Weekly Trust

Aliyu Shuaibu: My GCFR

Of course I am not in a position to nominate anyone for Nigeria’s national honours, let alone confer them. The only time I asked how such nominations were made, I was told they originate from a recipient’s home state or an influential organisation that he/she belongs to. Whatever way these nominations are made, if I were to be given the chance to nominate someone now, I will without hesitation submit the name of Malam Aliyu Shuaibu of the Arik Foreign Exchange market Lagos. I will nominate him for the highest honour in the land too, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic.

Yes, I know that this particular honour is reserved only for the president of Nigeria and a few others, but sometimes ordinary people do such outstanding things that they beat our leaders into nothingness. In any case, according to Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, in one of his letters to the monarchs of his time, ‘a true Amir (leader) is the one who rules with absolute authority over his lusts and passions.’ Which goes to say that whoever has no control over his desires and wishes is not a leader even if the position he holds among people says that he is.

In our Hausa paper, Aminiya, of Friday 21st September 2012, we had this story about an informal foreign exchange agent, Malam Aliyu, who found the sum of 3.4 million naira in the mosque and promptly returned it to its owner. This story might not be very significant until you view it against Malam Aliyu’s personal circumstances at the time of the incident. According to the Aminiya report, he and his family had just been ejected from their residence by their landlord because he had been unable to pay his house rent. Coupled with this, Aliyu owes his business partners half a million naira in debt. With all this problems, the honest money-changer did not think for a minute, that the money he found in a bag on top of his shoes, at the mosque, was meant to be his.

In his own words ‘I returned the money to its owner because I do not wish to consume the unlawful. I know for a fact that when I found that money no one had seen me apart from Almighty Allah. They were in Euro, Pound Sterling and about thirty-eight thousand naira. By the time I converted them they amounted to N3.4 million naira. I took them with me and remained on the lookout for someone announcing some missing money but no one said anything that evening. The following day when I went to work, I heard about an announcement at the mosque that someone had lost his money there. I quickly went and said that I was the one who found it. After a few questions we confirmed that it was indeed the money I found, I gave him back his money.’

The owner of the money Alhaji Lawan Madobi was reported to have expressed gratitude to Aliyu for returning the money and explained that the money wasn’t even his, it belonged to his female business partner. Nevertheless, he still made a gift of N100,000 to Aliyu Shuaibu. Now those of us who can’t give Aliyu a befitting national honour are also not in a position to give him at least a million naira, which I believe could enable him rent a place and pay his immediate debts.

Do we dare hope that some good, wealthy Samaritans among our country men can rise to this challenge and help him out? I certainly hope so. The holy Qur’an says ‘Whoever is saved from the avarice of his own soul is among the successful.’Surah Al-Tagabun Vrs 16. Malam Aliyu Shuaibu displayed this philosophy greatly when he rose above the constraints of his personal circumstances and did what was right. Here is hoping that his story could inspire some wealthy Nigerians to come to his aid. After all the next verse to the above also said ‘If you give a generous loan to Allah, He will pay you back two-fold and then forgive you. He is Ever-Rewarding and Benignant.’ 64: 17.

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