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We have, indeed, as predicted the other day, started naming monuments and things after the late Malam Umaru: the road from the Abuja City Gate…

We have, indeed, as predicted the other day, started naming monuments and things after the late Malam Umaru: the road from the Abuja City Gate to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport shall bear his name, so will Katsina Airport. Good enough.

Let’s hear others out:

ADO AHMED: We lost a leader indeed. May ALLAH (SWT) in His infinite mercy grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and may Allah (SWT) grant his soul  eternal rest  in aljannat firdaus, amin.

UMARU WAKILI: Allah Ya jikan Umaru…now that he is gone both  those schemers are now satisfied…and on the irony of life, in death Mallam Umaru got more sympathy than in life.

IBRAHIM DOOBA: Beautiful tribute and a big ‘lauma’ for thought. Seeing that you are beyond using material without citing the source, should we assume that you penned the poem “Fun-for-Alls?” If you are that contemporary author, beautiful work! But if you are not, still beautiful work. [REPLY: The original paragraph for that poem read: “But a contemporary poet from  says these days funerals are really Fun-for-Alls.”]

BOB MAJIRIOGHENE: I like your article. Great work.

UMARU MUSA MAKARFI: May Allah rest the soul of our departed leader, Mallam Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. May Allah admit him to jannat firdaus.

MUSA AZARE: Since the death of Mallam Umaru, wallahi I have not been myself. The day of the janaza, I could not eat at all. I had so much hope in Mallam Umaru, but death has robbed Nigeria of this great leader. May he be admitted into paradise. I will personally miss Yar’Adua.

ABUBAKAR IDRIS BIRNIN KEBBI: Yar’Adua accepted flaws in the elections that brought him to power. That was honesty personified. He executed the Niger Delta Amnesty. That was a peace-maker. He started the dredging of the River Niger. That was a progressive person. He approved the banking reforms. That was revolutionary. He was really a humble servant of the people. He indeed was a good man. Allah Ya jikansa.

SEVERAL PEOPLE (THROUGH A VIRAL TEXT MAKING THE ROUNDS): Dear Lord! You took away many of my favourite people recently and Oh I so miss them. You took away my favourite actor [name] and my favourite musician [name] and my favourite politician [name]. Spare, O Kind Lord, my favourite retired general and leader [name]. He is my favourite. Amen.

Let us, again, return to the subject of elegies and dirges, perhaps the most impactful branch of poetry and song in any language. Elegy, as we saw from the examples last time, may denote a type of poetic or musical work, usually of a sad or somber nature. Many may remember the somber ‘Allah Jikan Ciroman Gombe’ (Elegy to Ciroman Gombe) sung in the 1970s by the late Hausa musician Mamman Shata wherein he had lamented:

Kowa yam mutu bai sauri ba

Mu da mu ke nan ba mu dade ba Sai mun zo Ciroman Gombe

(Whoever dies did not depart too fast

We that remain have not tarried too long

Till we come Ciroman Gombe)

For students of poetry, there is also that famous elegiac lament ‘Lycidas’ by John Milton (more famous for Paradise Lost). Milton penned ‘Lycidas’ in 1637 dedicated to the memory of Edward King, a college-mate of his at Cambridge who had been drowned when his ship sank in the Irish Sea off the coast of Wales in August of the same year. The final lines of the poem read:

And now the Sun had stretch’d out all the hills,

And now was dropt into the Western bay;

At last he rose, and twitch’d his Mantle blew:

To morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new

Then there was also ‘In Memoriam A.H.H.’ by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, completed in 1849. It is also a requiem for the poet’s Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam (hence AHH), who died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage in Vienna in 1833. It contains some of Tennyson’s most accomplished lyrical work and is widely considered to be one of the greatest poems of the 19th century. It took almost seventeen years to complete. The most frequently quoted lines in the poem are perhaps:

I hold it true, whate’er befall;

I feel it when I sorrow most;

‘Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

(The last two lines are usually taken, out of context, as offering advice on the dissolution of a romantic relationship. However the lines actually refer to the death of a beloved friend.)

Over in Arabia, there was Khansaa, the Great Arab Poetess of Elegy born Tumadar bint Amr (may Allah be pleased with her), who is counted among the Companions of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (upon whom be peace). She is reputed to be the greatest poetess of elegiac poems in Arabic Literature. She it was that lost four sons in the battle of Qadisia when Muslims took the Persian Empire not long after the time of the Prophet. She had lamented:

What have we done to you death that you treat us so, with always another catch?

One day a warrior,

the next a head of state;

charmed by the loyal,

you choose the best,

iniquitous,unequalling death.

I would not complain

if you were just.

But you take the worthy

Leaving fools for us.

 Leaving fools for and among us indeed! May the wise rest in peace, and may we find others to pray for us and sing our elegies, amin. Allah Ya jikan Mallam Umaru Ya jikanmu, amin. Curtains.



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