The sudden death of VOA Hausa’s Ibrahim Abdul’Aziz Ɗan Almajiri today (from a car accident) left me cold. An editor’s delight, he had been around in journalism for much longer than I can ever recall.
I have never said it before, but Ibrahim it was who helped me make a little but significant bit of my history: my first television interview. In 1995, I had just returned from the UK where I bagged a master’s degree in Journalism Studies, and Malam Ibrahim invited me to become his first guest on his newly introduced world affairs programme on the nation’s first private TV station in the newly restructured broadcast industry – the DITV in Kaduna. At first, I was hesitant, even dodgy.
As the day for the programme approached, I tried to give the young presenter excuses. Because of my camera fright I felt that I was going to mess up in a live telecast, even though I had been a voracious reader of the issues relating to the topic he wanted us to discuss – the Palestinian Question. I kept telling him there were more knowledgeable and therefore better qualified people in town that he could engage. But it was me he wanted.
On the appointed day of the programme, he came to my house in Badikko and drove me on his old motorcycle all the way to the studios in Kakuri.
Both of us were inexperienced but, miraculously, the interview turned out a success. The producer of the programme was ecstatic, saying it was Ibrahim’s best presentation so far because both of us “were very relaxed and composed.” Ibrahim told me some days later that even the owner of the station, the broadcast legend Khalifa Baba Ahmed of blessed memory, was impressed.
I guess it was that interview which prompted another producer at FRCN Kaduna to invite me to appear in a live group discussion on radio a month later. The topic: the Palestinian Question!
Ever since that first broadcast with Ibrahim Abdul’aziz, I have appeared on more radio and TV programmes than I can remember, including one where I was a weekly guest for almost a year.
Malam Ibrahim and I had maintained a cordial relationship for many years, including when I made him the Adamawa state correspondent of Leadership when I was the editor of the newspaper. Though our friendship had flagged in recent years, I often remembered him with fondness whenever the words “Adamawa” and “Yola” were mentioned, or when I heard his excellent reports from there on VOA Hausa.
News of his death brought a rude shock to me today. But death is an inevitability which every soul will have to confront.
Adieu, my namesake. May Allah (swt) grant your soul eternal rest in Aljannat Firdaws, amen.
Ibrahim Sheme is a bilingual Nigerian writer, journalist, filmmaker and publisher.