Exit of the Last of the Titans — A Tribute to Muhammad Shekarau Umar

Ahaji Muhammad Shekarau Umar, Magajin Mallam of Katagum passed away last Monday, June 4. His death jolted the whole community because he was the last survivor of the elders of old who distinguished themselves in public service, especially in Northern Nigeria.

An extremely religious person whose companion till his last breath was the Holy Qur’an. He was among the first set of Permanent Secretaries when Bauchi State was created in 1976 from North East. Baba Shekarau was appointed Head of Service around 1980 till 1984 in the 2nd Republic under Governor Tatari Ali.

He was made Chairman Bauchi State Civil Service Commission twice, one in 1986 and again in 2007 by the Military Government and Governor Isa Yuguda.

He was also Chairman Board of Directors of three banks namely, Allied, Savanna and Continental Merchant between 1990- 1995.

He was appointed Federal Permanent Commissioner, National Population Commission between 1996 to 1999 and was Perm Sec in various ministries namely, Trade Industries and Tourism, Works, Education, Agriculture and
Finance before he was made Head of Service in Bauchi State.

He Attended Katagum Elementary School, Bauchi Middle School, Clerical College Zaria, Institute of Admin, ABU Zaria, Torquey College UK , University of Lagos and Pittsburgh University Pennsylvania.

This is just a summary of some of the responsibilities given to him and his academic accomplishments. He was given a lot of authority because of his uprightness, moral authority, religious scholarship, infectious humility, dignity and respect for constituted authority which are too overwhelming for this material.

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He was a reservoir of knowledge who was always in the comfort of his house doing what he knew best, memorising the Holy Qur’an. You would never go to him without benefitting from his wisdom and historical references about even your own pedigree that you never knew about.

He was highly and hugely respected and his exit is really painful, bearing in mind that he was referred to as the Last of the Titans among the first generation of public servants in Nigeria who were domiciled and from our community. He is an irreplaceable commodity.

Thank you Magajin Mallam for the force of your personal example and goodwill. Thank you for being a reference point, a role model and a symbol of moral authority and ethical conduct.

Thank you, sir, for not giving up, giving in and giving out on our collective decency, honour and principles when it was expedient to do so.

Like I told his equally very reliable progeny, Tata Shekarau Omar, we are mourning his death because we are the ultimate losers of his absence due to the stabilising role he played in our society and his invaluable contributions in promoting and projecting our fading value system. He had proudly played his own part extremely well and his children should carry their heads high for having a father like him.

I believe we would all be proud of ourselves if, at the end of our lives, we are just a fraction of the human being that he was. Magajin Mallam was a man of all seasons and his life was well spent in the service of humanity and the Almighty God!!!

My condolences to his family, Katagum Emirate, Bauchi State and Nigeria as a whole for this incalculable and immeasurable loss.

Bello Mustapha ( Kogunan Katagum), writes from Abuja

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