My dad, Justice Musa B. Abdul is retiring today being the 15th day of May, 2019 from the services of Niger State Judiciary. I know it’s un-african for one to blow his trumpet but this has to be one of those rare moments where pride should be accommodated. As a son, I am very proud of where my father is standing today and I write every of the words in this with all sense of humility. I have never seen a man that’s so conscious of his reputation as he is and to Allah be the glory, he’s drawing the curtain on a very remarkable note.
One of the many lessons I learnt from my dad is that what one becomes in life is a function of who you are and as I pen this down, I am not unmindful of the fact that no amount of eulogy or words can do justice to who he has been both as an individual and as a professional. However, I feel that sense of obligation to first, celebrate him and more importantly share within the space of my knowledge the story of his illustrious career with a bewildered generation. It could inspire a lot in their personal and professional lives.
It is said that destiny defines and shapes our exploits in life. Indeed, destiny has played a huge role in the career exploits of my dad. He had his early education in Bida and Agaie towns respectively. In fact, they were the first set of students of Dendo Secondary School, Agaie. At the time, there were no structures but it was still run as a boarding school. One can only imagine their suffering at the time. After Secondary education, he left for Sokoto under the tutelage of Late Alhaji Umaru Gbate; one of his dad’s confidants in order to further his educational pursuit. He was enrolled in School of Nursing, Sokoto.
His sojourn in Sokoto was short as Mid-way through his nursing school, he had a change in interest and switched to study Law. The story of why he opted for law will be told another day. First, it was a diploma in Law, then Later LLB from the prestigious Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. In-between obtaining Diploma and LLB, he started his professional career with the Niger State Judiciary; a career that has spanned the last four decades. Upon graduation, he had job offers from different organizations but opted to continue his service with Niger State.
As a state counsel and member of the bench, my dad’s commitment to his work was unequalled. As a state counsel, he could keep late nights researching and this made him a delight to watch and listen to any time he was in the courtroom. His commitment surged upon his appointment as a member of the bench. He kept lengthy hours and late nights doing research, drafting rulings and judgments. Never the type to be found wanting on deadlines. In fact, when the erstwhile CJN, Justice Aloma Mukhtar set a minimum quarterly target of judgments to be delivered by members of the bench, my dad was unperturbed and true to his character, he consistently met expectation. In the years he spent on the bench and even before, professionalism was the hallmark of his engagements with all and sundry.
My dad is incorruptible and an advocate of good governance. Even when the integrity of Judiciary was put into test, we never nursed any fear because of who we know him to be. I think he deserves all encomiums for the selfless years he has sacrificed for Niger; a State he loves so dearly. Nothing could convince him to leave the State despite the temptation of greener pastures. Once, at the Judicial Institute Abuja, a friend of his said, let us pray that the proposed 70 year retirement age for judges of high court pass through, and my dad simply said, “I AM NOT LOOKING BEYOND THE 65 YEAR MARK, I ONLY PRAY THAT I END WELL.”My dad is still the longest serving Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the history of Niger State. He spent more than 10 years on that position. There were times that some of his close friends particularly, the late Justice Mamman Kolo (his friend of over forty years) of blessed memory tried to encourage him to join the federal civil service but he had his mind fixed on one goal; the bench in Niger State and to the glory of the Almighty, that has come to pass.
I have never met a man so simple as my father. He relates with anyone that crosses his path without any prejudice. He would always have very hearty conversation with shoemakers and his security men. His respect for his superiors is second to none. His subordinates at work will tell you that there is hardly a dull moment with Justice MB Abdul. If the graph of his life were to be drawn, it’ll be found to be a steady straight line graph; taken everything as it comes. Never in haste for anything because of his belief in destiny and in the invisible hands of Allah (SWT). His simplicity wouldn’t allow him to pass some of his perennial responsibilities to a third party. On weekends, you’ll find him at the mechanic workshop when the need arises. He goes to market to shop for the family and attends to all his domestic responsibilities no matter the demand of time. Even when he does things that we find below his status, he would simply say “No condition is permanent”. He’s always a visible face in social gatherings around the state. For Justice Musa Abdul, what you see is what you get. For him, you can judge a book by its cover!
I have learnt so many things from my dad but the most important is his level of faith and belief in His Creator, his contentment, honesty and value for relationships. We have asked him to push for the sale of the official residence of judges at GRA Bida but his reply was “I have been a beneficiary of two houses from Niger State Government, I would not usurp the opportunity of others”. He never allowed anyone of us to drive his official vehicle until after it became his. He would ritually buy at least 2 Newspapers daily and when my younger sibling asked him why he does that, his answer was typical of him: Government gives me monthly allowance to buy Newspapers, if I don’t, my conscience will not be clear”. I also remember one valuable lesson he taught us while growing up and that is to manage our expectations from people in power. He will always say “Á friend in power is a lost friend” and because of such disposition, he rarely gets disappointed by people. Interestingly, he has maintained the same circle of friends for ages. I am a very proud son because he’s also a proud son of his father. Almost forty years after the death of his father, our grandfather has remained a reference point in all his conversations, be it in family or religious circles.
He is leaving the judiciary with a trail of glory; glory in service to our creator and in service to humanity. As he opens yet another chapter in his life, I wish my dad a very fulfilling retirement.
–Abdullahi member-elect for Bida/Gbako/Katcha Federal Constituency, is the first son of Justice MB Abdul