8 December 2012

Nigeria: Zulaihatu Buhari - Exit of a Rare Gem


The death of Zulaihatu"Magajiya" Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, November 29, 2012, two days after giving birth to a baby girl through a caesarean section at a private hospital in Kaduna left many people, including yours truly, shocked, for want of a better word.

Every soul, as the Holy Qur'an says, shall taste of death. In this sense, Magajiya may be late but her memory is one that is surely going to last. (May the Almighty Allah rest her soul).

In this piece, I intend to share the little I know about this rare gem, a sister, a mother, a wife, a friend, a confidant and more that lived amongst us. Magajiya, as the Almighty Allah decreed, had to live this world six days shy of her 40th birthday, and without having the benefit of seeing her young daughter grow into her fullest potentials, as every mother will love to.

In the words of Captain Junaidu Abdullahi, Magajiya's widower losing her "is the hardest moment of my life. I don't have a word to express my feeling. She just gave birth to a baby who is now alive without a mother." Junaid went further to describe his late wife as "a nice person, religious, and caring. She is very close to her father (she was named after her father's mother, hence the sobriquet Magajiya). All I can say is may Allah forgive her and grant her aljanna firdaus."

One thing about the late Zulaihatu was the fact that she had a sense of humour, and she was very kind. She was one of the most lovable people you could ever meet. She was caring, courageous and reliable. She was always there to felicitate with you in your joyous moments just as she never failed to show up to commiserate with you in your sorrow. She was a true friend and sister. She was one of those simple people who you can't help but love.

Her memory lives in the heart of her dear and caring father. She was the apple of her siblings' eyes. And I pray we - her friends, family and other acquaintances - should take solace in the fact that Magajiya lived a very good life. Very few people can attract encomiums, accolades and glorious tributes the way she did. No father can be prouder of a daughter with such an admirable spirit, no child can be prouder of a mother who transgressed beyond her illness to ensure that they got the best in life.

No one can question the will of the Almighty Allah, just as no one can comprehend the exact amount of pain her family members and friends are going through. But a woman that lived her life in peace and goodness will surely be rewarded accordingly in the hereafter. Indeed the rarest and most precious of gems has been lost.

Zulaiha was an enigma, a charming personality and a philanthropist par excellent, full of humility and respect, empathy and compassion for all across the strata of the society. She was humble and interacted with people without any bias to their ethnic, religious and regional background. I remember a certain moment when I accompanied her on a visit. She met some kids playing under the scotching sun and she was instantly touched by their plight. She asked them why they had to play under the sun at that time of the day instead of resting in the comfort of the homes. They told her that their only DVD player developed fault and not working. There and then we made a detour to an electronic outfit where she bought a brand new DVD some cartoons for the kids. But even as she handed the player to them she was also emphatic on the need for them to remain focused with their studies.

This singular act is one out of many where she showed love especially not just to those that were her kith and kin but of other ethnic and religious background.

Magajiya, as she is popularly known had a unique personality that never looked down on any individual irrespective of where you come from. Her sense of humility could be ascertained based on the fact that she will never disclose her parental background except for those who know or find out later.

She was well respected, transparent and accountable and very knowledgeable which made her to be entrusted with the position of a treasure in the Nigerian institute of Management (Kaduna State chapter)

Magajiya, the first of her father's nine children, was born on the 5th of December 1972 to former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari and Safinatu Buhari (also late). She attended Nursery School in the United States of America; she did her primary at the Air force Military School in Lagos. She also began her secondary school at the Queen's College Lagos and in 1985 transferred to JS2 Federal Government College Kaduna where she graduated in 1990. She later secured admission t read B.Sc. Economics at the Ahmadu Baello University (ABU) Zaria, and successfully bagged her certificate.

Indeed, the story of Zulaihatu is that of hope against despair. Even though she was a sickle cell anaemia patient, the sickness did little to stop Magajiya from impacting positively on the lives of so many people including those that don't even know her name. She was also contented working with the National Steel Raw Materials Research Agency in Malali, Kaduna.

She was survived by her husband Captain Junaidu Abdullahi and her three Halima Junaid, Muhammad Buhari Junaid and her precious new born baby girl Zulaihatu (who was named after her), her parents, siblings and friends.

And as Chinasa of the National Steel Council Kaduna noted in a condolence message, "When death comes we weep with sorrow, we mourn the loss, we grieve over the memories we shared, we ponder over why these things must be. We accept your death as one of those things we cannot change. But in our hearts you live on forever. Adieu My sister and Friend."

May Almighty Allah forgive her shortcomings and reward her numerous good deeds. May He also grant us the strength to pray for the repose of the souls of the departed and bless us with same when we depart. Amin.

Binta wrote in from Kaduna.

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