By Nana Asma’u Gwadabe
I got a text yesterday morning carrying the sad news of the demise of Alhaji AbdurRahman Abba Jimeta, the Chief of Staff to Adamawa State Governor, Senator Muhammad Umar Jibrilla Bindow.
AbdurRahman Abba passed away in the holy city of Makkah early hours of Monday, as we mourn and pray for the beautiful soul of this amazing politician and mentor. I can’t help but thank Allah for making our paths cross over the last few years of my journey in Adamawa.
Earlier yesterday, after I received the news that Abba had passed on, I lost a small piece of my heart and in that moment when I realized that he is really not coming back, I discovered that one of the most important persons I have and held in high esteem is gone forever.
It has been said that as a general rule of thumb, there are at least five persons that one would meet during the course of their life that would have a lasting impact on them and for me, the late AbdurRahman Abba was one of these.
I first met Abba aboard Azman Air in December , 4th 2015 during my first official visit to Yola for a media tour with my colleagues. Governor Bindow had asked to me to check up on him as he will be our host in Yola until the governor arrived later that Friday.
My first work encounter with him convinced me that Governor Bindow has left me in good hands. Alhamdulillah for that privilege and honour of working with him.
As a boss, he was always there for me; coaching, mentoring, encouraging, and sometimes pushing me hard to keep up the good work of showcasing the developmental projects of our boss, Governor Bindow, to the world.
On one of my trips to Yola, one beautiful evening that will linger forever in my thoughts, Abba insisted it’s time for me to meet his family and he said to Governor Bindow, “Nana ta mu ce, Nana ta na kaunar mu, yau gidana zan kaita. Na hada ta da iyalina. Gidana ya zama gidanta a Yola”.
The visit to Abba’s family was a memorable one – I was hosted to an exotic array of dishes and showered with lots of gifts from his lovely wife And family. Who both urged me to feel at home and always come around as their home is now mine too. That instance further solidify a very good working relationship.
Subsequently, whenever Late Abba saw me at Governor Bindow’s reception waiting to see him as it is with the protocol, he will take my hands and walk me straight into the Governor’s office and his words were always, “Nana ke ba bakuwa bace.”
As time passes, we built a very good working relationship and he continued to mentor me and was never tired of listening to me tell him all about my work ventures and publicity adventures. He was one of the best listeners that I have ever known.
As a career politician, Abba was firm, calculative, straightforward and honest to a fault. His appointment as a Commissioner during Boni Haruna’s regime, Chief of Staff to Admiral Murtala Nyako and until his death, Chief of Staff to Governor Bindow too, is another testimony of his administrative acumen and political relevance in Adamawa State.
For me, he was simple and straightforward, to some he was tough and controversial but at the same time, gentle and encouraging. Each time I fly to Adamawa, I made it my priority to call or visit him in his office for update about my work in the state, and in such moments, his advice and guidance are priceless. I also loved his unique sense of humor, his ability to analyse quickly and offer words of wisdom, but most of all, I appreciated his fatherly counsels.
This soft, gentle and peace loving man was unique. His political ideologies will live on for many generations to come. His dedication and commitment to the cause of the good people of Adamawa will never be forgotten. Abba was one of the most selfless persons that I know. He was extremely modest despite his many political achievements and he never sought anything in return for his tireless efforts to make life better for his people.
Alhaji AbdurRahman, I will never forget you, I will always pray for you and I will always do my best to live up to your expectations. I promise to keep on fighting the good media fight. Thank you for having allowed me to be part of your political life and for having to help shape my career as a PR personnel. Allah Ya jikan ka da rahama. May you rest in Aljannatul Firdausi. Amin Ya Rahman.
Gwadabe is a media consultant and public commentator.