SIR: Understandably, one of the goals of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is to make Nigerian youths, leaders of tomorrow – to know more of their country, its cultures, its people and its diversities.
For this reason, the Nigerian youths upon graduation are sent out to serve their fatherland for one year outside their states of origin. So it was when skinny, slightly built Muhammadu Musa Bello graduated from Ahmadu Bello University in 1977, the NYSC authorities found he was from Adamawa State and chose to post him to Lagos State.
The Lagos NYSC handlers, when Walter Oyatogun ‘Wakie –Wakie’ was their spokesman, also decided to post Bello to Holy Saviour’s College, Isolo. That was when corps members T. Ayuba, M.M Bello and O. Amupitan became flat mates in Isolo -three young Nigerian graduates from Plateau, Adamawa and Kwara states were brought to Lagos to face a little southernisation, designed to weld Nigeria into a better whole.
Did I hear somebody say the morning shows the day? This axiom is very true of Muhammadu Musa Bello. It was in the era when if you were a Nigerian varsity graduate, you would have been trained to be as good as anyone else from any other university across the globe.
There were only five universities graduating students in Nigeria as at that date. They admitted the best leaving the rest to seek admission abroad. That was the era that produced Musa, as we simply called him then, and he was very good and diligent. He taught two streams of Form Five with 50 students each, and many students again in Form Three.
Believe me, it was a herculean task, because in truth, those pupils had neither seen much of good tutoring nor imbibed the culture of determined self-scholarship. The long free time from Friday to Monday, when yours truly would have been whisked away to Palmgrove to rock whatever Owambe that Lagos could offer, Musa would stay back in that backwater environment forming lesson notes and marking some 200 scripts, as if he was a true staff, not a mere corps member.
In those roaring years of the 70’s, when Nigeria’s problem reputedly was not money but how to spend it because of its abundance, when not many people placed much premium on matters of faith, Musa was different. He would get us to lower our booming stereophonic system and chatters that he could knock his forehead repeatedly to the ground on five separate occasions per day.
Much later on, when I learnt Musa had become chairman, National Hajj Commission, I heaved a sigh of relief that people were beginning to put right pegs in right holes. Now again after many meritorious years’ service to the Muslim ummah, Musa has mounted to this place of greatness as Minister of the Federal Republic, in a government of progressive tendency. Now it is clear; those big big books on socialism that Musa was always pumping down his gumption were not in vain after all. He has finally helped the berth of a government that plans to put premium on the needs of the Nigerian people as a whole, not on only a few thereof, that Musa has been propounding since his youth, even as a Lagos corper. Congratulations Honourable Minister, FCT
Source: The Nation
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