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Farida Mohammed-Gana: A rare gem

How else will I describe the ill-fated Wednesday May 1, 2013, when you (Aunty Farida) bade us farewell to embark on condolence visit on your…

How else will I describe the ill-fated Wednesday May 1, 2013, when you (Aunty Farida) bade us farewell to embark on condolence visit on your late uncle, only to get involved in a ghastly motor accident that instantly claimed your life.  A public holiday meant for leisure and relaxation, suddenly etched the darkest memory in the families of Late Alhaji Abdulkadir Gana, Emir of Katagum (HRH) Alhaji Kabiru Umar, and DCP Immgr. (Rtd.) Alhaji Abdulkadir Mohammed.
Still fresh in my memory sometimes in 2011 when mother called my attention to the fact that Muhammed (my elder brother) is biting more than he can chew.  She said to me in Nupe; “your brother is stretching his arm beyond his reach, courting the daughter of an Emir.  He should at least consider my status as a poor widow.  How does he expect me to cope with royalty in my humble home…?”  I listened patiently and later responded: “Mother, if the girl in question did not mind his status and family background, then she must be a princess with a difference.”   I encouraged her to pray ALLAH (SWT) for the best.
How right I was. Or should I say I underestimated your deferential personality?  Aunty Farida, you turned out to be the most humble, wonderful and humane royalty I have ever met.  A rare gem; an embodiment of humility, love, kindness and indeed modest to the core.  You were always full of smiles, friendly, easy-going, very accommodating  and most humble character for the royalty that bore you.
I met you for the first time at the Murtala Mohammed Square in Kaduna during your NYSC passing out parade in July 2011, which I attended on account of my younger brother Abdullahi (whom you fondly call ‘karamin maigida’) passing out in the same batch with you.  The simplicity you displayed that very day made me marvel at your person, and I was prompted to confirm again from Muhammed if truly you were of a royal blood.
No sooner did Muhammed introduced us that we immediately became friends.  At that time, Muhammed was putting up in a single room. Neither did you mind all, nor did you consider us less to you status, as you spent quality time with us for over six hours chatting, watching movies, and even ate from the same plate with me.
Although ALLAH (SWT) did not destine your marriage to last up to one year, the 11 months and 12 days you were married into the Abdulkadir Gana’s family was like decades of acquaintance. The easy going person you were, you immediately warmth yourself into everybody’s heart; a rare personality for royalty but of which ALLAH (SWT) had gifted you for the special being that you are. Blessed with so many relations and acquaintances, your marriage into our large family further expanded your family cycle.  By your ingenuity, however, you carried everybody along, made everyone feel loved and important.
We all marvel at your show of discipline. Never for once did you look up at your mother-in-law; you never sat on the same height with her.  Whenever she is seated on a chair, you would instantly go down on the bare floor.  You were quick to absorb Nupe moral values, although you were   Hausa-Fulani.
Since I have known you, no single day passed-by without you mentioning your mother ‘Baba’ Amina Mohammed Abdulkadir, whom you extolled so much as your mentor, a mother who nurtured you to become what you are.  But nature complements nurture to make for a disciplined, brilliant  and gorgeous personality which Aunty Farida possessed.  As ‘Baba’ Amina would corroborate favorable comments about her daughter, she reminiscences on your childhood and growing up, attesting to the fact that you were always compassionate and highly obedient. “Haka ta ke, Farida ba ta da kiwuya…” she exclaimed in Hausa.  A trait you lived to exhibit all your life, an attribute you allowed to rule over your person, which has earned you much love, respect and admiration from everyone who knew you, and many who only heard about but never met you in person.
Not only were you a pride to your parents, a fabulous daughter-in-law to the Abdulkadir Ganas, you were an archetype of the best companionship in a wife.  In thesedays and time, how many a lady desires to marry an average earner, or marry for the decency and piety of a man?  But you Aunty Farida, left behind affluence, luxury, comfort, capped with royalty of the  Katagum Emirate to be a part of an average, but a most decent, modest and highly revered family of late Alhaji Abdulkadir Gana of Tsonga town.  Indeed, a righteous woman you were to have imbibed the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), loving and marrying Muhammad for his pious and modest character, who would ordinarily be considered a ‘Peasant’ in contrast to your Royalty.
To your husband, you were more than his better half – a best friend and most sincere lover.  With every parental luxury and comfort at your beckon, you were always appreciative of whatever he had to offer you, constantly praying, “Na gode, ALLAH ya kara arziki.”  He was your “Baby” and you were his “Babe” – pet names you fondly called each other.  He loves you so much, and the most you loved him.  Many a times when you were asked why you married Muhammed, you always proudly responded; “I married for love”.   This you affirmed in your marvelous expression on his last birthday thus: “Dearest Mo…you are indeed the best thing and person that has been in my life since I met you.  May ALLAH (SWT) Guide, Bless and Protect all days of your life and Hereafter… with Love Mrs. Moha”
A good wife is not a woman who desires mundane and worldly success for her husband, but that supportive companion who enjoins her man to do righteous deeds, and encourages him to be kind to others to earn the favours of ALLAH (SWT).  That is Aunty Farida for you!  Due to your immense compassion, sympathy  and concern for people, you encouraged Muhammed to always fend for the less privileged; an act he took up   and still practises.  You were a very good friend to your neighbours; the entire neighbourhood is mesmerized by your meekness, benevolence and generosity.
Only ALLAH (SWT) has knowledge of ‘Ghaibu’ (the unknown) and ranks status for HIS servants, otherwise I would have concluded ‘you are a chosen one’.  How else will I explain the fact that almost everybody felt an intuition and very strong presence of you, prior to the devastating incident of your demise.  As if foretold, many were recounting your good natured attributes few hours to the unfortunate accident.  Even in far away USA, just one day to your demise, your sister (Aunty Zainab)’s children took your pictures to school for a class-project, and marked you Aunty Farida, as their most beloved Aunt; one whom they missed most dearly.
Indeed Aunty Farida, you had your shortcomings and was fallible for the human that you were.  Like an Islamic scholar once admonished, if ALLAH (SWT) means well for HIS (SWT) servant whose good nature outweighs his/her shortcomings, in death people will view such fellow as one who had never committed any wrong throughout his/her life time.  Such is the tribute of many to Aunty Farida!
Few years ago did I compose this poem which I have only shared with a special friend,  but on this day, I will make it public in honour of the astonishing and outstanding Anty Farida.

ENERGIZER FALLS SHORT
Lush green vegetation amidst foggy, cool atmosphere heralds the much awaited season of Abundance.

With the sun beaming behind the clouds, confetti of flying little termites envelope the surrounding in cheer to a new dawn.

Streams gush forth in awe, carrying with them seasonal debris and the anguish of Thirst.

Ponds get replenished, covered with water-lily which spread its leaves wide, with white flowers sparkling as the stars.

Frogs croak in delight, bird chirp happily; snails, crabs, worms, insects all crip about in contentment.

Butterflies add exuberance to the endowed colourful flowers, exuding glory and emitting fragrance into the air.

The world virtually comes alive in split seconds with the miraculous touch of RAIN.

Does this magnificent display of splendor in the beauty of creation abide forever?!

Lo!  Everything gradually withers away with the wake of time…
The Energizer always falls short…

Such is the nature of worldly life in all its sphere; nothing abides forever!

Born on   May 14, married on   May 19, and parted this   world on   May 1,  is a rare coincidence indeed; although of Gregorian calendar.  We feel deeply touched by your demise; an incident which will forever remain fresh in our memory.  To think that we overheard your sumptuous voice over the phone, cheerful and full of life that very morning only to receive a most devastating news moments later, is the most shocking and heart retching experience of our lives.  But we take solace in ‘INNA LILLHI WA INNA ILLAIHI RAJIUN’, and in the fact that ALLAH (SWT) loves you most.  What more comfort could we ask of ALLAH (SWT) as your passing was of a righteous deed; an attempted to pay condolence on the dead which is a sole duty of every Muslim on a fellow Muslim.
As you humbled yourself before everyone, we pray ALLAH (SWT) favour you with the highest of ranks in Al-Jannat Firdausi (Amin).  For us whom you left behind, we pray that ALLAH (SWT) bestow upon us good ending, and favourable tributes as HE (SWT) has blessed you with.  My sincere condolence to your beloved husband Mohammed Abdulkadir Gana, (Mr. Mo), ‘Baba’ Amina A. Mohammed, HRH Alhaji Kabiru Umar, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulkadir, Aunty Fatima, Aunty Zainab, Aunty Lami, Uncle Boyi, Uncle Muttaka, Uncle Muslim, Aunty Asma’u, Salma, Yusuf, Sani, the Abdulkadir Gana family, and the Entire Katagum Emirate.
Rest in peace Aunty Farida, we will miss you most dearly.

 

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