“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
This is the sentiment shared by the writer Shannon Adler. She might as well have been referring to the late, great Abubakar Boyi Dikko.
Born on January 4, 1956, he lived a life of distinction before his passing on February 22, 2019 to the great beyond. The reason his exit from this plane stings and remains an immense loss is inextricably linked to the iconic life he lived. A man of kindness, supreme class and sophistication, he was always a man close to all people regardless of class or status in society. A peace-loving man, as can be confirmed by a wide range of peers and colleagues, the former Attorney-General of the old Sokoto State (comprising present-day Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states) was recognised far beyond the shores of Nigeria.
Serving as the Deputy Attorney General of the Republic of Zanzibar, his astute nous was heralded far and wide before he returned to serve again as the Attorney General of Kebbi State in 2009 after a first stint in the same distinguished role back in 1991. In 1993 however, he founded the law firm of Dikko & Mahmoud, along with his close friend and former NBA President, A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, and set himself apart from the entire field with distinctive practice as well as a passion for monitoring several younger colleagues who have all gone on to become accomplished lawyers, judges and academic jurists.
To quote John Donne from his classic poem ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls,’ the loss of Alhaji Dikko is encapsulated in the line, “Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind….” His impact was so illustrious that he was a major player in the agricultural sector with stellar efforts to support pastoralism in the country. His contributions to education, health and mediation in disputes within pastoral communities have remained lauded by all and sundry across the land. He dutifully served as the legal adviser to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria. (MACBAN).
Beyond professional excellence, mentoring capacity and keen devotion to supporting the growth of agriculture in Nigeria, Alhaji Dikko was a lovely husband and loving father. He is survived by his widow, Hajiya Halima Dikko, a permanent secretary in the Kebbi State government and six children. He was indeed an uncommon leader in a country like Nigeria that is lacking selfless leaders. The cruelty of his passing on has not only diminished his family, friends, community and a multitude of Nigerians, but indeed, it has also diminished Nigeria as a country.
Nigeria today, like before, is a place of immense turmoil and unrest. A state of affairs that saddened him greatly while alive. Were he here with us, he would have remained consistently hard at work, providing a means of solving the myriad of issues that seem to be furiously dividing us as a people particularly the intractable farmer/herder imbroglio. This is why in his honour, the law firm of Dikko & Mahmoud, in conjunction with his friends, Professor Tijani Bande, president UNGA, Hajia Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary of the UN, Professor Attahiru Jega, former INEC chairman, Mr Buhari Bello, former executive secretary of NHRC, Engr M.U Zauro, M. Atiku Kigo and his family, decided to immortalise him by honouring him with a series of activities beginning with the annual Abubakar Boyi Dikko Memorial Scholarship which was awarded to the best 400 Level students of the Faculty of Law, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, last year. This was followed with the A.B Dikko Memorial Award for the Best Graduating Student in the English language subject at Government Secondary School Kebbi (formerly Nagari Science College) Birnin Kebbi) which is his alma mater. The highlight of these activities is a National Symposium to be held on February 22, 2020, commemorating the first anniversary of his death in Birnin-Kebbi.
The theme of the National Symposium relates to herder/farmer conflict. This theme is of great importance because Alhaji Diko, during his life time, was committed to issues that affect pastoralism and pastoral communities especially in the areas of education and mediation in disputes between herders and farmers.
It is hoped and expected that some of the outcomes of the symposium will include strategies and mechanisms that will engender and entrench lasting solutions to the seemingly unending herder/farmer conflict in Nigeria. This important occasion will be hosted by Governors Atiku Abubakar, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Mattawale of Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states respectfully as well as his former classmates like former governor of Bauchi State, M.A. Abubakar, Justice Abdu Aboki, the presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, Justice Nasiru Ajana, the Chief Judge of Kogi State, the chief Judges of Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa, as well as the president of the NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN, learned colleagues, representatives of government at all levels, farmers, members of Miyetti-Allah and members of the general public, to be present and learn from the life of the great icon.
A man who provided solutions in his time on earth has now given us a lasting reason to gather in his honour as well as simultaneously seek and achieve lasting solution for the nation we all hold dear to our hearts.
– Abdul-Rasheed is a Kaduna based legal practitioner.