MA HAJIA DADA YAR’ADUA OUR HEARTS ACHE IN YOUR SHOES

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There is no mother that will not feel the pain of Grandma Yar'Adua, just as men with blood flowing through their veins will. One of her children was taken away through the cold hands of Abacha and now, another is fighting for his life. Forget the politics, forget the regions and all disagreements, most of us feel the pain in her shoes.

One of the joys of life is to see our children make it good in our lifetime, it is un-African to witness the death or pain of our children without sorrow. This is the time we want to get closer to relatives and authentic friends. Politics have no permanent foes or friends. In difficult time, many obsequious friends desert us for better pastures. All the praises, gift and visits dwindle. That is life.

We are the talikawa that get and expect nothing no matter who you are. Our friendship is genuine and it has no price. Since we have no connection and seek none, our empathy with her is free of any expectation in return. In time of sorrow, we always bind together because that is all we have. Whenever we see people in need we share the little we possess, if anything. If that little is to share in your sorrow, Hajia, that is what we do.

The same way we are worried about the poor the weak and the gentle, so do we care about the sick. Those of us who have people to care for us are considered lucky in this blessed Country of ours. There are millions more who are sick, may be able to see a doctor but die because they cannot afford prescriptions. So are many others without the opportunity to see a doctor in the face of diseases, ethnic and religious riots.

Somehow, she must be a very strong woman who has instilled certain discipline in her children. That was reflected in Shehu Yar'Adua who died in prison fighting on principle. There was another display of this principle when we heard that she traveled all the way from the North to thank Obasanjo. It is not Obasanjo we appreciate, but a woman who thought she had to satisfy her gut feelings.

There must have been many people including relatives who told her not to make that journey. Even the President must have been embarrassed at that point because he was trying to demonstrate to everyone that he was his own man. Yet, she defied all of them and with the support of those around her also, traveled to Ota. So it is not who she visited, but the demonstration of her own independent conscience.

The glory of our state and blood are flowers like shadows that wither away, nothing substantial. No matter who we are, we are less so in the eyes of the Allah. The same fortitude that carried you through the travail of a son strong like steel in the face of death in prison will see you through the illness of another. We understand the joy and celebration in Katsina when your son came back home. He needs his peace of mind away from politics, talking heads like us and sanctuary within his family.

We will continue our political debate about how to move the Country forward. Please do not mind us or take it personally. Understand the need to steer the Country through political and economic sustenance for the future of our children. The time of your son and that of others will be compared to that of Ebele. Shonekan spent less time than either of them. Please remember Ebele in your prayers as well so that he can lead Nigeria better than those before him.

It is the prayers of our fathers and mothers that those coming after us must supersede us in their achievement. As we pray for those children so that they can see better future than we did, so must we pray for Nigeria and Ebele that lead us today. Nigeria needs more than prayers, the Country need benevolent contribution from each of us.

The ways forward are solid strides in economic, political and social achievements. Since we have failed in the past, our destinies which are our children, have been abandoning our Country, chasing ghosts crossing the desert to the unknown hoping against hope. This does not bear well for a Country as ours that has enough to take care of its needs.

In a Country where the rich are indifferent to the suffering of almajiri, we call our leaders as we see them. If it is any relief, you son has shown sincere fortitude to solve the problem of the militia in Niger Delta. It is up to Ebele to follow up on the blue print laid down by Yar'Adua. But you need not pay attention to politics. It is rough, mean, dirty and selfish. It is just like swimming with the shacks.

Therefore, you will hear and see people, including this writer, express their frustration at all past administrations including that of your son. It has nothing to do with you as a grandmother, it has to do with the job your son took on. They say: uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Continue to hold your own and be strong for your grand and great grand children.

We can turn our loss into gain and our sorrow into strength by dedicating whatever we have in cash or kind to those who are less privileged than we are. Feeding the poor and the homeless during Christian, Muslim or traditional festivals are not enough, Shehu Musa Foundation programs must be well supported to continue the ideals we care for in our communities.

In the pursuit of the comfort of liberty for all Nigerians where ever they are, whatever the work and contributions of the sons of Yar'Adua will be remembered in our history. In the end, it is not how much wealth we accumulate in our lifetimes that can be easily squandered by prodigal sons, it is the principle we leave behind that lives forever.

Grandma Hajia Dada Yar'Adua must remain strong even in the most trying times such as this so that other mothers and grandmothers going through similar situations can learn.

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Articles by Farouk Martins Aresa