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Communal honour for Jigawa’s retired Justice Tijani Abubakar

On Monday, February 8, 2010, the community put together a send-forth party which was attended by the mighty. They included Governor Sule Lamido, the Emir…

On Monday, February 8, 2010, the community put together a send-forth party which was attended by the mighty. They included Governor Sule Lamido, the Emir of Dutse, former minister for Internal Affairs in the Second Republic, Senator Maitama Bello Yusuf, the new Chief Judge of Jigawa State, Justice Mukhtari Adamu, a former SSG of Jigawa State, Alhaji Umar Zandam and a host of friends, class mates, well wishers and many distinguished individuals from different walks of life.

According to the Chairman of Gwaram Local Government, Alhaji Bala Sule Kila, the reception was organized in order to rejoice with the retired judge for a successful tenure which he said made the ex-CJ an automatic ambassador of the community.

For Alhaji Ali Sarkin Shanu, the District Head, the retired judge was being received for being such a hard working and generous person who always did everything to support the weak among the people. He said they had witnessed the day he was appointed the state’s chief judge and were witnessing the day he was exiting, describing the day as historic, being the day “our entire community gathered to honor you as you did to them by your stewardship”.

Senator Bello Maitama Yusuf, a childhood friend, class mate and blood relation of the retired judge relived their school days. According to the Senator, Justice Abubakar was very good in mathematics unlike the Senator who fell to the temptation of copying (which the students of today have smartly re-named as girraffing) from him because they were sitting next to each other. But even then, the future judge had the presence of mind to chastise his friend and relation to stop it, first, by covering his script once he sensed what Bello Maitama was doing and second, by advising him formally to try harder. Maitama concluded by saying that Tijjani Abubakar is an honest, hardworking, brilliant and generous person who always sought to protect the weak.

Next on the floor was the Jigawa State Chief Judge, Mukhtari Adamu, who worked with the retired judge for over fifteen years. “He was my boss throughout these fifteen years and during my stay with him, he was a good man to me and to everybody he worked with,” said the judge. He insisted that Justice Tijjani’s contributions to the Ministry of Justice could not be over emphasized. Since creation on 27 August, 1991, the ministry had but almost nothing that could support the activities of the judges in the state, the CJ said, adding that there were no courts, no enough judges to run them and, of course, a lot of such problems that could have actually strangulated the development of the ministry. The emergence of the retired Abubakar as the state’s chief judge changed these state of affairs as he was able to navigate his way to get some of these things gradually to the point where the ministry is of the standard obtainable any where in the country. The CJ continued. First was his increasing the number of courts to sixteen magistrate courts and seventy two sharia courts. The retired judge also had institutionalized some committees that would help in the field of justice and these are the Public Complaints Committee and Justice Sector Reform.

Alhaji Ahmed Hassan Algarzali, an elder brother of the retiring CJ described him as a simple, honest and sincere person who always gave room to peace rather than a trouble maker or a quarrelsome person.

He, therefore, prayed for the retired judge. According to Algarzalli, Justice Abubakar was with them in the political struggle. He left them upon becoming a chief judge. “Now that he is out of service, we hope that the retired judge will come back to the struggle if the emir did not take him by giving him a traditional title”.

The former secretary to the Jigawa State Government, Alhaji Umar Zandam said there are two things about the retired judge. First, he is very simple. Second, the retired judge did not have any interest in being a judge or even a legal practitioner because his nature is such that he cannot impose severe punishment on those who deserve it, Zandam thought.

The proceedings marked by the hilarity occasioned by the testimonies was then broken with presentation of gifts to the retired judge by, among others, the chairman of Gwaram Local Government, Alhaji Inuwa Mai Gado, the head of businessmen in the local government, women leaders, each of whom presented either a horse or the Holy Quaran, babbar riga (big gown) and rosary.

But it was not the retiring CJ alone who was given gifts. Governor Sule Lamido was also given a beautiful horse called fari biyar (five white) presented to him by the head of the businessmen while a women association presented a traditional Fulani cap (malafa) and sword to mister governor. A very happy governor who saw the Fulani cap as a culturally significant couldn’t help but put on the cap and throw the sword over his shoulder in an instantaneous demonstration of his Fulani identity and culture, creating more laughter.

After the presentation of the gifts to the retired judge, Governor Sule Lamido was invited to make his remarks during which he said he and the judge share many things in common, such as patience. The governor told the story of how he and the judge used to be amateur footballers in those days in the course of which they were both involved in an accident. He has been a good ambassador for Gwaram people through out his service, Lamido said, charging Gwaram people to emulate the retired judge because getting such a person could be a bit difficult nowadays. He expressed the hope that the retired judge should join politics in order to help the younger generation.

Speaking immediately after Lamido, the Emir of Dutse, Dr Nuhu Mohammed Sunusi, expressed happiness over the reception and said that the history of Jigawa State would not forget the retired judge. The emir who was also a classmate of the retired judge, described him as a simple, humble person whose contributions were substantial.

Responding, the retired judge showed his appreciation for those who organized the reception and all those who contributed to the success of the ceremony. He equally said he was surprised by the accolades on him, maintaing that he did not know he possessed such qualities. He prayed Allah to help him maintain these qualities throughout his remaining life. A closing prayer brought the reception to a close.

Auwalu Mohammed is of the Media Unit of Government House, Dutse


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