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Isa Gusau: A part of me is gone



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By: Yakubu Ahmed BK


Innalillahi Wa’inna Ilaihirrajiun. Death – the ultimate leveler has knocked on the door (as it will on ours) of Malam Isa Gusau, the Special Adviser, Media and Strategy to the Borno state Governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum.

Isa was a complete gentleman, a professional and a loyal friend who gave his all to what he so much loved. Years my junior but almost at par with those who began before him.

Our paths crossed in Maiduguri early 2000 or thereabout and we clicked almost immediately, because we shared many attributes. He was Daily Trust’s Correspondent in Borno and I was Concord Press Correspondent there too, after I had spent 10 years as a Reporter and later a News Editor with Borno Radio Television Corporation BRTV. If you work in Borno, you just have to be at your best. Borno has a way it builds your confidence and sharpens you into a courageous person – and of course into a go getter. He was courageous, and one thing nobody can take away from him was his professionalism – one hell of a writer if you would.

It was not for nothing that he meritoriously served former Borno state Governor (now Nigeria’s Vice President) Kashim Shettima as SA Media for eight solid years from 2011. It was not for nothing again that Kashim Shettima’s successor Babagana Umara Zulum inherited him – and was glad to have done that. Isa was somewhat irreplaceable, no carbon copy of him, take it or leave it.

We spoke last some two weeks ago and believe me even though we were close, he never uttered a word about what he was going through healthwise other than the general knowledge even amongst his closest friends that he had some challenges which we all thought he had dealt with since his surgery at a hospital in India a year ago. It was he who called and as usual, he had some professional suggestions on how I should handle certain PR issues of my Principal in my position as the Commissioner for Information and Culture Kebbi state. We have become used to checking on one another on the professional realm. Each time either of us called, it must be about what either he or I thought should be done to advance the frontiers of image making for our respective bosses.

Since my appointment as Information Commissioner some five months ago, he became restless for me to hit the ground running and to make “that first impression.” The advises we offered to each other were mutual, but I must confess that I drew much more from his fountain of knowledge than he did from mine. That was obvious because he has image managed and PR consulted much earlier than myself and had done it more successfully. The fact that he achieved that much in a state that was not his attested to his capacity and ability in the area he had chosen for himself.

A part of me is gone and I just can’t decipher where to run to when I hit that point of creative slowdown. Of course, we drew from each other but my sense of loss was made worse by the reality that I must dig out with bare hands since one of the shovels is gone. Allah ya jikan Isa Gusau.
Yakubu Ahmed BK is Commissioner for Information and Culture, Kebbi state.

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