What Befitting Epitaph Should We Give Late Hon. Dr. Aminu Safana?

by Dele A. Sonubi

The show of shame going on in the House of Representatives took a tragic turn this afternoon as one of the members of the House lost his life. The member, Aminu Safana (PDP Katsina), chairman of the House Committee on Health, collapsed on the floor of the House during another rowdy session. He was rushed to the National Hospital, Abuja, where he was pronounced dead. Aminu Safana was very active on the floor of the House today as he jumped up and down in ecstasy during their rowdy meeting. The pro-Etteh and anti-Etteh groups had engaged each other in a free-for-all fight–  ELENDU REPORT

They say that we should not speak ill of the dead. And rightly so too; let the dead bury themselves. However, if we can condemn the excesses of late General Sani Abacha, if we can give a face to the corrupt period of Ohi Chuba Okadigbo as Senate president, then I think I have a legitimate right to imagine; what befitting epitaph we should give to the late Dr. Aminu Safana, a man who died in the process of denying Nigeria the right to sanity and a new beginning.

I had tried very hard to stay off the discussions on the obscene development going on at the National Assembly and particularly the one concerning the allegation of corruption rocking the lower house. I thought it was best to stay off following it and or commenting about it. However, when things started getting difficult to swallow, the wise thing is to spill such thing out before suffocation.

I recalled how hard I had wept when Obasanjo gave Nigeria a befitting send off election before going into his present obscurity and irrelevance. I recalled that since then I became less interested in any product of the last April 2007 elections. I even stopped listening to news or reading newspaper until the outcry came regarding the corruption scandals at the Nigerian National Assembly. Friends were writing or calling asking me if they could come to Abuja and get contracts to refurbish legislative quarters because they heard it was the “in thing” in Nigeria now! It was at this point that I started to take curious interests in the fiasco. I listened to news and smiled to myself knowing that I expected nothing more interesting from the system.

Last Wednesday 17th October 2007, I heard the horrifying news that as consequence of the chaos at the lower house of assembly, a member slummed and died. There was no autopsy performed on him to search for the possible cause of death; he was buried the next day according to Islamic rites. This member of the legislative branch had been a medical doctor, one of the best trained doctors in Nigeria, the finest.

The death on its own does not call for special dedication from me. I am too occupied in several other things to worry my head about someone who was a sworn defender of Madam Speaker, the “proven” thief of the highest order. Ordinarily, the doctor knew what he was into and for which he paid an ultimate price. And records of history will be there to remind his children, our children and generations of Nigerian on the ridicule of the circumstances that prompted the death of the doctor. But my concern is to regurgitate and ruminate over those things that do not make sense to me before they suffocate me.

It was only some hours ago it occurred to me the illogicality of this dramatic- (not tragic) death. Dr. Safana had been trained in some of the best universities of the world, and by implication, he must have been someone of impeccable intelligence. He studied in the prestigious University of Leeds in London. Such finely intelligent, a first-class brain, a medical doctor, one with the finest fingers who became the fan, the umbrella-carrying-town crier and chief supporter of a common hair dresser and died in the processes of fighting to defend the political suicide of this hairdresser. (Hair dressing is the profession reserved for the less intelligent Nigerians, the ones who are not brilliant enough to be admitted into polytechnic, college of education or university or to get paid employment in environment requiring intelligence or mental exercises such as banks, stock exchange, insurance, marketing non-profit or teaching.)

Dr. Safana was born in April 1961 and attended the following excellent academic institutions; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he studied medicine. He also attended University of Leeds and University of London for his post-graduate studies. A public health consultant, Dr. Safana soon joined politics where he rose to become the Chairman House Committee on Health. He was at a point, secretary to Kastina State Government when President Yaradua presided over that state.

I am still having enormous troubles understanding whatever logic that must be involved in this medical doctor-hair dresser affairs that led to his death. I am not only trying to put the puzzle together, I am also wondering about the shame that this honorable must have brought upon his own family, his own associates and most of all his own legacy. Henceforth what shall the intelligentsia write as an epitaph to remember Hon. Dr. Aminu Safana? “Here lies Honorable Safana… A medical man of honor who died defending the financial scandals of a hairdresser from Ibadan”? The so-called hairdresser is not a first-class hair dresser who is over-priced with her touch of sensitive and luxuriously fluffy hair of rich tycoons in Lagos State (Ikoyi, V. I, Ikeja, Parkview…and so on) or Abuja, or Kano, or Port Harcourt, (because then one might easily imagine that she must have been one of the best in the trade). But she is the type that must have worked on stubborn hair of wives of Oshun and Oyo State political miscreants, and their garrison commander godfathers!

I recall the period of certificate forgery scandals against ex-Governor Tinubu of Lagos State’s when he had erroneously claimed to have been a graduate of Government College Ibadan. The response was spontaneous; ex-students of the college responded denying his studentship; their Alma matter must not be dragged into the mud of a drowning man. And that was the case. I wonder why the graduates from the prestigious University of Leads have not spoken to denounce the shame that this graduate doctor must have caused them and the name of their school. Should I, a graduate of Ogun State University, beginning to stop regretting not getting admitted into Leeds because after all, fine graduates from Leeds are placard carrying-soul-rendering followers of “common Nigerian hairdresser.” Perhaps Leeds is not as prestigious or distinguished and unique as I imagined.

Here lies the remains of Hon. Dr. Aminu Safana; member National Assembly (PDP Katsina), Chairman of the House Committee on Health…the strong pillar and “supporter of Madam Speaker- a hairdresser- in the on-going struggle between her critics and her opponents regarding the N628 million house refurbishing contract scandal

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Khalifa aminu March 15, 2021 - 9:32 pm

I’m back again to enlighten you that the cause of death was identified and known by the public, it was a heart attack due congenital high blood pressure that has taken the lives of many people in our family I my self am hypertensive and I’m only 20 years old so you better do your homework properly before you start pointing your dirty fingers

Dele A. Sonubi March 19, 2021 - 9:22 am

Dear Khalifa, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. I wrote this piece in the heat of the moment. Those were what I felt in 2007 when I wrote. And as you may rightly know, we may not know the man intimately when we react to his public exhibitions . This intimate part of your father you just provided me. You have shared very valuable input with me and I stand corrected. I appreciate your respect and candor. You are a good girl. And if is of any value whatsoever, I am sorry for the loss of your father. May his memories always be a blessing

Khalifa aminu March 15, 2021 - 9:26 pm

You are an ignorant fool for thinking my father was the defending that woman, my father was simply a peace maker sent by the president as the closest person to him in the government at that time to maintain the peace in the house, he lost his life protecting the honor of this country because our leaders were display chaotic acts, meanwhile nothing can be resolved by chaps, history has proven that , obviously you are confused becau you are still trying to put the puzzle together, now you’ve been educated, so no more rubbish or disrespect should come out of your filthy sewage towards my father again, my father was a highly educated individual of the highest quality, he was very religious, calm, gentle and very kind towards others , and above all he was totally against corruption, if my father had a cut in the N628b you claim the speaker at the time had stolen, I would have been flying around right now but instead I’m not, none of his children is, we are all working hard like every other average nigerian, we dont live a luxurious life like people of your category would anticipate, we live a normal life and we are grateful with what we have because that’s what he(our father thought us) and we will forever be proud of him

Dele A. Sonubi March 19, 2021 - 10:39 am

dear Khalifa aminu, I will appreciate it if you do not call me names. Calling me a fool in 20021 for something I wrote in 2007 is not fair. But I respect your opinion and accept your clearing the air regarding the fact that your father did not steal any of the money of the Nigerian commonwealth. I am happy to read that and I give you respect for sharing that opinion with me. I stand better informed and I stand corrected. As I mentioned before, when I wrote this piece in 2007, I wrote at the peak of the discussions. This was a reaction to what was in the public glare and not intricate information that only the family will know. Thanks for educating me

dele4you2@yahoo.com October 26, 2007 - 12:40 pm

Dear Readers, I want to use this space to appologise to those who felt insulted by the over-generalisation of "hair dressing" as a vocation. I appologise. As Tim said, "blame Ette for her woes and not everyone who practises her…profession" And I concur.

As at the time I was writing, I was filled with sacarsm and angry. I allowed my anger to become a basis for generalised condemnation.

Nevertheless, the idea therein are still as valid as they were expressed. Thanks all

Tim October 25, 2007 - 5:34 am

"Hair dressing is the profession reserved for the less intelligent Nigerians, the ones who are not brilliant enough to be admitted into polytechnic, college of education or university or to get paid employment in environment requiring intelligence or mental exercises…" is WRONG! My wife attended OffaPoly, UI and also got a Diploma while I did my postdoc in US. Yet she elected to open a commom 'Hairdressing' business on our return to naija so she would have time for her family. Blame Ette for her woes not everyone who practices her initial profession.

nuzo October 24, 2007 - 4:02 pm

I disagree with you on hair dressing being a profession that is reserved for the less intelligent Nigerians. You got it all wrong there.

From statistics, it is a profession for the people who cannot afford to go to higher institutions.


Dele A. Sonubi March 19, 2021 - 9:11 am

I apologise for the generalization. I will refine my language. Thanks for pointing out my error in a more diplomatic way than I could

Dele A. Sonubi March 19, 2021 - 10:53 am

Dear Nuzo, I over generalized that profession, that was absolutely unprofessional of me and I agree with you as you disagreed with me. Hairdressing is a good and noble profession. I have since opened a barbershop to help me transit that erroneous view. Thanks for knocking me awake

Willberforce October 24, 2007 - 4:12 am

Dear Dele,

Have just gone through the opinion. No doubt a great contribution to the ongoing discussions on the unfortunate drama going on in the house with a tinge of humour.

However if it must go out to the public domain you must edit your language on certain areas to avoid being sued for character assasination.

It is a good contribution. I would add my epitaph as foloows:

"Here lies a medical doctor of 'repute', a father, a husband, an uncle, a politician elected to serve his country but who died at the heat of the greatest disservice to his country and its people by supporting evil, corruption, mediocrity and gaining the reputation of a wasted intelligentia''.

How does it sound. Good night.

Dele A. Sonubi March 19, 2021 - 9:10 am

Fantastic, this sounds much better and well crafted. Thank you sir for the suggestions and for the causion I will be happy to review my expressions and reduce strong language to avoid being sued. Thank you my dear oga. Once an oga, always an oga. My dear FAM


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