Last week my family, Katsina state, Arewa and Nigeria lost a great example of leadership, honor and excellence. Mallam Abidu Yazid who was the chairman, Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, was 79 when he passed around 6am on the 22nd September 2022. He was born in Yelwa of Maiduguri on 30th April 1943.Through the example of his life, he influenced so many in the most pious and noble way. With his death, Nigeria has truly lost a treasure.
Baba Abidu was born in 1943 to Malam Muhammadu Yazid and was the grandchild of Wazirin Katsina Malam Muhammad Zayyan.
My uncle, an economist by profession, was an epitome of greatness. During the course of his career, he rose to become permanent secretary, Secretary to the Kaduna State Government and Head of Service after which he ventured into business with his cousin, (late) Alhaji Hamza Zayyad (Wazirin Katsina). After turning down several government appointments, in 2021, he was appointed the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin. Prior to his passing, he was involved in the reconciliation effort between ASUU and the Federal government.
While working in the Ministry of Economic Planning in the, then, North Central State and then later in Kaduna State, Baba Abidu was responsible for creating the first Development Plan in the north central state, which was voted as the best in the country by the Gowon administration. As a result of which he was nominated to be part of the team of rebuilding the southern states affected by the Biafran war. Kaduna state is currently implementing and benefiting from the development plan he designed which led to a library being named after him.
Baba Abidu was successful in all ramifications of life. He was a prominent and wise voice. He made a huge impact on anyone that came into contact with him. He was kind, carried himself with a assured posture and possessed the kind of generosity of spirit that our forefathers had.
As people, the way we live our lives becomes a discernable countenance of the condition of our heart. What people saw from interaction with Baba Abidu, day in and day out, was benevolence, decency, grace, and wisdom.
Mallam Abidu Yazid leaves us a solid message of service, virtue, duty and solidarity. His life was a model of integrity, kindness, simplicity, humility, piety and charity. He was part of the incorruptible generation and popularly known for his stern defense of his honor and principles.
Death is painful; however, death taking a precious jewel like Baba Abidu is more painful. He was a man with a good heart who cared so much about his community and contributed to its development. He was a great personality; intelligent, discerning, attentive, and full of knowledge. His philanthropy took a lot from his personal family to give to charity which saw him give service to the needy on a daily basis.
His love for knowledge inspired so many around him. Losing a person to the cold hand of death is not easy; talk more of writing a tribute in honor and respect for such a person. Having to write a tribute to Baba Abidu is painful but at the same time, it allows me to further celebrate him even in death. I celebrate his dedication to the right standard of life and commitment to the moral value which had resulted in a fulfilled life for him and many more he influenced.
The news of Baba Abidu’s death is very sad. Nigeria shall miss him, with his warmth of spirit, his ability to talk about duty to country, faith and the prayer life, which brings God so close to us. At the same time we give thanks to Allah for the wonderful examples and memories Baba Abidu leaves us: his commitment to daily prayer and his selfless duty to his beloved country. He will be deeply missed in our efforts to build national peace, and a just, caring and equitable Nigeria.
During the cause of his life, he never ceased to remind us that the greatest poverty of all is to live and to die without faith, with no integrity and unloved. The simplicity of his lifestyle will serve as an example for generations to come. Believing in the power of Allah’s grace, which directed his life, each of us, relying on the same grace, can reach so many of the achievements that he achieved.
Baba Abidu’s life proved that the only real revolution in human affairs flows from service to others and self-sacrifice out of love for country and unconditional devotion to The Almighty. He was the genius of the little way of doing great things.
Baba Abidu’s brilliant and good work will always be remembered but more deeply still, we will remember the abundance that shone from within him and his service for his beloved country; service that was fueled by absolute dedication to His Maker.
Baba Balambalam (Balloon), as he was known by his grandkids was especially close to them and made time to play with them on a daily basis. He enjoyed photography, riding motorcycles to tour his environs and spending time on his farms where he experimented with different farming methods. Most of all he enjoyed reading his Quran which gave him peace of mind. Around his 50th wedding anniversary, his wife mentioned how she saw him read his Holy Quran every single one of the 50 years they had been married.
Summing up his life, those who knew him will always reiterate and come back to one thought; Never will you meet a man who more faithfully lived his values. His kind was rare. He was a teacher of all things. He taught by example. His character is the foundation of the conscience of many of those who came into contact with him, who worked with him and who were part of his life. His teachings are endless. He was strong in body, in spirit, and in commitment. He fulfilled every obligation he ever undertook. His word was his bond. He was loyal. His faithfulness to the people he interacted with during his lifetime could be seen in the way he steadfastly maintained ties with anyone he ever knew. He had a quiet dignity, respecting himself the way he respected others. Although he is no more, today, however, we have the privilege of celebrating someone who epitomizes leadership; someone whose life reflects a heart of service and commitment to faith, family, friends, and certainly those who strive to follow his example.
The memory of the righteous is blessed so while he may be gone, his memory will remain with us because of the great imprint he leaves in our hearts.
Baba Abidu lived a good life, he invested his life into many people. He is worthy of emulation in every respect of good works and service to humanity. I feel so privileged to have been related to him. Some days to his death, he spent time with my own father, Alhaji Musa Musawa, where they talked and caught up. This brought great comfort to my father, and I am so grateful to him for that.
He makes Katsina proud and he will always make Nigeria even prouder. He will not soon be forgotten. His reward will be great in Heaven. We pray for him and for those who knew him.
Mallam Abidu Yazid is survived by 15 grandchildren, 3 wives (Fatima Abidu Yazid, Rakiya Abidu Yazid and Fatima J. Yazid), 5 children (Zarah Yazid, Abdulhalim Yazid, Hauwa Yazid, Halima Yazid and Sakina Yazid). Priviously he had lost a son, Sheriff Yazid (late).
To all who loved him; his staff, assistants, neighbors, colleagues, admirers, friends and family:
“May the Almighty reward you and help you to apply patient endurance and appreciation. Indeed our spirit, possessions and families are magnificent gifts, which God has loaned us for a period and he takes them away after the termination of that period. Gratitude becomes necessary when He gives, and patience is mandatory when He takes. Mallam Abidu Yazid, your boss, neighbor, friend, colleague, brother, father, husband and son was from among that great gift which God allowed you to enjoy in a way that was fortunate and gratifying. Although you loved him, his place is with his maker now. As he has gone home, it is your duty to show patience in his death and gratitude for his life.
May the Almighty augment your recompense, be kind in your misfortune, forgive the deceased, encourage you with endurance and give you peace. I pray you have the fortitude to bear his loss.”
As we witness another twilight for Nigeria and the death of another patriot, I pray that God forgives and has mercy on the soul of Mallam Abidu Yazid and makes honorable his reception. May Allah keep him safe and sound, protect the place where he has rested and make his entrance wide; bless him for his good deeds and surround him with a garden filled with beauty. May he receive the gentle blow of a cool breeze, be washed with snowflakes, ice, sleet, water and everything pure and cleansed of sin as a white cloth is purified perfectly. I pray Allah admits him to Paradise and may his grave be spacious and filled with light: Amen.