Last time, I was telling a friend, Mallam Hassan that our leaders are insensitive and we the followers confused. A gallon of groundnut oil is today more expensive than petrol, all due to our neglect of agriculture.
During his lifetime, Malam Dantsoho who was popularly known as Malamin Shanu, that is, cattle officer, made great contribution to his society. He was exposed to different places that made him to understand the fact that all human beings must be respected. He was fond of preaching moral values to the people. He said the underlying problem of the Muslim world is not the loss of worldly power or wealth, intellectual stagnation or political fragmentation but the loss of noble character.
Malam Dantsoho made sure that all his children attended both Islamic and western schools, and by God’s grace, today his first child is the present commissioner of Education in Kaduna State. He believed there can be no progress without education. His effort was not restricted to his wards but to any society wherever he found himself.
When he retired from the federal civil service in 1983, he was called upon by the Kaduna State government to serve in the Public Complaints Commission. He served diligently for five years, and was described by many as a sincere person. His concern and attention to problems that affected people was legendary. He was also very religious and was always concerned about the tenets of Islam and how the rules apply in different situations.
One thing that we must always remember is that death is inevitable and everything except the Almighty God of course will perish. Signs of death can be seen all around us. At funerals we see people who were once walking among us being buried in their graves. Therefore, hatred towards death and love of the world is the outcome of an ignorant person’s mind, who thinks that the happiest of this world is his prosperity and good fortune.
We must strive to leave a good legacy. Both late Usman Dantsoho and late Adamu Rasheed left this world poor. But they will always be remembered for their good intentions and their assistance to different people. They did not believe in accumulating wealth, which is common to our political office holders today. They only believed in educating their children and impacting knowledge. May God forgive them all their sins and usher them into paradise.
Ahmed Rasheed Makarfi wrote in from C3,Tudun Wada, Kaduna.