The heart shattering demise of late Alhaji Mudi Sipikin, aged 83, on Tuesday, 19th February 2013, at the Abdullahi Wase Specialist Hospital, in Kano, on the eve of Nigeria’s forthcoming centenary anniversary, in 2014, has eclipsed a chapter in Nigeria’s history of political struggles. No qualm, his colossal exit could best be described as that of a freedom fighter and conscious public poet. Sipikin was a poet who actually knew the true calling of a public poet. The enormity of his loss could only be compared with a tragic fall of a giant village square oak whose mighty shade comforts everyone in the village.
Reputed as one of the only two surviving members, out of eight young politicians, who, in 1948, founded the radical Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), an opposition party whose leftist ideology and fierce battle against feudal forces (fully backed by the powerful and unjust colonialists), successfully shaped the vibrant politics of the First Republic.
The young Sipikin was, before his exit, also famed to be the only remaining Nigerian who actively participated in the London Conference of 1953 were negotiations were sealed on the Independence of Nigeria from Great Britain, in 1960.
No doubt, Nigeria and indeed Africa have lost one of their influential great sons. With the sad departure of our redoubtable Sipikin- a pre-eminent Hausa poet of all times who, as history would continue to capture, was not only one of the fiercest critics of colonial misrule in Northern Nigeria, but a pillar that sustained the defiant resistance against evil and injustice. Mudi Sipikin’s struggle manifestly defined his life until he died.
Hajiya Sa’adatu Ahmad popularly known as Barmani Choge, who died last week Saturday at her Funtua residence, was a consummate female traditional Hausa musician. Aged 68, Choge spent 52 years singing the ‘Amada’ genre of music with vocals and a water-filled calabash instrument, beaten lightly like a drum. Her all-female group usually entertains women. Her recorded work is also very popular among Hausa music aficionados. Born in 1945 in Katsina state, her two names – Barmani and Choge – were nicknames, one for her becoming the only surviving child of her parents, and the other because of the way she mimicked a cripple’s walk in the early days of her career. Her themes dealt with issues like women’s empowerment, education and she also scold jealous and lazy women, among other family issues. In memory of the diva, we reproduce her last interview with Weekly Trust published on Friday, December23, 2011. Excerpts: