The news of the passing away of the Late Alhaji Abubakar Ladan mni, on Friday, 14th January, 2022 came to me like a thunderbolt. I have been in Benin City since Sunday, 7th January, 2022 for a Board Meeting and later a retreat organized for members of the Board of the Igbinedion University Teaching Hospital (IUTH), Okada which took place in University of Benin Main Campus.
Before the meeting and retreat, I delivered lectures to the students of the College of Pharmacy in Igbinedion University, Okada (IUO) some fifty minutes off the Benin – Ore – Sagamu expressway. I was on my way again to IUO in Okada around 7:45am on that Friday and indeed by the University of Benin Main Campus gate when I read the sad news of the passing away of Alhaji Abubakar Ladan through the social media in my cellphone. I felt like throwing up.
I wanted to abort the trip, but realized that there was nothing I could do as my flight to Abuja was booked for 5:00pm on that day. I quickly reached out to Justice Munir Ladan, younger brother to the Late Alhaji Abubakar Ladan and also Alhaji Lawal Aliyu, a cousin and brother in-law of the deceased for confirmation, even though I never doubted the authenticity of the source of the news. Having cleared that I phoned my younger brother Abbas who is based in Kaduna and directed him to go along with Shu’aibu Inuwa Mora one of our nephews to attend the “Janaza” rites and represent our family – the late Dr. Abdurrahman Mora family.
I also got in touch with Brig. Gen. (Rtd) SK Usman, mni, the National Publicity Secretary of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) and broke the story to him. I later sent picture of the deceased and brief bio which were uploaded on the AANI platform.
This tribute is from my perspective as a younger brother of a sort and one who was privileged to have worked with the late Alhaji Abubakar Ladan, at close range within the Kaduna State Civil Service and had looked up to the late Alhaji Abubakar Ladan as a mentor.
However, much earlier, from around 1938, which is eighty four (84) years ago, the families of the late Alhaji Muhammadu Ladan Hunkuyi (Dan Iyan Zazzau) of blessed memory (1914 – 1970), who was the father of Alhaji Abubakar Lada,n and that of our father, the late Dr. Abdurrahman Mora, were joined by providence and the relationship has lasted all these years in mutual respect, dignity and fellowship with one another.
The late Alhaji Yusufu Ladan (Dan Iyan Zazzau) and District Head of Kabala, Kaduna (1935-2020), who was senior brother to Alhaji Abubakar Ladan wrote the Foreword to my book – “The Tenth of Ramadhan Lecture: A Convergence of the People of Zazzau for the Progress of Nigeria (3rd Ed) in November, 2014 and stated as follows – “Our late father, Alhaji Muhammadu Ladan Hunkuyi (Dan Iyan Zazzau) and the late Dr. Abdurrahman Mora were extremely close to one another since their days as teachers at the Zaria Middle School around 1938.
Indeed we were each other’s neighbours in Kofar Doka in the staff quarters of the old student’s hostel within the City wall. At that time, Zaria Middle School student’s hostel and staff quarters were like a city within a city. It was later that the hostel and staff quarter were transferred across the stream closer to the school to ease the student’s ordeal of trekking from the hostel uphill to the School at Kofar Doka. Our late father, being the senior of the two, first served from 1940 to 1948 as headmaster and Dr. Mora from 1950 to 1954…”
Our mother, the late Hajiya Aminatu Dikko (1926 – 2016) who was our father’s senior wife had narrated the cordial relationship that existed between the two families. Indeed she told me several times that the father of the late Alhaji Muhammadu Ladan was the “Sarkin Hunkuyi” and would come to Zaria on his horse on Fridays for Juma’a prayers in the Mosque within the Palace and would only stay in the “Zaure” of our house and say he had come to see his son (the late Dr. Mora, our father). Our late father would later enter the house of the late Alhaji Muhammadu Ladan Hunkuyi (Dan Iyan Zazzau) and inform him that his father, the “Sarkin Hunkuyi” was around.
At that time it was only our late senior brother and first child of our late father, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Mora (1941 – 2001) who was born. Indeed, Alhaji Yusuf Ladan (Dan Iyan Zazzau) proceeded in the Foreword under reference to state as follows – “The late Dr. Mora moved out of the City to Tudun Wada and built his personal house around 1953.
He died in 1997 but the wives he left are still living in the house. I occasionally lead all my brothers there to greet them. The late Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Mora, the eldest son of Dr. Mora was very close to all my younger brothers and we all grew up together in Kamacha Valley, Zaria City in the early 40’s. Alhaji ya jikansu da Rahama, Amin…” He concluded the Foreword with these nice words for me – “… the Wakilin Magani” is therefore a younger brother of mine and by writing this book he is only following the family tradition of scholarship. To dedicate the book to His Highness, Alhaji Shehu Idris, CFR the Emir of Zazzau is quite appropriate.
That was at father’s and grandfather’s level.
In early 1989 as the then Chief Pharmacist and Head of the Pharmacy Department of the now defunct Kaduna State Health Management Board (HMB), I was transferred to the Kaduna State Ministry of Health (MoH) as the State Chief Pharmacist. Alhaji Abubakar Ladan was the Director General in the Ministry.
However, at the time of my transfer, which had the approval of the then Military Governor of the State Col. (now Rtd Brig. Gen.) AS Mukhtar, Alhaji Abubakar Ladan was at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, near Jos as participant for the Senior Executive Course (SEC) (SEC 9) programme.
It was the former Director of Administration and Finance (DAF) in the Ministry, Mrs. Rose Ladi Lazzari that was the Acting DG. By the time the late Alhaji Abubakar Ladan had returned having concluded the SEC programme towards the end of 1989, I had acclimatized and fully taken over the Department of Pharmaceutical Services.
His return was to initiate my tutelage into the Civil Service and as a Civil Servant. I began to study him at close range albeit at official levels and not social or family levels. Alhaji Abubakar Ladan had fully prepared himself academically for his assignments.
With member of National Institute (mni) certificate, he was among the very few Civil Servants in Kaduna State to have been at the foremost Nation’s Institute. Earlier, he had taken a Postgraduate programme at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife) and among the very few northerners of his generation to have attended the University of Ife.
I marvelled at his mastery of Civil Service rules and regulations. I was highly impressed by the SEC programme in NIPSS Kuru and wanted to one day attend. As God would have it, twenty-one (21) years later and in 2010, I too attended the SEC Programme (No. 32). The learning process was just beginning. I was reporting to Alhaji Abubakar Ladan.
The minuting in files had to be correct – grammer, flow and all. I learnt from him how to prepare memos and we had them plenty from my Department for the National Council on Health (NCH) which Alhaji Abubakar Ladan always led the Technical team from Kaduna State in 1989, 1990, 1991. It was during his tenure as the DG in the MoH that the Federal Government initiated the concept of Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) Scheme in the country and directed State Governments to do the same in their secondary healthcare provider facilities. With his approval, I organized workshops for all the pharmacists and other healthcare professionals working in the State General Hospitals, the MoH and HMB to fully introduce the concept to them and started the implementation in phases among the hospitals in Kaduna State.
He was later transferred to the Kaduna State Ministry of Education as the DG.
Just before the administration of the late Alhaji Dabo Mohammed Lere as Governor of Kaduna State, he was appointed the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), and by that time I was the Director of Pharmaceutical Services (DPS) of Kaduna State. Twenty-one (21) years later, precisely in 2012, I would find myself as the foundation Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Kaduna State University (KASU), Main Campus, Kaduna.
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council was no other than Alhaji Abubalar Ladan. We were once again working together, myself from the University Management side and himself from the Governing Council. A trait that one can never take away from Alhaji Abubakar Ladan was his seriousness on all issues affecting his staff and relations. Despite our age difference, I became a regular visitor to his house in Kaduna along Ohinoyi Street in Unguwan Rimi GRA. The gate was always open. I one day asked him why? He smiled and said something to the effect of “whose money did I take that thieves would want to visit this house? …”
A particular situation that he showed his compassion to me was when as the Registrar and CEO of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), a certain Association started persecuting me with damaging newspaper publications. He phoned me and enquired to know what was going on. I was a participant at NIPSS that time. He directed that I should see him at a weekend which I did. He heard me out, offered advice and said he would be praying for me!!
Another occasion was at a wedding ceremony in our family house in Zaria and he was in attendance as usual, as at least one of the late Alhaji Muhammadu Ladan Hunkuyi’s children always attended events in our family house and vice-versa. He saved what could have been a very embarrassing situation. The Imam officiating almost committed a blunder in the pronouncements of the wedding knot and Alhaji Abubakar Ladan quickly interjected and corrected the situation.
I learnt from Alhaji Abubakar Ladan the practical expression of what was said to have been said by the late Premier of Northern Region Alhaj (Sir) Ahmadu Bello, the Sardaunan Sokoto in his famous – “Baka Iyawa, Baka Gamawa, Ba a Yabama”. This translates to something like, “…you cannot do it all (the work), you cannot finish it and you would not be praised.” At exactly 4:00pm he will drop his biro as DG! He never worked beyond 4:00pm and was always in the office at 8:00am. This I saw throughout my being the DPS in MoH, Kaduna reporting to him. He once said to me that one should always clear his table (of files) before leaving. No file ever spent a day on his table. At that time, there was Alhaji Aliyu Ladan, his brother in the Ministry of Health as well. The two of us were never given any preferential treatment by him.
It was the late Alhaji Shehu Ladan, one of his younger brothers who was at one time the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that was about the same age with myself among all the children of the late Alhaji Muhammadu Ladan Hunkuyi (Dan Iyan Zazzau). Myself and the late Shehu Ladan always played and cracked jokes severally, but with Alhaji Abubakar Ladan, it was senior and younger brother relation.
Many of the male children of the late Alhaji Muhammadu Ladan Hunkuyi had passed on during the last twenty (20) years or so. We lost Alhaji Iliyasu Ladan, Alhaji Shehu Ladan, Alhaji Yusufu Ladan (Dan Iyan Zazzau) and now Alhaji Abubakar Ladan, among the senior ones. May Allah grant them all “Aljannah Firdausi Amin”.
The relationship between the House of Alhaji Muhammadu Ladan Hunkuyi (Dan Iyan Zazzau) and that of our father, the late Dr. Abdurrahman Mora would forever be solidified. The late Alhaji Yusufu Ladan (Dan Iyan Zazzau) in his tribute in respect of our late father in the Book – “Abdurrahman Mora – The Life and Legacy of a Great Teacher (1997)” stated as follows:-
“When I was finally brought to Zaria elementary school (i.e. from Hunkuyi) Mallam Mora’s nephew, Inuwa Babba, became my playmate while his son, Inuwa Karami and my younger brothers used to keep us company, His wives were like my mother because they did not discriminate between me and my own younger brothers and sisters on one hand and their two Inuwas on the other. The relationship between my father and Mallam Mora was so cordial that they could pass not just as colleagues and/or friends but as brothers. They used to congregate in my father’s “Zaure” for prayers especially during the month of Ramadhan. They were always together at home, in school and even in sports. They were keen fives player. I used to go and watch them in those events on days that I had no Qur’anic lessons to attend …”
Alhaji Abubakar Ladan was a keen player of fives too. He never missed the game especially with the likes of Alhaji Adamu Yakubu, Alhaji Abba Danbatta and other friends during his playing days. He was survived by three (3) wives and nineteen (19) children.
May Allah grant him Aljannah Firdausi, Amin.
May his family be consoled for the excellent work he did for humanity and may they be guided and protected, Amin.
Ahmed Mora is a Pharmacist and sent this Tribute from Kaduna.