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Malam Adamu: Passing Of The Wazirin Fika



Late Malam Adamu Fika


By Is’haq Modibbo Kawu


WHEN I read a few hours ago, that Malam Adamu, Wazirin Fika, died on a flight, from London, where he had been receiving treatment, I felt really sad, that we’ve lost one of the genuinely venerable old men, of Northern Nigeria. It’s without doubt, the closure of an era in our history. The Wazirin Fika would no longer be present amongst us to consult, when in doubt, about aspects of our history, as well as the nuts and bolts of the administrative structures, upon which some of the most impressive achievements in our history were recorded.

On that fateful morning of November 28th, 2007, Chief Sunday Awoniyi, died in an accident, on the Abuja-Kaduna highway. To be double sure of the story, I placed a call to the Wazirin Fika. He answered me in words that conveyed very deep sorrow: “Yes it’s true, Modibbo, we lost Sunday”!

Chief Awoniyi had been the person that cemented my relationship with Malam Adamu. For those familiar with the old structures of life in the Kaduna of the past few decades, Wazirin Fika and Chief Awoniyi, were inseparable. One was a channel to the other, and the two, were repositories of all that people recall with genuine nostalgia; the era of dedicated labour, genuine service delivery, and patriotism that was a lived daily reality.

During my years as Editor of DAILY TRUST newspaper, we were working on a series of interviews with the old men, who had served during the years of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello. When I got to the residence of Malam Yahaya Gusau in Kaduna, he refused to do the interview.

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I placed a call to Chief Sunday Awoniyi, who advised me to stay in the residence. A few minutes later, he drove into the compound. Chief Awoniyi asked me to follow him. Mal Yahaya greeted: “Ina kwana, Sunday”, and the reply was “Lafiya Lau, Sir”. Then Chief Awoniyi pressed further: “Modibbo said you have refused to do the interview, but you should sir°. Mal Yahaya turned towards me and replied: “Toh, if Sunday says I should do the interview, then you’re very lucky Modibbo”.

We did the hour long interview, and headed for Malam Adamu, Wazirin Fika’s residence. We were informed that he was slight indisposed because he had returned from Fika late the previous night and was still in bed. Chief Awoniyi went upstairs into Malam Adamu’s bedroom, and a few minutes later, we were sat in the study for the interview.

Subsequently, it was a library that would be open to me, as it was to several other people. Just as Mal Adamu was always ready to offer very enlightening insights on administration, history, politics, and even social aspects of life.

A few years ago, one of the Governors of our Northern States had appointed over 250 Personal Assistants. People were surprised, and I was too. I called Malam Adamu to find out how many Personal Assistants were appointed by the Sardauna, when he ran Northern Region, that eventually became the nineteen northern states. He told me there was nothing like that in the Sardauna’s period, yet there was a consensus, that things were done much better then.

Malam Adamu had a very distinguished life of service to our country, in several positions, and was to retire as a very respected SGF. Over the next couple of decades, he would continue to offer his remarkae insights to Nigeria, Northern Nigeria and his community in Fika, whenever he was called upon to do so. And because people knew that they would learn a lot from the venerable oldman, they never stopped reaching him to tap from his wealth of considerable knowledge.

It is part of the mythology of the Northern system, that almost all the top men, from the time of the Sardauna, retired into Kaduna, the old Northern Regional capital. It has always, therefore, been seen as a city of power and influence.

Malam Adamu was one the most respected members of that generation, and because Kaduna is one of the three cities that I call home, I’ve been able to see at very close quarter, the roles and positions of people like Mal Adamu, and the culture that they created and nurtured, with roots in the most important early years of Northern Nigeria.

Unfortunately, many of the venerable old people have died over the past few years, and the country itself has evolved in an increasingly different direction. The demography has changed, and the country is today a country of very young people. These young people are growing up in a world of neoliberal hegemony, which has devastated all aspects of life.

Our world today, and especially life in Northern Nigeria, now resembles the Hobbesian jungle, with life overwhelmingly “nasty, brutish, and short”. That’s not the world which formed Malam Adamu’s generation. They grew up in a world of transition, where older community values strongly influenced the formation of character, even while becoming educated within the certainties, if they ever were, of colonial society.

Many of the younger generation might not have even ever heard of his name. But Malam Adamu, Wazirin Fika, represented some of the very best of those truly golden years of Nigerian development. Allah gave him a very long life, and allowed us to tap into the wealth of experience that he acquired over nine decades. In his passing, we arrived at what the old Fullo intellectual from Mali, Professor Hampate Ba, once said.

The death of an old African, is the equivalent of the burning of a library. Indeed, a major library has, literally, burnt, with the passing of our very dear Malam Adamu, Wazirin Fika. We are poorer with his passing. Allah ya jikan sa, ya gafarta masa, ya rahamshe shi. Amin.

Kawu, PhD, FNGE, is a Broadcaster, Journalist, and Political Scientist.


Dr. Idris Abdulaziz Dutsen Tanshi: A Case Consuming Ego Interferring With Reason



Idris Abdul'aziz Dutsen Tanshi

Na’Allah Muhammad Zagga

“Knowledge can be dangerous. Smart people can do monumentally stupid things. Intelligence can be put to a bad use. But this doesn’t mean that knowledge and intelligence are to be avoided. It means only that they need the proper accompaniment–wisdom.”
~Tom Morris.

Even Tanshi’s worst enemy cannot dispute the fact that he is colossally learned. So, why he is so isolated by other scholars, including his own fellow Izala brothers? Sheikh Idris Abdulaziz Tanshi achieved distinctions in all his scholarly studies in prestigious universities in Saudi Arabia.

Why should such a great scholar become such a controversial figure? To say he is learned is an understatement. His is a case of virtue spoilt by style. I have not come across a preacher with penchant for insulting other scholars as Dr. Idris. He hardly acknowledges the knowledge of other scholars. He uses his platform to engage in name calling. He spares no one.

No how do you attract people to Islam by using your knowledge to scare rather than inspiring others? Over 90 percent of his preaching is dominated by name calling. He publicly calls Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi and Prof. Pantami nasty names. His latest altercation is with his own Izala brothers. He openly insults Sheikhs Bala Lau and kabiru Gombe.

If we go by Islamic history, the Prophet Mohammad had used wisdom and personal examples to inspire and attract people to Islam. He demonstrated incredible refinement in his attitude towards others. He had never used foul language to address even his own enemies, those who disagreed with him or those that mocked him. He demonstrated patience and emotional intelligence in his interactions with others.

Incivility was not in the character of Muhammad. How can you openly call other people’s faith into question day after day without making needless enemies? He unapologetically calls Dariqa members kafirai. Dr. Idris Abdulaziz Tanshi talks as if your salvation depends on his approval; he behaves as if he controls the keys to heave or paradise!

It’s high time Dr. Idris Abdulaziz humbled himself and do a soul-searching on his own way of doing things. Leadership requires composure, patience, calmness and remarkable comportment. Don’t inspire your followers with uncultured behaviour or encourage them to insult others. Respect is the foundation of relationship at any level. You can’t belittle, vilify and insult other scholars without creating needless enemies.

Vanity can destroy even great people. Vanity is like Vodka. It intoxicates and intoxication impairs our reasoning ability. No man is an Island. The most dangerous delusion is the spirit of self-righteousness. A self-righteous person is like a patient who believes he is in perfect health, despite all the dangerous signs of his condition. He argues even with his own doctor, despite the fatal consequences of his own obduracy.

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Climate Change’s Stealthy Impact on Health-Faith John



Faith John


Maiduguri, the heart of Nigeria’s Borno State, is silently grappling with an adversary that’s affecting more than just the environment – climate change. The rising temperatures and erratic weather patterns might not scream catastrophe, but their toll on public health is undeniable.

The increasingly hot days are more than just discomfort. They bring a surge in heat-related illnesses, from heat exhaustion to heatstroke. Vulnerable populations, including children and the elderly, bear the brunt of these health risks.

Changing climate patterns influence the spread of diseases. The city has seen an uptick in diseases like malaria and dengue, as rising temperatures create favorable conditions for disease-carrying vectors.
Water scarcity resulting from droughts and shifting rainfall patterns leads to unhygienic water sources and a higher risk of waterborne diseases, jeopardizing public health.

Another risk faced is air pollution from extended droughts which leads to respiratory issues, affecting both children and adults. Dust and air quality pose a growing threat.

For the past few weeks, Maiduguri have experienced haze weather known as harmattan haze during the season typically between November and February. Harmattan haze is caused by the movement of dry, dusty air from the Sahara Desert. This haze can have several effects on health.
Respiratory Issues: The fine dust particles in the haze can irritate the respiratory system, leading to symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and worsening of preexisting respiratory conditions like asthma or bronchitis.
The haze can reduce visibility, making travel and outdoor activities more challenging and potentially increasing the risk of accidents.

Dust particles in the air can cause skin dryness and irritation. Additionally, they may lead to eye irritation, including redness and discomfort.

Increased Vulnerability to Infections: Prolonged exposure to haze can weaken the body’s natural defense mechanisms, potentially increasing susceptibility to respiratory infections.

To mitigate the health effects of Maiduguri’s harmattan haze, individuals can take precautions such as staying indoors during peak haze hours, using air purifiers, wearing masks, and staying hydrated to help soothe irritated respiratory passages. It’s important for local authorities to issue health advisories and take measures to reduce the impact of haze on the population.

The health implications of climate change in Maiduguri are crystal clear. Urgent measures are required to protect the health of the city’s residents. We urge the government to invest in healthcare infrastructure, public awareness campaigns, and sustainable practices to mitigate climate change’s impact on health.

Maiduguri’s fight against climate change is more than an environmental struggle; it’s a battle for the health and well-being of its people.

Faith John
University of Maiduguri

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Low Birth Weight” Impact on Newborns




Faith John

The significance weight of a newborn carries more than mere numbers on a scale. Low birth weight, a silent but profound challenge, casts a shadow over the promising dawn of infancy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) sees low weight as weight at birth less than 2500 g (5.5 lb). Low birth weight continues to be a significant public health problem globally and is associated with a range of both short- and long term consequences. Overall, it is estimated that 15% to 20% of all births worldwide are low birth weight, representing more than 20 million births a year.

At the forefront of concerns is the vulnerability of these infants to a myriad of health complications. From respiratory distress syndrome to developmental delays, low birth weight amplifies the risk of a spectrum of issues that can cast a long shadow into childhood and beyond. The fragility of underweight newborns demands vigilant medical care and heightened attention to safeguard their well-being.

Cognitive development, a cornerstone of a child’s future, stands at the crossroads when low birth weight enters the narrative. Research suggests that these infants may face a higher likelihood of cognitive impairments, affecting their learning abilities and academic achievements.

Low birth weight babies are more likely to have health problems later in their lives. These issues may be related to also being born prematurely, or to failing to get the nutrition they needed at critical times during their gestation. Early intervention and treatment are critical to helping growing kids develop normally.
The goal of the World Health Organisation is to achieve a 30% reduction in the number of infants born with a weight lower than 2500 g by the year 2025. This would translate into a 3% relative reduction per year between 2012 and 2025 and a reduction from approximately 20 million to about 14 million infants with low weight at birth.
WHO’s Member States have endorsed global targets for improving maternal, infant and young child nutrition and are committed to monitoring progress. The targets are vital for identifying priority areas for action and catalysing global change.
As medicine allows smaller and more prematurely born infants to survive, we see these children developing a range of health outcomes. Some have no illnesses or negative outcomes at all, while others continue to have slower growth, more illnesses, and other problems throughout their lives. Babies with low birth weight born into situations where they are at risk socially or economically are more at risk for health problems

About 80 percent of low birth weight infants suffer some long-term side effects, from impaired immune systems or lung problems to learning disabilities, behavior problems or even cerebral palsy. About 20 percent of premature and low birth weight babies go on to have no health problems at all. However, parents of all low birth weight infants must provide good nutrition and health care throughout childhood to ensure the best outcomes for these children.
Advances in medical science, coupled with proactive healthcare measures, offer a beacon for positive change. From innovative interventions during pregnancy to specialized neonatal care, the healthcare landscape is evolving to provide tailored solutions for newborns on the lower end of the weight spectrum.
The societal response to low birth weight must transcend the confines of the clinic and extend into communities, fostering a culture of awareness and support. Education on prenatal health, access to nutritional resources, and destigmatization of preconceived notions surrounding low birth weight are vital steps toward a more equitable start for every child.
Governments and health practitioners can play pivotal roles in addressing and reducing low birth weight by Investing in accessible and affordable prenatal care services, ensuring that all pregnant individuals have timely and comprehensive healthcare throughout their pregnancies.
Health practitioners should emphasize the importance of early and regular prenatal visits, monitoring the health of both the mother and the developing fetus. Implement programs that focus on improving overall maternal health, including nutrition, mental health support, and lifestyle guidance. Educate women on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy, addressing factors such as proper nutrition, regular exercise, and avoiding harmful substances.
Governments should work towards reducing socioeconomic inequalities that contribute to disparities in birth weight. This involves initiatives that improve access to education, employment opportunities, and social services. Ensure that healthcare facilities are adequately equipped to provide specialized care for low birth weight infants, including neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and trained healthcare professionals. Health practitioners should receive ongoing training to stay updated on the latest advancements in neonatal care.
By adopting a comprehensive and collaborative approach, governments and health practitioners can significantly contribute to the reduction of low birth weight, fostering healthier beginnings for the next generation. Thanks to the WHO Global nutrition target which is aimed at reducing low birth weight.

Faith John Gwom
Department of Mass Communication
University of Maiduguri

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