Thousands of sympathizers have continued to troop to the residence of Kaduna-based TV series actor, Alhaji Usman Baba Pategi, popularly known as Samanja Mazan Fama, who passed away at the age of 84 in Kaduna.
The Kaduna-based popular TV series actor died around 12:15am on Sunday at Garkuwa Hospital, according to his family.
The octogenarian was popular with the TV series titled ‘Samanja Mazan Fama’, which brought joy and laughter to many homes in the 80s and parts of the 90s, especially in northern Nigeria.
The programme was aired on NTA Network and FRCN Kaduna. He also took part in other drama series aired on the same radio station.
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He was nicknamed Samanja, which was the short form of Sergeant Major, because of the popular TV show programme, ‘Samanja Mazam Fama.’ Other TV and radio shows he featured in included ‘Malam Jatau na Albarkawa,’ ‘Ka bani ka baka’ and ‘Duniya Budurwar wawa’, among others.
The popular programme, Samanja Mazan Fama, which brought him to the limelight, was a play about barracks life and how influential his character’s wife in the play ‘Bariki’ was. In the play, he abides by his wife’s orders, particularly when soldiers in the barracks misbehaved, and never hesitates to deal with them. The veteran actor briefly served in the military, which made him perform the role of the Sergeant Major perfectly after joining the FRCN Kaduna.
Some of his contemporaries in the drama shows in those years were people like Aishatu Ali Bardoni, Aishatu Kwankiyal, Danjuma Mohammed (Mutuwa Dole), and Kwatakore, among others.
His funeral prayer was led by Malam Muhammad Auwal Abdallah at the Kabala Costain Mosque with hundreds of people in attendance, among them the late actor’s contemporaries, people like Danjuma Muhammed (Mutuwa Dole) and Kwatakore.
He was a great man and role model to many – Danjuma Mutuwa Dole
Danjuma Muhammad, popularly known in the Samanja Mazan Fama TV Programme as Mutuwa Dole, described the late Usman Baba Pategi’s death as a big loss to the country.
“I worked under him at Radio Kaduna and also in the TV show. I discovered he respected everybody without discrimination. He respected his seniors, his peers and his juniors.
“He was a role model to many because he was not a wicked man and was never envious of your success. He was a gifted person, very committed and dedicated to his work. He was always writing issue-based scripts to educate the public on important issues because he loved entertaining people,” he said.
According to Mutuwa Dole, the late Pategi always wanted to do something to educate the people, to make them do the right thing in society and always wanted to put his juniors on track.
“He was more than 80 years; and I’m about 70 years old, but I still regard him as a father because of his readiness to assist where necessary. He will be remembered by us for his good legacy.”
He was not into drama to make money- FRCN Zonal Director
The Zonal Director of Federal Radio Corporation Nigeria, Kaduna Alhaji Buhari Auwalu, said the late Usman Baba Pategi was not into drama to make money but to educate people about barracks life.
“Making money out of drama was not his primary concern; his primary aim was to educate and entertain people on the realities of happenings in the barracks.
“I have never seen him angry, and if it was money he was looking for, he had greater opportunities because he came into contact with many big men through the drama. So, if it were money he was looking for, he would have become a very rich man. But that was not his training; the training was to earn from a legitimate source and not belittle himself.” Buhari said.
We’ll remember his legacy – children
Mohammad Usman, one of his sons, said their father left behind two wives and 12 children. He said the children would remember their late father for the good legacies he left behind.
He explained that their late father did a lot of positive things during his lifetime that will make many people who knew him always remember him.
“He left a positive legacy on us, his children. We will always remember him for all the good things he has done for us, his immediate family, and the country in general for making many people happy. We will miss his good nature too.”
He explained that he was at Garkuwa Hospital Kaduna where his late father died around 12:10 am on Sunday.
Mohammed added that personally, he will always remember his late father’s advice to him to always stand on his own and to believe in what God has given to him.
“He always tells me to learn to stand on my own, then learn to be patient with what God has given to you. These are always his words to us,” he said.
Another son of the deceased, Abubakar Usman, described their late father as a God-fearing person and very religious.
According to him, part of his attributes was generosity because he always derived happiness from helping others in need.
“He was very generous and very religious. He always wanted to help others with the little he has. In fact, he can give out his last money to others. These are legacies we hope to emulate from him,” he said.
He also said their late father always told them to always depend on God for any assistance, and not fellow individuals.
According to him, their father constantly told them that whatever was destined for them by God would surely come to them without stressing them and that whatever they missed was not meant for them.
Abubakar prayed to Allah to forgive his shortcomings and grant him Jannatul Firdausi.
Late Usman Baba Pategi was born in 1942 into the royal house of Pategi Emirate. He started his early education at Pategi Primary School and later attended Ilorin Middle School.
He acquired his Quranic education under Malam Ali Bardoni in his hometown and attended Government College Kaduna. Pategi joined the Nigerian Army in the ‘60s, and retired in the 80s. He then pursued an acting career in drama at FRCN/NTA Kaduna, where he also directed and wrote plays. Mostly known as Samanja Maza Fama, the name translates to Sergeant-Major, reflecting his army experience.
In an interview with Daily Trust in 2021, the late Usman Baba Pategi said he started drama during his primary school days.
According to him, he became popular for being a disciplinarian among his peers.
Addressing the possibility of his children joining the entertainment industry, he stated, “I gave my children the freedom to do whatever they want as long as it’s not against the law of my religion and the country. I will support their passion for success.”
He emphasized the need not to force children into activities they lacked passion for, attributing the destiny of each and everyone to God.
In the same year, 2021, responding to the rumour of his death on social media, he calmly told Daily Trust, “All souls shall taste death; there is nothing to worry about. God created us, fixed a departure date, and we will account for our deeds.”
Late Usman Baba Pategi was buried at Bashama Muslim Cemetery, Tudun Wada, Kaduna.