By Adam Biu
“But let them sleep Lord, and I mourn a space;
For, if above all these, my sins abound,
‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace,
When we are there. Here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou hadst sealed my pardon with thy blood”-John Donne (1572-1631)
John Donne has pungently and poetically kept reminding us about the inevitable eventuality of the mortality of human beings on earth. The reality of death, especially for beloved ones, sends nervous emotions. It pains and I mean; a deep pain that touches the marrow and appears permanent.
But, it is a divine order from Almighty Allah (S.W.T):.The birth of a child brings joy, but the death brings sadness. Tears have never solved the mystery of death for us, the bereaved. But mourning is the only human antidote which lessens our grief and purges the pains death inflicts on us.
Today, Nigeria is mourning the passage to eternal glory of Mama, Hajiya Hauwa Yusuf Buratai, whom the cold hands of death snatched from us. The matriarch of the Buratai family, you have left us too soon, mama! How I wish, Almighty Allah (S.W.T) would have extended the grace of longevity to you.
But Almighty Allah (S.W.T) knows why and we think, you are safer in His hands than in this sinful world caging us with countless afflictions and the latest being Coronavirus! But I know, your spirit is on us.
All through lifetime Mama, you lived a worthy life as a wife, mother, auntie, sister and pillar of the downtrodden in communities around the North. We know you as a compassionate mother, a woman of virtue, community mobilizer, the pillar of the needy and epitome of excellence.
Not long ago, we mourned the passing unto glory of the patriarch of the Buratai family, World War II veteran, Mallam Yusuf Buratai. We are still weeping even as we found consolation in your warm embrace and today, you are gone, Mama!
Tears have not yet dried on our faces and today, we are in tears over demise. Oh destiny, you are very cruel to us the people of Biu village/LGA, Borno and indeed, all Nigerians are in sorrow over the sudden passage of the matriarch of the Buratais. But you are above death. Rather you have conquered the mystery of death eternally.
Mama, you came into the world as a heroine and departed as a heroine. We remember your fond love, years of toil, endurance and perseverance while alive. Naturally, your affectionate love drained sorrows from the hearts of many; comforted the millions of wailing souls around you. Words are not enough to express exactly millions.
We remember and will miss your comforting counsels in our moments of torments. Your sagacity transcended boundaries and brought comfort to the known and unknown. Mama, your translucent piousness, generous lifestyle and care would forever be etched on our memories.
But I say again that our Matriarch and indeed, the Buratai family have conquered death. Mama, your sojourn on earth has brought solace and freedom to millions of enslaved Nigerians. In you Mama, I met a compassionate mother, who cares for everyone around her.
I miss your counsel and the last time, I visited you in the village, you told me that your son, Gen. Buratai would end Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria, no matter the forces frustrating the efforts of the Nigerian Army. It was not a mere wish, but prayers Almighty Allah has granted.
I believed you absolutely Mama and it is happening already. There are clear signs that your son, Gen. Buratai, leader of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, a rare gift to Nigeria’s military will end the torment of Boko Haram insurgency and ISWAP terrorism in Nigeria very soon.
I keep wailing and will keep crying at your demise because the cold hands of death have snatched you away from us, just before the hour of total victory against Boko Haram. I refuse to be comforted because you are no longer alive to relish this victory with Nigerians.
How I wish Almighty Allah (S.W.T) would have preserved your life to be one of those to receive the national plaque of honour, and garlands of triumph of the Nigerian Army over Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists. But Almighty Allah has done His will. I am a mere mortal to question His will. He knows better. But it is painful!
But Mama, you are not dead! You will live forever in our psyche. An English poet and world acclaimed founder of metaphysical poetry, John Donne, says in a poetic verse titled; “At the round earth’s imagined corners” (Holy Sonnet 7), which says;
“At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall, o’erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never taste death’s woe.”
Mama, President Buhari and Nigerians feel the pains of your sudden death. Our President sent a condolence and consolation message to your son, Gen. Buratai conveying all the emotional pains he feels over your sudden demise. Let me quote a portion from it verbatim through the public statement by his media aide, Malam Garba Shehu. It states;
“President Buhari also prayed that the Almighty God would comfort Lt.-Gen. Buratai, who has been at the epicenter of war against terrorists in North East, urging the family to find solace in Hajiya Hauwa’s good works.”
I am touched by these words. They have consoled me that you are still alive, Mama! But like late Baba Buratai believed and you actively supported; “…mankind must be freed from the excesses of satanic souls.” Mama, your son, Gen. Buratai has kept every word of his late father, your husband, who told him at a tender age when he enlisted into the Nigerian Army that; “…be loyal to your superiors and constituted authority.”
Before his death, Baba Buratai confessed that Gen. Buratai obeyed every word of his father in service of the nation. And today, he is performing wonders in the frontlines on Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism in the protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our cherished country, Nigeria. Gen. Buratai, your son is a sacrificial lamb for the freedom of Nigeria. May you find favour in the warm embrace of Almighty Allah.
Mama, like a verse in the song of the Afro-American music maestro, Tony Gaye, mourning the death of his elder brother, Marvin Gaye; “our mother, you are gone, but your spirit is with us.”
Adieu, Mama. Bye and bye, until we meet to part no more!
Adam wrote this tribute from Biu, Borno State.