The multidimensional cumbersome challenges facing the masses and vulnerable populations in Nigeria nowadays demonstrate that there is an urgent need for impactful leadership and genuine servant-leaders whose hearts are filled with a broad sense of humanity, responsibility and optimism. This reminded me of a late French military commander and political leader, Napoleon Bonaparte who once said, “True leaders are merchants of hope”.
Beyond, the people of Katagum Emirates, situated at Bauchi North, are among the luckiest human beings on the earth because of being blessed with a philanthropic, peace-loving, good-listening, generous and responsible emir, in the person of Alhaji (Dr) Baba Umar Farouk II OON, who is always helping his people in their difficult times, more especially extremely poor individuals and vulnerable groups. This is why his people place him on a pedestal owing to how he makes every effort to improve their lives and ensure their well-being. A Jamaican singer, musician and songwriter, Bob Marley once said,” The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”.
This tender-hearted emir has a myriad of compelling noble attitudes that are absolutely worthy of emulation. For instance, people of his emirate, especially abandoned orphans, out-of-school children, and those patients who are incapable of paying their hospital bills, look upon Alhaji (Dr) Baba Umar Farouk II as their biological father because of how he plays a significant role in wiping their tears off whenever they found themselves in a difficult situation and showing them a very strong sense of belonging. This made me believe in a captivating quotation that says,” A leader in need is a committed leader indeed.
To begin with, since he became the 12th Emir of Katagum in 2018, he opened a door for receiving complaints from his poor people who are suffering from critical illness and do not have health insurance or are unable to be admitted to hospitals. He rescues their lives via paying their exorbitant hospital bills. Countless pauperised people, who do not have funds to pay for their serious diseases, such as orthopedics, trauma, cancer, diabetes surgeries, and Cesarean delivery or Cesarean Sections (CS) for pregnant women, cannot forget how an empathetic soul of the emir saved their lives.
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For instance, one day, when the emir was on his way to his palace, he saw a handicapped pretty girl on a triangle bicycle. He ordered his driver to stop the car and told his secretary that whatever it would cost, he must ensure that the girl could stand on her two feet and walk. A few months after conducting orthopedic surgery or bone fracture repair on her two legs at the Federal Medical Centre Azare, the girl, known as Ummi in the western Matsango ward here in Azare town, has now started walking on her two repaired legs and even returned to her school. Becoming a midwife is said to be the biggest dream of this pretty girl.
Secondly, the Emir of Katagum is among Nigeria’s peace advocates as he always moves heaven and earth to nurture peaceful co-existence and concrete unity between Muslims and Christians across his emirate with a view to paving the way for fostering and actualising the aims and objectives of the United Nations and future stability of the world. For instance, during the courtesy visit the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) paid to HRH in his palace last year, the emir had said to them,” I plead with you to become true God-sent agents of promoting sustainable peace as religious leaders are responsible for building peace. We wish to tell you that apart from uniting adherents of Christianity in Nigeria, the second objective of forming the CAN on 27th August of 1976 was to make peace reign in the country by settling ethnic or religious crises as well as creating understanding for various communities across the country.
Thirdly, the tender-hearted emir set up a committee in his emirate responsible for cooking and distributing two square meals of nutritional food along with pure water for the teeming starving children, orphans, almajirai, and those who took refuge in the emirate as a result of Boko Haram insurgency or banditry in front of his palace every morning. This good mindset of embracing standard acts of philanthropy of the emir cannot be underestimated towards throwing his weight behind the UN’s zero hunger vision.
On the other hand, the wife of the emir, Hajiya Bintu Umar Farouk (Gimbiyar Katagum), is not left behind for embracing the act of humanity as she considers education as the unmatched vehicle for social mobility. This is why she built a free primary school for orphans, children with disabilities and other out-of-school children known as the Katagum British-Islamic Academy, Azare. People nickname the school in the Hausa language as “Makarantar Marayu” meaning: Orphans’ school.
Fourthly, the soft-hearted emir is indeed an advocate of showing love and affection for children in order to make them feel secure, motivate them to focus on their daily activities such as learning, which leads to creativity, makes them emotionally happier, and melt away their stress, depression and anxiety. This is the reason why after Juma’at prayer every Friday, his palace is flooded with children. The emir’s noble deportment is absolutely building a brighter future for the masses’ children, children with disabilities and orphans.
Finally, we implore the Almighty Allah, who preordained all affairs of this universe and wrote them on his Preserved Tablet, to have mercy on us and grant our considerate emir more years in good health and long life so as to continue serving vulnerable populations in his emirate ameen.
Azare writes from Bauchi State ([email protected])