It was a moment of grief, not only in Jigawa and Kano states, but also in the entire North when the news of the death of one of the remaining northern elders, Alhaji Suleiman Baffa, went viral in the early hours of Tuesday, October 3, 2023.
Indeed, late Suleiman Baffa will be remembered for his sterling achievements and contributions to the development of northern Nigeria in particular and Nigeria in general.
Born in Auyo in Jigawa State about 85 years ago, late Suleiman Baffa attended his junior primary school in Auyo and then proceeded to the senior primary school in Hadejia. He later proceeded to the Kano Middle School, which is now called Rumfa College.
He was among the intelligent and lucky teenagers to start working at an early age of 18 years. While working, an opportunity came and young Suleiman clung to it as he was selected to go to a new training college for Grade II teachers training in the then newly established teacher’s training school in Gombe where he spent four years and graduated as a Grade II teacher.
Late Suleiman was among the pioneers of the teacher training college in Gombe and was trained by European teachers and the only one from Kano Province.
During his lifetime, late Suleiman had served in various establishments. He was an established and well-known banker as well as a seasonal administrator; he was at a time the Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Union Bank. He was also a Managing Director of the Nigerian Printing and Minting Company; he was also a onetime board director of Sterling Bank Limited. He was also the serving Chairman of the Jigawa Elders Forum, a position he held until his death.
As Chairman of the Jigawa Elders Forum, Alhaji Sulaiman Baffa played a very vital role in fostering unity, understanding, and collaboration among various communities and stakeholders in northern development.
No doubt his exit will surely create a vacuum that wouldn’t be filled easily. Moreover, various notable personalities have poured in their condolences to the families of late Suleiman Baffa and Jigawa State. First to register his condolences is the Jigawa State Governor Umar Namadi.
In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Muhammed Gumel, the Jigawa State governor described late Suleiman as a great leader and pillar of the Jigawa community.
“The late Alhaji Suleiman Baffa was not just a prominent figure in Jigawa State but also a highly respected elder statesman and a dedicated servant of the people. His life was a testament to his unwavering commitment to the betterment of our dear state and its people. He dedicated himself to the pursuit of peace, progress, and prosperity for Jigawa State throughout his long and illustrious career. His wisdom, guidance, and tireless efforts were instrumental in resolving conflicts and addressing the concerns of our people. He was a true bridge-builder and a source of inspiration to many,” the governor said.
He said his government and the people of Jigawa were full of gratitude for the invaluable contributions of the late elder statesman to the state’s growth and development, adding that Suleiman’s memory will forever be cherished, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.
“Though late, his ideologies and principles will remain fresh in the minds of the people he related with,’’ he said.
Daily Trust correspondent reports that the deceased’s residence in Kano has become a beehive of activities as family members, relatives and associates come to pay tributes and pray for the repose of his life amid mourning and tears.
Alhaji Turaki Ibrahim, a brother to late Suleiman, amid tears said they will forever remember their late brother as a simple soul who looked after many. “He was very caring, responsible and a reliable ally.
“I am a brother to him. When you want to talk about who he is, time will not even permit us to adequately dwell on that. Despite the age gap of about 14 years between us, I had been very close to him since childhood. We held each other’s company very dear.
“He was a grandson to the former Emir of Auyo and Hadejia, Haru Babba. He was royalty but never cared to show it. He was one that held his relatives with compassion and cared for them. He helped many and until his death, he was one person that we always turned to when there was need for help or guidance. We don’t have anyone like him; he can’t be replaced.
“Filling the vacuum left by late Suleiman will be a hard task to accomplish. We are praying for God’s forgiveness on his kind soul. All the good things that he has done in his life we pray to God to extend to him in the hereafter and forgive his shortcomings. He was a kind, generous and very patient person. These positive attributes are well known to him by everyone who knows him,” he said.
He also described late Suleiman as an individual who did not tolerate injustice or anything that was not good, adding that corruption or bribery and any other kind of misconduct were not written in his dictionary and whoever derailed, late Suleiman would not hesitate to tell them the truth as well as guide them.
Umaru Hadejia is a very close friend of late Suleiman Baffa. He described the death of his friend as something that will forever leave a gap in many people’s lives, as late Suleiman will always be remembered and missed by many. According to him, late Suleiman lived a life of leading by example and his friends and families wanted to emulate him in whatever they did.
“I am a relative and a very close friend of late Suleiman. We have shared trust in each other since childhood. He was a good man in the right meaning and in all senses of the word. Whoever knew him will simply tell you this without going into any explanation from all aspects and in all his dealings.
“He was a very patient man and hardworking. Things that are trial in nature never shook him, especially when it’s shaking others. There are a lot of things that are still unknown to many about him. Since we were young, he was very smart, intelligent and lucky because he started working at the age of 18. He was then looking after us more than how our parents and other relatives were doing.
“For me, I am one of those he held very closely and trusted. He gave me preferences until I knew myself. He involved me in all his dealings on several occasions and in many capacities,” he said.
Hadejia added that late Suleiman’s simplicity is a rare one as he connected and related with everyone regardless of social status or age.
He added that late Suleiman’s position or social status had never gotten over his head as he related with everyone on a simple ground of normalcy.
Late Suleiman Baffa died after a protracted illness at the Prime Clinic in Kano metropolis leaving behind a wife and five children. His funeral prayer took place at Kofar Kudu of Kano emir’s palace and he has since been buried according to Islamic rites.
Readers are enjoined to watch his interview on Trust TV, Channel 164, StarTimes, at 8pm on Saturday, in which he spoke about his life.