Monday, 22 October 2012

To Auwal Shanono, tribute to a life cut short Written by Ibrahim M.B. Abubakar Friday, 08 July 2011 00:00.

To Auwal Shanono, tribute to a life cut short
Written by Ibrahim M.B. Abubakar
Friday, 08 July 2011 00:00
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“We are from Allah, and unto Him we shall
The weekend 4th to the 5th of June, 2011 will forever
remain indelible in the hearts of medics across
Nigeria, and most especially family and friends of the
34th NiMSA president.
That was the ugly weekend that the 34th NiMSA
president comrade Mohammad Auwal Bala Usman
Shanono passed away in violent circumstances.
Indeed late Shanono was a fine leader, a true friend
and an emerging national asset cut shorts at his
prime. Shanono died on a mission to safeguard the
lives of our sisters, aunties and mothers! He met his
death while on his way back from a sensitization rally
on reduction of maternal mortality (if NCWS were to
choose a man of the year, who will rather fit better
than Shanono posthumously).
My first encounter with Shanono was sometime
around August of 2007 in Abuja during the Nigerian
Medical Students Association (NiMSA) unity General
Assembly(unity GA) organized by the Nigerian
Medical Association, NMA to harmonize NiMSA back
into a single entity after the emergence of factional
leaderships. As destiny will have it Shanono was
nominated to be the co-secretary of the unity GA that
ushered in the 2007/2008 NiMSA leadership.
That he who scribe that NiMSA shall live!
As a people of faith, we believe that it is Allah’s will
that we live and eventually die; as the Quran rightly
says “every soul shall taste death”. That is correct,
but in peculiar circumstances like the ugly incident
that led to Shanono’s death, it is permissible for the
kith to seek justice holistically. Though most of us
have refrained from asking why someone will kill
Shanono while on national assignment, because we
believe so Allah ordained, but we still ask for justice
for that our silent hero whose life scared in the sight
of Allah and protected by the laws of the land was
terminated for no justifiable reason.
If I am asked to describe the person of Shanono, I will
phrase it thus; a true comrade who came from a
humble beginning and blossomed into a modest
leader who lived to serve his people remarkably.
In his sojourn as NiMSA leader, he made outstanding
achievements. He was able to among many other
crucial achievements, established strong friendly ties
with related Governmental Agencies and other NGOs.
He hosted a national health awareness rally at
Shanono LGA of Kano state where
Patients were attended to and given free medical
treatments. He has also as NiMSA helms man led
participatory delegations to many health awareness
A very notable feat under his leadership was the
successful hosting of the 5th Africa Regional Meeting
(ARM-Abuja-2010) under the auspices of the
International Federation of Medical Students
Association, IFMSA. It was a purpose driven event
with the theme “Millennium Development Goals,
MDGs 3, 4, 5 and 6 the journey so far in Africa”.
The event was well packaged to educate and
incorporate youths in promoting the ideas and ideals
of the MDGs and prompting their implementation
before the target year of 2015. I could recall how
visibly elated the then state minister of health was as
he declared open the ARM plenary when he saw in
the audience not only delegates from African
countries but even those from countries outside the
African fold, there were over 200 delegates all on
Shanono’s invitation!
Memories of my many personal moments with
Shanono echo as I write, just one for the purpose of
this piece. I remember sending him a text message
on the occasion of the 2010 Eid el-kabir, jokingly
asking for my Sallah ram, I did not receive a delivery
report at that moment, it was only around 7 pm that
he called telling he just saw my message that he was
just arriving the country from Tanzania and on his
way to Abuja. He actually was in Tanzania to attend a
function organized by the Tanzanian Medical
Students Association. He also jokingly said my
presidential ram was on its way. Shanono was out on
assignment on Sallah day! That is just one out of
many of the sacrifices Shanono had to make in the
service of NiMSA.
True to his words, Shanono was in forefront
promoting the interest of Nigerian medical students,
sometime around February of 2011, there was an
accreditation embargo handed some medical schools
by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria MDCN,
my school (UNIMAID), UNN and Shanono’s ABU Zaria
were affected. I was in unceasing contact with
Shanono being the General Secretary of my school’s
association. My constant push and I believe in his
good resolve, he went to Abuja to see the council’s
registrar, he even sent me a text message while at
the registrar’s office, that was the humble voice that
spoke for over 40,000 medical students in 35
medical schools across the country.
My last meeting with him was on the departure of
the first National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of
the 2010/2011 NiMSA executives held at ABUTH
Zaria. He came down stairs from his hostel room to
the students parking lot to see us off, where I and
three others from BUK were waiting to board the BUK
buss to Kano and I will transit to Maiduguri same day.
He brought two branded note books souvenirs of the
national health rally and gave me saying I was a
household in Zaria how he wish I will transfer back to
Zaria, till we meet next he remarked... He then said
we may probably meet at BUK’s health week and that
was to be the weekend that Shanono will meet his
The news of his death enveloped the entire ABU
medical college and sent all and sundry into a
mourning mood as I came to learn. The management,
staff and students made a powerful delegation to the
Anguwan Kanawa residence of the Shanonos to pay
their last respect to the fallen hero medic and
condole with the family.
No one would have summarized the scenario better
than his father did when I called at the Shanonos to
condole them, he said to me “Auwalu got a lot of
praises, it was Allah that gave him such a leadership
position and it is His will that he took him away now
when he is needed the most”. That is certainly the
true picture of the gigantic vacuum created within
the ranks of NiMSA politics.
Abubakar, a medical student like the late
Shanono, is Secretary General, University of
Maiduguri Medical Students Association

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