Sunday, 18 September 2016

Tribute To Uncommon Generals; late Gen. Bamali, others Ten Years after

10yrs ago, September 17, 2006  to be precise, the country was thrown into mourning as an Obudu Ranch-bound Dornier 228 military aircraft, carrying senior Army officers crashed at Vandekiya in Benue State, killing 14 of the 18 passengers and crew on board.
Rivers of painful tears were shed, as hope lost, hearts were broken, many families and relationships were shattered, and several loyalists were put to emotional test. 

That was ten years ago, while friends and families of the demise were at the camp, house, and various joints enjoying themselves till the news filtered into the air about a military plane crash that killed some senior officers including the Maj. General Nuhu Bamalli, Maj. General JO Adesunloye, Maj. General SO Otubu, Maj. General SM Lemu, Maj. General JTU Ahmadu, Maj. General PM Haruna, Maj. General B Duniya, Maj. General JO Agboola, Brig. Gen Y.A Braimah, Brig Gen MB Bawa, Lt. Col N.A Mohammed, Wg. Cdr. S Balogun, and Wg Cdr EO Adekule.

Although none of these have been immortalised by the Nigeria's government, that very year, the reality of no permanent possession to power and friendship dawn on many because it recorded the highest roll Acosta of emotions in the Nigerian Army and an unforgettable year when all gracious God himself consoled his people with the special gift of life, remains afresh.
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Major General Nuhu Bamalli (Innalillahi Wainna Ilaihirrajiun), October 15, 1954 -September 17, 2006), one of the10 Generals lost in the fatal military plane crash involving the 2 Division of the Nigerian army, was from the Gumel Emirate, Kano State.

Abba as fondly called, Bamali was also known as “Sarkin Fada”, “Alhaji Soja,” “Alhaji”, “General,” etc, by friends, relatives, nephews and nieces. Although his lost was already 10years, the pain of losing him is still fresh because of the years of love & sacrifice he shared with many still living today.

He was a teacher of many disciplines, who inculcated similar traits into his personal relationship with his children and friends, having settled down to a family life at quite a young age, when most of his peers where trying to get their bearing.

Absolutely filled with unquestionable faith, undiluted love, career adventure, and merry family, at his school days, he performed exceptionally; an intelligent driven person, a first class brilliant officer so to speak.

Abba's career started and ended up in the Military (NDA 14th Regular Course). His simplicity nature extends to one of his sons, Lt Col Lasmar Bamalli, wife and others. He was a true patriot, incredibly loyal to his country and faithful in God and perhaps, very proud to have served and protected the sovereignty of Nigeria while alive.

According to one of his children, NAZIRU NUHU BAMALLI (Sarkin Fadar Gumel), who wrote in from Farm Centre, Kano via, twitter@nbamalli), “When the news about his death was finally confirmed to us at our Family house at Yakasai quarters in Kano in the evening of September 17th, in all honesty I still did not believe that Abba was gone for good and ever physically, not until the next morning while driving to the family house in company of friends that my eyes saw a bold caption on "Daily Trust" Newspaper Headline that froze me to stupor; "Bamalli, 9 other Generals perish in Military Plane Crash!"

“Over the years, I saw Abba working hard to help people in all facets of their life endeavours. I admired his ability to empathize with people. He taught me the value of a family and encouraged me to seek their opinion in important matters. He said and I quote; "there is nothing shameful seeking help when in need and to, in turn, help others." Helping people was among Abba's greatest pleasures in life.

“He also loved culture and nature. Abba is very proud of his roots. Growing up, I am flooded with memories of us going round relatives homes paying homage or visiting the sick. Abba had this habit of taking us to his father's (Malam Muhammdu Bamalli) graveyard to pray for him whenever he comes to Kano. He will tell us to do same for him when he is no more. There was a time in the graveyard he pointed to a space close to his father and said; that space is reserved for me!

“Dear Abba, know that I kept my promise. Since the very day you left us, there wasn't a time I skipped praying for you in the five regular daily prayers. On top of that, I allocated some days within the week to specially pray for you; Mondays and Thursdays inclusive. Your grandkids have also joined in the tradition as well.

“When seen through my teenage eyes much of whom he was and what he did was incomprehensible. On a superficial level he was a father doing what father's did, fathering. Beyond that, despite there being enormous differences between his kind of work and the career of many, Abba always humbled himself when dealing with us.

“There was this scenario after my wedding. I was staying with my wife in his house in Abuja when he called me one afternoon seeking for my permission out of courtesy and respect for my wife to bring colleagues from Ibadan to HIS OWN HOUSE! At first, I was speechless and tongue-tight. I did not know how to reply him or what to say before finally summoning the courage to give my approval. When they finally came, we were in the dining eating lunch when he jokingly said to them; I've been feeding him for so many years, now he is the one feeding me (all burst out laughing), I could see the joy and appreciation in Abba’s face. Allahu Akbar, that was Abba. Perfect to a fault!

“The second incidence was barring his staff from getting access upstairs since my wife arrived. Even though it is a known tradition in the army for some key officers gaining access to their principals’ private quarters, Abba made sure my wife was accorded her utmost privacy. Abba’s humility knew no bounds as he was very jovial even with his soldiers, there was a faithful Friday when Abba was the then Coordinator of the Armed forces command and Staff college Curriculum review team, we were about to embark on a weekend trip from Jaji to Kano when Abba realized his orderly was not carrying a Service pistol, he asked “my friend why are you not armed’, and the orderly replied Sir, I wasn’t Issued one, Abba then replied “in suka zo kokawa za kuyi dasu” meaning if they come are you going to fight them with bear hands, Abba then concluded jokingly, “my friend better go and get armed, you think its easy being a General” (laughing).

“I have Abba's hunger and respect for knowledge to thank for my education. Abba's legacy has just begun and his effort was not in vain as almost all my younger siblings have kept the flag flying by topping their class in both western and Islamic education. The hindsight of passing years and growing maturity has slowly revealed his real value. I look now and I am humbled. I see the enormity of raising us all as kids.

“I marvel at the strength of will and determination that kept him going, unrelenting. This brings to fore the incident that ensued between us just a week to his demise. My lovely wife delivered our first child Nuhu (named after Abba). I sent him a message to humbly inform him of our decision and also seek his permission to name our child after him but he should choose a second name in which the child should be called, Abba called immediately and I could detect the excitement in his voice and he thanked us profusely saying that he will Insha Allah come over to kano to see his namesake after the retreat at Obudu. He later sent me a text, thanking us personally by saying;

“I really Appreciate you naming my grandson after me, you and your wife should feel free to choose any laqani (second name) you want, am really proud of you, Allah yayi muku albarka (God bless You) Greet Sa’a (My wife).” That was Abba's last message to me in life and it has been saved and stored with me now for a decade.

“As I mature, I find myself growing more and more like Abba, however, I think this quality has also driven me to persevere throughout many challenges, even when I feel like giving up. I’m so fortunate and grateful that I had a father so capable of expressing his love for our family. Although he will be forever missed, I feel comforted knowing that he accomplished more than he could have dreamed in life. I’ll hold you in my heart forever, Abba.

“And that was Abba, our father, flesh and blood. He was our example of persistence, courage, service, faith, hope and the ongoing quest for truth. Abba found peace at last with his Creator, and that thought is what made us get through the experience of losing our mentor, our model, our father. Whenever you think of Abba, kindly think of all the sacrifices he made to his family, career & workplace, duty to his Country and his faith in His Creator and please say a silent prayer for his soul to continue resting in Jannatul Firdaus. I’m sure that would be the best tribute Abba would want. May Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala grant you Jannatul Firdaus. Till we meet to part no more Abba”.



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