George Daniya

By George Daniya

 

Hussaini Isah

Late Hussaini Isah

I was so excited, as were the followers of Niger Tornadoes Football Club of Minna, when the Niger State governor, Dr Abubakar Sani Bello watched Match Day 21of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) between Niger Tornadoes and Kwara United, at the Bako Kontagora Memorial Stadium, Minna.

In the stadium, I was already planning what to write; I told my colleagues that my piece will centre on the need to have a new stadium befitting the status of the darling team, Niger Tornadoes. As I turned the story over in my mind, little did I know that my storyline will be altered.

 We had a couple of functions on Monday, a day after the Tornadoes game; notable among them was Gov Bello’s visit to New Minna Orphanage Home. It is a beautiful home. It comprised common rooms (where the inmates gather to watch television), separate dormitories for adult females and males, dormitories for children, and a cradle for toddlers. There is also the playground for children, and then the security is a topnotch, as everywhere is connected to CCTV monitoring gadgets.

Thinking my day’s activities were over at the Government House, I was informed that the governor would attend the finals of the annual local boxing competition that is held at the UK Bello Arts Theatre, Minna. So I left the office for home, where I refreshed since it was billed for 5:30 pm. In spite of my renewal, I felt somehow, an eerie feeling, but I couldn’t fathom it. Nonetheless, I proceeded with my preparations, went through my wardrobe, and decided to wear Niger Tornadoes home kit used during the 2017 AITEO Cup final. Little did I know that I was restless because one of Niger Tornadoes’player was no more, killed by a motorcycle rider. Hussaini Isah, Niger Tornadoes left back, had been hit by a motorcyclist. I received the sad news while I was in an official function with the governor at the UK Bello Arts Theatre. I tried to hold back tears, but the more I tried, the more the tears gushed to my eyes. The Tornadoes jerseys even made matters worse for me; the more I saw people in the club’s jerseys, the more I felt like bursting into a cry. I tried to hold it from my bosses, and I was almost getting away with it, thinking that my courage had paid up, that no one saw my private pain and gloominess, when someone, just informed about Hussaini Isah’s shocking exit, came to comfort me. He knew that I was the immediate past media officer of the Tornadoes club; unfortunately his efforts at consoling me only broke down the sluice gate holding my tears. A deluge of tears flowed down my cheeks. A professional colleague, Safiya Yaman of the Prestige FM, saw me sobbing, then alerted Oga Jide, one of the governor’s aide, who came and inquired what was happening to me. He tried to comfort me. A lady, probably a security agent, came to my side and, while comforting me, picked the courage to ask me who I had lost. When I mentioned the player’s name, she shouted,“Jesus,” and added that the player just played a match yesterday. That is death for you. Death the ultimate mystery no one can explain.

Hussaini Isah was a humble lad, respectful, and dedicated to his job. Isah was among the players that gained NPFL promotion for Tornadoes and played in the AITEO Cup runners-up finish, which the team lost to Akwa United in a final that was decided by penalty shootouts. Undoubtedly, late Hussaini had brought glory and cash awards to the club.  For their performance at the AITEO competition, the Niger Tornadoes won a cash reward of N10m from the organizers of the AITEO Cup, while Governor Bello, while receiving the team after the AITEO Cup campaign, rewarded their performance with another N10m.

 I wanted to use the presence of the governor in the stadium to make a case for the N10m cash reward. And he was so excited in the stadium; his jubilation, following the equalizer from the foot of Eric Frimpong, the Ghanaian import, which cancelled the goal from former teammate, Segun Alebiosu, now playing for Kwara United, said it all. Gov Bello was full of praise to the Nigerlites playing for Kwara United; he saw as a sign of development and appreciated that the state indigenes were excelling even beyond their shores.

After the match, the governor wished his team had won, but he called the 1-1 draw a fair result.

Towards the end of last year, he commended Coach Abubakar Bala, then the coach of the Ikon Allah Boys, but the coach had gone to the opposing team after being axed, and the governor told him that he had come back home “to suffer me this time.”

LAST WORD

On receiving the shocking news of the demise of Hussaini Isah, one of the fast raising left backs in the country, the governor expressed shock that the young lad he just watched yesterday has passed on. Indeed, when the Tornadoes played Kwara United the day earlier, Hussaini was one of the best players on the pitch that day. The death of Hussaini Isah hit me like a Tsunami; I spent four years with him in the club. I am so sad because this gentleman of 25 years got married barely two months ago. He got married March 29, 2018. I feel for the young widow, but who are we to question God’s will. Adieu my brother, may God receive your soul in His paradise.

 

TAURARUWA