By Inuwa Bwala
Another year has gone by, it is fifteen years since the man of peace, my mentor, my father, my boss and my confidant, Mala Kachallah passed on. One may say it has been long, yet for me,everything is still fresh in my mind.
There is nothing new I may have to say, having marked his death for the oast fourteen years with tributes.
I have narrated the events in my previous piece, but I need to restate parts of it for emphasis and for the benefits of those who have not followed my series on Maka Kachallah.
Everytime the year goes round, I look back at the events of that fateful day, 18th April, 2007, when the heat was intense, and in the same campaign year for the 2007 General elections.
We had gone round with Mala Kachallah touring the southern part of Borno state for the campaigns and only once did he call my attention in Askira to inform me he was not feeling fine and may not go for the second leg of the tour. Otherwise, he looked hale and hearty, and even asked me to continue with the team for the remaining tour and get back to him when we return to Maiduguri.
I did not suspect anything’s Ng even when Honorable Mohammed Wakil called me to his inner room, untill he informed me that my attention was needed at Mala Kachalla’s residence. He said they were leaving me behind, but that I should feed him back on what the matter was. I could sense something was wrong, but nobody betrayed any form of expression towards me, even as I went out of the house heading to Mala Kachalla’s residence on the Airport Road.
I could see three or more groups of people in the open yard at Mala Kachallah’s house discussing in hushed tongues. They looked away from me immediately I entered, but by then it was obvious that something was wrong in the house.
I went into the house and was confronted by some prominent people, including his former deputy, Ali Abubakar Jatau. They pointed to his door and I headed straight for it, with my heart in my mouth. I did not need to be informed at that stage what had happened.
Since then, the events of that day and the attendant events in the state long after his death remind me that the peace of Borno may have departed with him. And every time I write to commemorate that sad event, I always pay tribute to his him, I take a mental tour of the once home if peace with nostalgia of the Mala Kachallah days.
Everytime I pray, I crave pray, for leaders in the mould of Mala Kachallah, with the hope that Borno may once more experience the tranquility of his era.
We seem to be gradually getting there, with Professor Babagana Umara Zulum: though I know it is not yet uhuru.
I equally pray that God should grant me the grace to replicate the things he told me: one of which I should never keep nalice. Even for the lessons I learnt through his life, I remain ever faithful and grateful to Mala Kachallah even after his death.
Today, not so many people remember him, not even in the political cycles, but everybody relishes the era of his leadership as one of the most peaceful in Borno state. Mala Kachallah who, everybody prefers to call the man of peace gave every section a sense of belonging in Government, and everybody a sense of justice, to the effect that he was christened “The Captain of Peace”. Those who had the privilege of coming into contact with him, can also testify, that, Mala Kachallah was so hospitable and lavish with his resources on others, that he left office a virtual pauper. Beyond these, Mala Kachallah was Godly and passionate about his faith.
I quite agree, that, every leader has an idiosyncratic approach to solving problems; in which case such approaches may differ from one leader to the other. The circumstances surrounding Mala Kachalla’s leadership may be different from what obtains after him, but every time there is crisis in Borno state, I often reminiscence on his style of leadership; often asking with a very strong sense of nostalgia: what would Mala Kachallah have done differently to solve such a crisis.
I often find solace in the activities of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, who given the rightful atmosphere, has demonstrated sufficient will and capacity to replicate the deeds of Mala Kachallah or even surpass him. I also admire Senator Kashim Shettima’s fidelity to the legacies of Mala Kachallah while he was the Governor. Both men always encourage me to keep Mala Kachallah’s memory alive. I have never ceased to acknowledge the fact that each leader after Mala Kachallah gave their best in their own ways. I am particularly impressed with the efforts of the Borno State Government which has not only immortalized Mala Kachallah, but has not left his family in penury.
May God continue to grant him eternal rest.