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Tribute to Professor Sabo Bako(1951-1st December, 2010).

Started by Nuruddeen, December 23, 2010, 12:28:42 PM

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The 1st December, 2010, will for long remain one of the most shocking moments in the history of my life.  It was the day I received the news of passing away of my mentor, teacher and very close confidant-Professor Sabo Bako. Initially, I could not believe what I was told that Mallam Sabo is dead. When Dr. Agbo Johnson, former Prof Sabo's PhD student called me from far away Jalingo first thing in the morning, to break the news of his death, I did not believe him. I told Agbo no!  I spoke with Prof on phone 15 hours ago. Dr. Agbo further said "I am telling you Prof is dead, so I heard, but I too did not believe it".
I abruptly dropped the phone after telling Agbo that "let me confirm whether what you are saying is true".
I called Adamu, a relative of Prof Sabo Bako who traumatically said "Nura, wallahi gashi an kira ni da gaggawa nazo Zaria, Dr. Sabo Bako ya rasu. Yanzu zamu binne shi", meaning: I was urgently called to come to Zaria that Dr. Sabo Bako is dead.  I am at Zaria. We are going to bury him now.
Alas, I could not believe Adamu either that the man I had a telephone conversation with at 3pm, was no longer alive.
Hear us:
Hello sir!
Dr. Sabo: Hello! Nura ne? (Is this Nura?)
Yes sir. Yaya aiki?
Dr. Sabo: Lafiya, kazo Garin ne?
No sir. I called you to clarify that Aisha (your daughter) is going to do her I.T at Freedom Radio Dutse not Radio Jigawa sir as you might have mistaken. Because the Managing Director of Radio Jigawa called me and said you told him that she (Aisha) is on her away to meet him for her I.T. issue.
Dr. Sabo: O.k. I thought it was Radio Jigawa that you submitted her request?
No sir! I told you the MD Radio Jigawa was not around. He travelled out of the country. That is why I suggested Freedom Radio for her since I am together with the Station Manager, Mallam Adamu Ladan.
Dr. Sabo: It's alright. Call the MD Radio Jigawa ka gaya masa cewa ba wani abu. Ai duk daya ne. Radio Jigawa and Freedom are all the same...uhm. Tun da dai an karbe ta din ai ba komai.  I will also call the MD by myself and explain to him what happened. Kasan na gaya maka shi abokina ne.
O.k sir.
Dr. Sabo: When are you coming to Zaria?
On Sunday sir in sha Allah. Sir, I hope you did not forget about my issue that I said we are going to text governor Lamido?
Dr. Sabo: Oh! Da Allah kayi hakuri. I have forgotten, but let me text him about it now.
O.k. sir.
Dr. Sabo: Or should I leave it till you come?
Yes sir. Zai yi kyau ka bari idan nazo na nuna maka abin sai kasan abin da zaka yi masa text akai.
Dr. Sabo: O.k. sai kazo din. Yaushe kace zaka zo? Sunday?
Yes sir.
Dr. Sabo: Allah ya kawo ka.
Nagode sir.
Well, that was exactly what transpired between me and my Prof. barely 15 hours before he was recalled by Allah-the Almighty. As at that time, if you ask Mallam Sabo( as he's fondly called by Priscilla, a Café attendant at Burkan Café, opposite north Gate) where we used to spend hours surfing the net , generally looking for research materials and international conferences, he would not  have known that he would die on that day. In fact, the circumstances surrounding his death taught most of us, especially I, ample lesson in life i.e. we are all from Allah and to Him we shall all return, because He is the creator and possessor of all creatures.
However, I found it very difficult to adjust and contain myself within the next two days of his demise. As my first Book reviewer, Prof. Sabo always advised me to be patient and serious about it. He used to guide me and Dr. Agbo to always go on critical thinking (thinking outside the box) whenever we are going to submit any serious academic exercise or work. It is a concept that we cherish very much, because it has to do with devising solutions where there are none. That is why most of our paper abstracts hardly missed selection whenever we submit any to conference panel reviewers.
He fondly used to tell us together with his junior colleagues Mallam Tafida and Dr. Sama'ila not to be involved in garrison democracy. The last time I and him featured prominently was during the Zazzau History Conference that took place on June 10th, 2010 where we presented our papers with pomp and pageantry. Prof Sabo in his usual academic venture talked exhaustibly on the history and politics of Friday Mosques proliferation in Zaria metropolis. His paper, controversial as it might appear to those who don't know him (knowledge wise), was full of wisdom and meaning, most especially in terms of salvaging our numerous mosques from neglect and collapse. He did a lot of work on religion and politics in Africa. Notably among them is his PhD thesis on Maitatsine saga in Kano. As a review panelist and member, Council for Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) Sabo Bako kept on encouraging me immediately we came back from Dakar in 2006, to pursue research with intellectual vigour and interest. My relationship with him became so intimate and strong after sharing our thoughts one Friday afternoon on nationhood and nation building and on Africa's position in contemporary world. Since then, there's nothing-be it conference, symposium, workshop or call for papers that I would bring to him without all of us bending our heads to it until we submit our ideas with happiness.
The next intellectual journey, which he seriously had in mind, was the West African Research Association's (WARA's) international conference coming up in June 2011 at Niger Republic where he asked me to develop a panel paper in his office. I did develop it and gave him to study. He agreed to speak on "Leadership and Governance in Muslim Northern Nigeria". I chose to talk on "Traditional Hausa Architecture, City Walls and Gates in Royal Palaces of Northern Nigeria".  He asked me to phone Prof Abdallah Uba Adamu at BUK and inform him about the conference to see if he's interested. I did call Prof Abdallah who happily agreed to join the panel. Both of them called a month ago to confirm whether our panel paper was sent or not. I told them that it was already acknowledged by the organizers.
Indeed, one thing that I know is: even most of his colleagues in the political science are not aware of many of his intellectual engagements. My closeness to him made me understand that he's a reservoir of knowledge that has written amply about religion and politics in contemporary Africa. Prof Dunmoye (Sabo Bako's PhD supervisor) groomed him very well. It therefore became very easy for Dr. Sabo to face intellectual giants such as Dr. Bala Usman and his disciples. There was a time I curiously asked him what happened in their yesteryears of intellectual exchange i.e. between the rightists and leftists ideological movement in ABU. He laughably said ai wannan maganar tawuce...hmm. But I still insisted to hear from him. He then told me about his Court experience with Bala Usman, Prof Mahadi and co. He said well, they filed a case against me in Court over clash of ideology(s). The latter sued him to Court and claim damages of almost N2 million Naira. As at that time, the vibrant and dynamic Sabo Bako was not even close to his home country. He was at far away South Africa when Dr. Bala Usman's disciples made to his house to claim what the Court ruled in their favour. The rest is now history. What is now left is for all of us to pray for Drs. Sabo Bako and Bala Usman for Allah's mercy, because they have served their country diligently. They all fought their own cause for the liberation of Nigeria and Africa. Both of them shared their knowledge and taught most of us the basic etiquettes of intellectual judo. Indeed, Dr. Bala Usman and Sabo Bako died suddenly and unexpectedly, but their knowledge rewards will in sha Allah be with them in the hereafter. I did not know much about the cause of Dr. Bala Usman's death. But I was at Zaria the day he passed away. In the case of Dr. Sabo Bako, he died shockingly. In fact, there were a lot of hearsay surrounding the nature and ways he died. Some were saying he was poisoned. Some say he ate food somewhere. Some are even of the opinion that there was something behind it.
All these made me curious to pursue and trace the cause(s) of his death together with his daughter Aisha Sabo Bako at ABUTH, Shika, Zaria. After a thorough search of his "missing folder and prescription card" which was caused by one nurse on duty on 1st of December 2010, I got to find out that the man that certified his death, Dr. Musa Ezekiel, wrote few lines that are not more than a sentence on the card as the cause of Sabo's death. According to the death certificate, he died of acute renal failure (ARF) with hypovolemic shock at 7am. And many things are attributable to the cause(s) of acute renal failure (ARF) with hypovolemic shock.
It could be due to malfunction of the kidneys resulting from any of a number of causes, including infection, trauma, toxins, hemodynamic abnormalities, and autoimmune disease, and often resulting in systemic symptoms, especially edema, hypertension, metabolic acidosis or uremia. In Prof Sabo's case, it could be due to the inability of his kidneys to excrete wastes, concentrate urine, and conserve electrolytes. And since his condition became acute, it's normally characterized by oliguria and the rapid accumulation of nitrogenous wastes in the blood commonly described by doctors as azotemia. This usually results from hemorrhage, trauma, burn, toxic injury to the kidney, acute pyclonephritis or glumerulonephritis, or lower urinary tract obstruction. Many forms of acute renal failure are reversible after the underlying cause has been identified. In Prof Sabo Bako's case, it could be a renal failure from sudden onset, such as from physical trauma, infection, inflammation or toxicity. Three types of ARF are distinguished: prerenal, associated with poor systemic perfusion and decreased renal blood flow, such as with hypovolemic shock or congestive heart failure; intrarenal, associated with disease of the renal parenchyma, such as tubulointerstitial nephritis, acute interstitial nephritis, or nephrotoxicity; and postrenal, resulting from obstruction of urine flow out of the kidneys. Dr. Sabo Bako can be said to have died as a result of abrupt decline in renal function, triggered by various processes-e.g. sepsis, shock, trauma, kidney stones and drug toxicity, substance of abuse, toxins or iodinated radiocontrast.
The hypovolemic shock in him could be due to physical collapse and prostration, which might be as a result of low blood pressure, thread pulse, clammy skin, tachycardia, rapid breathing, and reduced urinary output. Usually, if there is an associated blood loss, it may stem from gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, internal or external hemorrhage. But in his case, there was nothing like massive blood loss externally. It therefore could be due to excessive reduction of intravascular plasma volume and body fluids, because I was told that he vomited five (5) times before he passed away. And disorders that may cause hypovolemic shock are dehydration from excessive perspiration, severe diarrhea and protracted vomiting. Others are intestinal obstruction, peritonitis, acute pancreatitis, and severe burns, which deplete body fluids. All these disorders may also not be unconnected with associated effects such as metabolic acidosis with accumulation of lactic acid, irreversible cerebral and renal damage and disseminated intravascular coagulation.
Anyway, all of the above are medical facts that one could attribute to Prof Sabo Bako as the reasons for his sudden demise. But as Muslims, we should know that everything happens for a reason. My close confidant and senior academic "friend" died because Allah said he should die in that manner. And none of us could prevent it from happening. As Allah said, "wa illallahi turja'ul umur". Who then is going to prevent Dr. Sabo Bako from answering Allah's call?
Sir, we love you, but Allah loves you the most. Allah yaji kanka da rahma ya kyautata namu karshen. Ameen summa ameen.

Jibo Nura,(Q.S), resides at
No. 135 Magarbi Street, Area BZ., Samaru Main Campus,
ABU Zaria. 08063234772.
o try and fail is atleast to learn. That will save one the inestimable loss of what might have been (positive or negative).