For My Mother Hajiya Zainab Musa, It Is Goodnight…


Mohammed Sani Musa

She knew obviously that her time on earth was up; she manifested the saintly signs of a soul closer to the end. She was all over kids and even extended the same gesture to the people around her. She was biding the world farewell, while we jive at her motherly doting; she grieved in painful reality that she was going to leave us soon. She knew it but we didn’t, and the time came eventually. And the mother that birthed us left us to the great beyond. Hajiya, like those before her breath her last.

On September 21, 2016, my mother the matriarch empress of Alhaji Musa Tanko Bawa, Iyan Minna patriarchal domain heeds Allah’s call.  My mother, the regal template of homeliness, the mother hen that shied her chicks from hawks, my mother the umbrella of our existence exited the world at 71. On that day, we laid to eternal rest Hajiya Zainab Musa; fondly called Hajiya Asabe. 

Mum being ill and watching her condition take a turn for the worse was the most difficult time for all of us. Following complaints of failing health, we relocated Hajiya to Abuja for close medical attention. She got the needed medical attention and she was all life and zest. To prove the stability of her health, she took us by surprise and visited us in the office at 3pm. I had no inkling she would come to the office. She came to everyone chagrin and used all the time to fraternize with all my friends and staff around. While I watched in fascinating dexterity her rare humor during the visit to the office, nature perhaps looked at me in pitiful gaze the last live scenery between a son and his mother!

Hajiya left for Minna on that fateful date of 20th September and the next day, a call that shattered the foundation of my existence came. Hajiya had relapsed into another bout of her illness. I put up calls to her doctor and preparation was made to return her immediately to Abuja. To stabilize her worsened condition, they made a detour to Suleja General Hospital – barely at the entrance of the hospital, Hajiya breath her last! Inna lillahi Wa inna  ilaihi raji’un. Oh Allah! Make our mother Hajiya Zainab a source for our salvation and make her a source of reward and treasure for us and make her an intercessor for us, and one whose intercession is accepted.

Constricted grief enveloped us as we are faced with the reality that our mother is no more. Words failed us and grief overtook us. For us, it is the end of time between Hajiya and her children, her grandchildren and her husband. It is a closed chapter of life. Nothing weakened the soul than the loss of a dear one. It kills your resolve for any machoism, you fail momentarily to the feebleness of nature, and you are lost in trance and in reality that your mother who begets you is no more. But just when you slip into the realm of depression, you remember the provision of Allah that the world is but a temporary abode.  You get strengthen that for every soul, there is an end. Embolden with this stark realization, you take solace to turn your grief to appreciation of Allah and then dwell on the beautiful memories and legacies of your lost one.

For what we are today, it’s a testimony of Hajiya’s sacrifices. She denied herself the bliss of life to mould us into formidable reference of responsible human beings.  She gave us the template of godliness, imbibed the spirit of hard work in us, and taught us the fear of Allah as the ultimate secret of survival. Hajiya gave us what real love is and never for once led us astray. Our mother was a fascinating model of a godly woman.

Hajiya lived a life of contentment; she made the fear of Allah her compass and lived above the pettiness of life. She was an embodiment of sacrifices, a dotting mother and a loving wife. Show me an enduring African mother, I would gladly point towards my mother. She was real as nature and lived within the limits of nature. She taught us discipline, respect, diligence and love. That the family is bonded intricately today is to the exemplary manifestations of Hajiya. She was a woman of peace and valor. Her simplicity is infectious, a tool she used in moulding her family to an enviable reference. 

Hajiya Asabe as she is fondly called was a formidable canopy over us. She went beyond her limits to catered for us, sacrifices her comfort for our education, she domesticated life experiences to us. She was a strong woman in character and in conviction. I still marvel, with gratitude and appreciation, how she managed to have eleven children, including our late brother and a sister. How did she do all this through natural births, no painkillers, and definitely no epidurals?

My mother belonged to that class of stoic, hardworking and dignified women who spared nothing to see her children do better and rise higher than them. My mother was such a strong pillar to my father in her effort to see us grow up as happy children. 

Mom taught us the importance of having a relationship with God, to be faithful, to cater to the needs of others, to endure, to be courageous, to know the difference between right and wrong and taught us to make proper decisions in life.

As a mother of nine surviving children, in our neighbourhood, having nine children from a single mother was a big deal. Having a child was a blessing enough. Having two means you are truly blessed. But having nine? You have to be the special one! It was – and still is – also believed that mothers of (and indeed fathers) nine must have some special healing powers from the giver of life. Mom has been an inspiration to our family and to those who know her will attest to her unselfishness, willingness, and dedication to Dad throughout their marriage life until her last breath on earth. If we could give you a gift Mom, we would give you the ability to see yourself as others see you, and then you could really see how very special you are to us. She comes in and out of our lives and leaves footprints and memories engraved on our hearts forever. Her courage in the face of adversity and her inner strength is truly a blessing to us all. 

We appreciate the love you have shown to each of us your devotion and determination to keep our family together. You are indeed a true ‘woman of heart’, a woman with great faith, and a wonderful role model to many. We love you Mom, more than you know, you are our rock, our anchor, and our true everything and we will continue to love you forever. You have passed on, but your memories would always live on within us. Thank you for your sacrifices, your care and concern, your love and everything that you have done for us. Rest in peace Mum…..We will never forget you and we will always pray for you and love you forever. 

Hajiya Zainab is survived by her husband Alhaji Musa Tanko Bawa – Iyan Minna, with children’s among them is this author, Hon. Abdullahi Musa (Ataka) former Member, Federal House of Representatives, Alhaji Umar Musa, Alhaji Abubakar Musa, Alhaji Adamu Musa, Alhaji Jibrin Musa, Alhaji Datijjo Musa, Hajiya Aisha Musa and Hajiya Fatima Musa. 

Glory be to You Oh Allah, and praise be to You, and blessed is Your name, and exalted is Your Majesty, and there is none to be served besides You. May You grant late Hajiya Zainab Musa eternal rest in Jannatul Firdaus.

–Alhaji Sani wrote from Ministers Hill, Maitama, Abuja