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Abdulrauf: Exit of a dutiful fellow

By Dr Aliyu U. Tilde   The story of my column, Friday Discourse, which I used to write between 1999 and 2003 and indeed of…

By Dr Aliyu U. Tilde


The story of my column, Friday Discourse, which I used to write between 1999 and 2003 and indeed of Weekly Trust will not be complete without the mention of a then young chap, Abdulrauf Musa, who used to do the formatting work for the weekly newspaper. 

Maintaining a weekly column those days was hectic. We needed heroes like Abdulrauf. The Page had three heroes. He was the first—and now, sadly, the first to go home. 

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If you have enjoyed those fearless and bluntly frank articles, you owe this nice man a debt. He used to hustle so much to receive them. Please find a second to pray for his soul. 

The week’s article used to reach him via different channels. Many a times, if it was so pressing and to avoid failure, I would send my junior brother, Mansur, with the article on a diskette to Kaduna from Tilde by Taxi. The return trip used to cost N1,500. 

On a good day, the email would suffice. That was when it had to go through a landline telephone connection at my office at Katako Junction in Jos to a server—Scannet, if I remember—in Ibadan before returning North to hit Abdulrauf at that 3-bedroom house which served as headquarters of the paper either at Katuru Close or Alkali Road earlier, both in Kaduna. 

Sometimes, when in Bauchi, from the office of my best friend, Habu Mamman, where I would write the article amidst the office traffic and the sound of his recorder playing Ethiopian jazz, I would be lucky to send it through his Fax machine after uncountable trials with my heart in my mouth. 

On all occasions, Abdulrauf would be there to promptly receive it, process it—including retyping it when it comes by Fax—format it with Pagemaker on page no. 14, amidst his other duties of the day. He used to work the keyboard extremely fast and left the office only for prayer. They were many in that bedroom turned office, including Farooq Kperogi (now Oga Prof) and Aisha Yusuf—the wife of the Editor and writer of the famous Al-Bint Diary. Everyone was busy. 

Then on Saturday, the readers would rush to the stand and pick a copy. We never failed, despite the difficulties of that time because the foremost hero of Page 14—Abdulrauf—was there. Without his dedication, all my efforts would have failed. 

I am happy that the editor, Kabiru Yusuf—the second hero of the page—saluted us many times on how far we go to ensure that we did not fail our readers, especially the human courier, Well, Abdulrauf was the reason behind that success. 

He died young, perhaps in his mid-forties after battling with diabetes for long.

He used to mistakenly call me Malam. I now forgive him for that wrong nomenclature. The Trust should remember him as well as its readers especially when the Weekly Trust was the only stable newspaper in the North.

I pray God rewards Abdulrauf with his best deeds, join him with the righteous in Heaven, beside Him, the Able King. 

I just spoke to his family. May God grant them the strength to bear the loss.

Dr Tilde is Bauchi State Commissioner for Education

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