The death, on Saturday evening, April 8, 2017, of Alhaji Isah Ovurevu Ademoh, after a protracted illness for over a year, has once again thrown up the argument in many quarters to the effect that good people never last: that they die young.
Did Alhaji Isah Ademoh die young at the age of 61 years, 2 months and 8 days? Could he have lived longer than the time he lived, if he had not been good? Indeed, how bad can a person be to live longer than the good one? And how long can bad one live to enjoy his fruit of badness? Questions and questions!
It was unanimously acknowledged that the deceased was a kind-hearted, humble and God-fearing civil servant cum farmer, who rose from the lowly rank of Agric Officer 1 to the position of Director in the Agric and Rural Development Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA), from 1981 to 2016.
Just about two months to his retirement as Director in the Agric Secretariat, and indeed, from the government, after putting in mandatory 35 years of meritorious service, Alhaji Isah Ademoh had an accident in his car directly opposite the Kuje Area Council secretariat in Kuje town on December 19, 2015; the kind of accident that could be termed as funny and strange.
From that point of accident, after which he drove himself to his house, a few metres away, Alhaji Isah Ademoh had never enjoyed his body again up to the time he took the final exit from this world on Saturday. His condition degenerated from mere fever to near paralysis even though he did not develop High Blood Pressure that could be taken to result to stroke; to a complete knock down and finally unconsciousness.
Not quite four days after the strange accident, Isah Ademoh requested me to take him in my car to visit a neighbour who was reported to have been sick. But pleading from me and others around in his house, that he should take a rest, dissuaded him from going out to visit a sick neighbour with himself sick.
This scenario sums up the kind of person late Alhaji Isah Ademoh was: always caring about the welfare, happiness and well-being of his fellow human being, always planning for the happiness and good of others and so on, in spite of himself.
So caring he was that while others who have boreholes in a precarious environment like Kuje where water is gold, were making huge profits selling water to ‘customers’ who happen to be neighbours and others from distance, Alhaji Isah Ademoh allowed people, even from other villages and towns to fetch water from his borehole free. As a matter of fact, many people would go to his house with trucks load of jerricans and gallons as well as other containers to fetch water. He wasn’t bordered who were there to fetch the water: whether Christians, Muslims, men, women or children. And, the water flows 24 hours.
There were occasions when he quarreled with the persons maintaining the borehole for not telling him in time that the borehole had developed some hitches, even for a period of 30 minutes at a stretch: he took offence that people would not fetch water within that period. He spent money to repair the borehole whenever it developed hitch and to constantly flush the tank. So much he did it that when he was sick, Christians and Muslims organized regular prayer sessions in their Churches and Mosques for him to get well.
Late Alhaji Isah Ademoh exhibited so much of a high sense of simplicity that despite his position and status, he never made himself to be known or to be seen as an exceptional person. So much he did this that on many occasions, people have gone to his house to ask him that they wanted to see Alhaji Ademoh…and in most cases, he either would tell them that Alhaji Ademoh had gone out or simply acknowledged to them that he was the one.
Apart from taking part in community and religious promotions and activities, late Alhaji Isah Ademoh also took his farm, on Kuje-Gwagwalada road, as his second calling. Once he closed from work at FCTA, he would either go to his house to change dress before heading to the farm or he would go to the farm direct from office. He was a very agile, active and business-like person that you hardly would find him doing nothing at any given time.
As a matter of fact, there was hardly any weekend that he would not travel to Ebira land, in Kogi State, his birth, place to attend one community development activity or the other, and or to attend wedding, child naming and or burial ceremony or to just express solidarity to friends, relations and those he knew.
He single highhandedly financed and encouraged the translation of Holy Qur’an from its Arabic text into Ebira language, the way it had been done in Hausa and Yoruba languages. The project, anchored by the author of the first Ebira-English Dictionary, Yusuf Ozi-Usman with Sheikh Musa Onogu, Ustaz Musa Ogaminana and Ustaz Abdar-Rahman Murtada as co-authors, is now going through the process of being published, possibly by the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He also built a flourishing Mosque around his house in Kuje, besides participating and sponsoring of religious activities, including the Christian ones.
Many people whose lives he positively touched in one way or the other were asking and wondering, when the sickness fell him: what had Alhaji Isah Ademoh done to anybody to deserve this kind of condition? Was it a case of good people don’t live long?
Of course, he finally died on that day, after battling with strange sickness that saw him being taken to most expensive private hospitals here in Nigeria and Dubai, where millions and millions of hard currencies were dispensed by his devoted wife, Hajiya Maimunat and upright children.
And, again, what does his death signify?
To me, because of my upbringing and later, my personal outlook to life, Alhaji Isah Ademoh died because his time, as appointed by his creator, had come. After all, for more than a year that he was bedridden, many other people had died, some through accident, others by sickness or even suddenly.
If Alhaji Isah Ademoh could make it to 61st birthday and beyond; if he could make it from lowly position at FCTA to the highest position in the same place; if he could train his five children (Kabiru in UK, Abdulmuhayimin in Dubai, Rabiu in Dubai, Fatimah in American University of Nigeria and Nasiru in Nigeria) to the high educational level as well as high moral standard in them; if he could make pressing personal impression on hundreds of others through his numerous kindness and, if he could live a life free of hatred, grievances, vendetta, conflicts, strife, gossips and other negative vices, it doesn’t really matter how long he lived.
It presupposes that the life of Alhaji Isah Ademoh, even if it is argued that it was short, was purposeful, meaningful and above all, Godly.
Better a man lives as a good man and be identified as good man by many people than being evil, devilish and ungodly and live long (beyond 100 years).
And, of course, the difference between the two is just a few years interval!
Just like between us, the living now, and Alhaji Isah Ademoh. [myad]