There is a saying that; “there is a lesson in everything” and so is it with the death of Rt. Honourable Ahmed Ali Gulak. Personally, the lesson I picked from his death is that none of us can escape the circumstances God has destined of one’s deaths.
His death reminded me of a parable told of an incident in the Court of Prophet Sulaiman (AS). It was said that a young, pious man used to attend the Court of Prophet Sulaiman (AS). During one of the court sessions, the Angel of Death entered the gathering in human form. Upon seeing the angel, the young man’s face turned yellow and he trembled with fear and throughout the stay of the Angel of Death in the Court, the young man was restless. Immediately the Angel left, the young man said, “O Prophet of Allah, I am afraid of that man please cause the wind to take me to India.”
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Prophet Sulaiman (AS) obliged the request and the young man was taken to India by the wind. Shortly afterwards, the Angel of Death came back to Prophet Sulaiman (AS) in amazement.
Prophet Sulaiman (AS) asked the Angel of Death reason for his astonishment. The Angel of death informed the Prophet that when he came earlier, he saw a young man that he had been ordered by Allah to take his soul that day but in faraway India. The Angel told Prophet Sulaiman (AS) that he left the Prophet’s Court in order to accomplish the commandment of God, of taking the soul of the young man in India. The Angel of Death explained that he was surprised that upon reaching where to take the young man’s soul, he found the young man there and he took his soul as commanded. Prophet Sulaiman (AS) explained to the Angel of Death how the young man became disturbed and requested for the wind to carry him away to India.
I don’t know how true the story was, but it resembles how death pulled Rt. Honourable Gulak to Owerri.
When the time and venue of the Public Hearing by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Review was fixed, the consultants were requested to indicate their centre of preference, with a caveat that there would only be two consultants for each centre. I chose Kaduna, for obvious reason, and I observed majority of the consultants somehow chose the centre covering their state of origin. Rt. Honourable Gulak too, indicated his preference for Gombe Centre but he was told by the lead consultant that Gombe was full.
When he was told that Gombe was full, his reply was; “Well, I leave it to your discretion. But the learned silk should please let me know where I am to go in time to prepare.” He was then told he was going to be posted to Sokoto and he accepted with no objection. But when the posting was out, his name appeared in Jos. I guessed he might have privately spoken with the lead consultant. The posting came out just a few minutes after 11pm on a Friday.
At exactly 11:36 the following morning, Rt. Honourable Gulak, having seen the posting on the consultants’ platform, observed that nobody was posted to Owerri. He then wrote; “Good morning Lead. I observed that nobody wants to be in Owerri, Imo State. Why?” I replied with laughter emojis and added that; “the reason is obvious sir.” Then Mr. Ahmed Raji SAN in his characteristic jovial manner also said; “I humbly propose Alh. Ahmed Gulak to head Oweri team.” Rt. Honourable Gulak replied immediately; “I have no problem with that if the learned silk lead consultant approves.” Then the lead consultant replied thus; “With great pleasure Sir. Do I assign you to Owerri then?” Mr. Gulak reply was; “Please do my learned silk. We are all Nigerians. Little challenges should not work against our progress.”
It was with the above conversation that fate pulled Rt. Honourable Gulak to Owerri. Unknown to him and to all of us, the Angel of Death had been ordered to take his soul in Owerri.
As one of the young members in the team of consultants, I felt challenged by the Rt. Honourable Gulak’s sense of patriotism. As an upcoming politician and believer in one Nigeria, I felt ashamed with my name remaining in Kaduna while Rt. Honourable Gulak was going to Owerri. I thought I had no moral justification to go to Kaduna with other two resourceful consultants while Rt. Honourable Gulak would be in Owerri alone. I felt I had a duty to go to Owerri as back up to Rt. Honourable Gulak.
I therefore called my wife to consult her on the decision I wanted to take. With her no objection approval of my decision, I requested a change of my posting to Owerri. When the change was affected, I called Rt. Honourable Gulak in order to arrange for the journey to Owerri and he gave me time to come to his office for us to conclude the arrangement. A very nice and moderately rich law firm located in Wuse II. When I said that to him, his reply was “it was politics that took us away from practice many of our juniors are now SAN.” At the end of my mission in his office, he did what amazed me the most about his personality.
The chambers is a two storey building and Rt. Honourable Gulka’s office is on the 2nd floor, but he escorted me down to the car park. That was quite amazing. Here was a man who became a lawyer while I was in primary school. I was in secondary school when Rt. Honourable Gulak became the Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly. He was also a former Special Adviser to the President of this country. For a person of such calibre to be that humble was amazing and humbling for me. But I think there is something remarkable with Adamawa State born lawyers-cum-politicians. They remain humble despite their achievements. Malam Nuhu Ribadu, Prof. Tahir Mamman and late Rt. Honourable Gulak are my testimonials on this.
As the day for public hearing draw nearer, two incidents instilled fears in me with respect to the Owerri journey. IPOB terrorists bombed a police station and INEC office in Ebonyi and Enugu states. I therefore became afraid as there might be a possible attack of the venue of the public hearing in Owerri. I brought up the topic with Rt. Honourable Gulak but he appeared not perturbed by that. He assured me that there was going to be adequate security. When eventually I decided not to go to Owerri, I couldn’t muster the courage to tell Rt. Honourable Gulak. I therefore reached out to the lead consultant and requested that I should be redeployed to Kaduna.
The news of his death was broken to me by my wife. I was in Kano for a wedding when she called me around 11.30am and broke the news. My wife was shocked and was not herself throughout the day. Inalillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon!
Rt. Honourable Gulak died in the most unfortunate manner. He was destined to die by the bullet of the terrorists so it must be. Otherwise, he would have remained in Abuja and died peacefully on his bed. Rt. Honourable Gulak had outstanding meals of about six days in Owerri, as such he had to be there to take them.
As Muslims, we take solace in the fact that he died a martyr. And our prayer to Allah is to accept his soul as a martyr and grant him the most exalted paradise -Al Firdaus. May the Almighty bless the wife and the children he left behind.
And contrary to insinuation, Rt. Honourable Gulak was in Owerri for national assignment. He went to Owerri out of his sheer love for the unity of this country. His innate conviction for the progress of this country made him to lose his life in the hands of terrorists who have no regard for sanctity of human life and whose main aim is the destruction of this country. May Allah forgive his shortcomings.
Sunusi Musa Esq, writes from Abuja