It is already fourteen years since he passed on. Everything still look fresh in my mind, looking back at the events of that fateful day, in the heat of the campaigns for the 2007 General elections. Specifically, on Wednesday, April 18, 2007. Mala Kachallah had gone round the southern part of Borno state with the then Governorship candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, Honorable Mohammed Wakil, the preceding week. During the campaigns, he was hale and hearty, until the last leg, when he complained of fever while the campaign train was in Askira. On returning to Maiduguri, he asked me to continue with the team for the remaining tour and get back to him when we return to Maiduguri.
Just as we were preparing to go out for the last leg of the campaign tour, Honorable Mohammed Wakil called me to his inner room and informed me that my attention was needed at Mala Kachalla’s residence. He said they were leaving me behind, but that I should feed him back on what the matter was. I could sense something was wrong, but nobody betrayed any form of expression towards me, even as I went out of the house heading to Mala Kachalla’s residence on the Airport Road.
On arriving the house, there were already three groups of people in the open yard, discussing in hushed tongues. They looked away from me immediately I entered, but by then it was ominous that something was wrong in the house. I went into the house and was confronted by some prominent people, including his former deputy, Ali Abubakar Jatau. They pointed to his door and I headed straight for it, with my heart in my mouth. I did not need to be informed at that stage what had happened.
Since then, the events of that day and the attendant events in the state long after his death remind me that the peace of Borno may have departed with him. And every time I write to commemorate that sad event, I always pay tribute to his him and pray, that God should give us leaders in the mold of Mala Kachallah, so that Borno can epitomize its synonym as the home of peace. I equally pray that God should grant me the grace to remain ever faithful and grateful to Mala Kachallah even after his death.
Today, not so many people remember him, not even in the political cycles, but everybody relishes the era of his leadership as one of the most peaceful in Borno state. Mala Kachallah who, everybody prefers to call the man of peace gave every section a sense of belonging in Government, and everybody a sense of justice, to the effect that he was christened “The Captain of Peace”. Those who had the privilege of coming into contact with him, can also testify, that, Mala Kachallah was so hospitable and lavish with his resources on others, that he left office a virtual pauper. Beyond these, Mala Kachallah was Godly and passionate about his faith.
I quite agree, that, every leader has an idiosyncratic approach to solving problems; in which case such approaches may differ from one leader to the other. The circumstances surrounding Mala Kachalla’s leadership may be different from what obtains after him, but every time there is crisis in Borno state, I often reminiscence on his style of leadership. A
Often asking with a very strong sense of nostalgia: what would Mala Kachallah have done differently to solve such a crisis.
I often find solace in the activities of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, who given the rightful atmosphere, has demonstrated sufficient will and capacity to replicate the deeds of Mala Kachallah or even surpass him. I also admire Senator Kashim Shettima’s fidelity to the legacies of Mala Kachallah while he was the Governor. Both men always encourage me to keep Mala Kachallah’s memory alive. I have never ceased to acknowledge the fact that each leader after Mala Kachallah gave their best in their own ways. I am particularly impressed with the efforts of the Borno State Government which has not only immortalized Mala Kachallah, but has also prioritized his legacy of peace as a cardinal state policy. I know that the Government had always been there for his family in times of challenges. I may not know, but I am sure, certain individuals have been identifying with the family since his death. Those who betrayed him while he was alive have the opportunity to atone for their shortcomings by seeking the family out and doing unto the family what is expected of a returnee prodigal child. Sadly, the wife, Famata Mala Kachallah, who could have been readily available, has also died.
Since morning, I have read the outpouring of tributes on facebook and in the social media, and I feel that, if as much as half of those who paid tributes to Mala Kachallah and to the wife, Falmata Mala Kachallah, who died last year were to physically appear at an organized requiem for the duo, emotions shall once more quiver and the world shall appreciate that Mala Kachalla’s death was not just Borno’s loss, nay family, but a national tragedy.
May the Almighty continue to grant eternal bliss to Mala Kachallah and his wife, and may their exemplary lives continue to inflame the passion for good leadership. That his name has become sacrosanct with peace and good leadership makes one happy identifying with Mala Kachallah.
Inuwa Bwala was the S A Media to the late Mala Kachallah.