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(164): Alhaji Ibrahim Lawal: A short tribute

The tribute was published a day after the death of my father, Alhaji Ibrahim Lawal, on Facebook. He was 78.

The news of the death came to me while I was alone and far away from Nigeria and Germany. I was attending the 4th Symposium on West African Languages – SyWAL2022 – in Naples, Italy. Three weeks ago, against people’s travel advice, I insisted on going to Nigeria, especially for our aged and ailing father. They argued that it was not very safe for me to visit. He was delighted to see me, and that meant everything to me.

The day my friends and I met Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu at his Sabon Titi office, they asked to see our father, and we went. As we delivered Prof.’s greetings, he began to shed tears while reminiscing their days of yore together at Bayero University, Kano. We somewhat quickly had to leave him, for only he knew what was going on in his heart.

Despite that single moving scene, I had a wonderful, memorable time with him during the trip. It was like I fulfilled his desire to see me one last time. The fact is, my relationship with our dad blossomed during my struggle to start a PhD. As I got pretty frustrated due to pressure at my workplace, which is his former workplace, and unsuccessful applications, I thought of switching cadre – to a non-academic one.

Convocation at Bayero University Kano, 2011

Our father worked until retirement as a principal accountant at the Bursary Unit of the same university (BUK). He knew the dichotomy between academic and non-academic cadres very well. Thus, he advised me to abandon the idea and vowed to pray to Allah to intervene. He said, pointing at his praying mat/seat with the Quran open, “Allah will choose the best for you”.

Weeks or months after the above meeting, I returned to him with glad tidings that I had made two “successful” applications to China and Germany. I already got a positive reply from my potential Chinese supervisor. To my surprise, our father ‘assured’ me I would go to Germany, not China. The rest is history.

I still struggle to collect my thoughts. I also don’t want to bore you with what most children consider “virtues of their parents”. Before I stop, let me add that our father believed in and did prayer a lot. That’s the crux here.

I am deeply grateful for your countless prayers and condolences via posts, DMs and calls. They mean a lot. I’m inundated and indebted. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, our other loved ones and us, amin.




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