Then I confronted my Editor Abba Dabo, whom I thought was fond of me. It was through him and Engr Hamman Adama Tukur that I developed personal contact with Bamanga Tukur. He sent me to conduct interviews with Bamanga and after the interviews were conducted, I submitted them to my news Editor, Stephen Bamgbele who processed the materials to him. That was standard practice in the New Nigerian. There wasno way a reporter down the line like me could smuggle in a story in the New Nigerian to fulfil a bribery deal. I told him Bamanga did not give me a car and I counted on his support in the coming trial. He did not take the whole thing as serious as I took it and told me not to worry. Good old Abba. He stood by me.
It was Engr Hamman Adama Tukur, then the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic and junior brother to Bamanga Tukur who gave me a brighter insight into what was going on. I was a victim of high wired politics in the northern wing of the NPN. Some people there in the NPN didn’t want Bamanga, their party man to emerge as the holder of a visible office like state governor. Part of their plot was to block his access to such important media organs like the New Nigerian. They had almost succeeded when the upstart called Emmanuel Yawe started publicizing him. That was how I became target. Their hatred for Bamanga was such that they did not care to crush and destroy a young innocent journalist.
Dr Raymond Dokpesi, the Director General of the Bamanga Tukur Gubernatorial Campaign Organization (BMT) was so incensed with the false allegation that he urged me to leave the newspaper immediately and join the campaign team. I refused. I never heard of that probe panel again in my life. But I know that if Abu Banki Tapidi had not risked his career and life by daring the men of power in the New Nigerian, my life story would have been different. He stood up to those wicked men. Because he did, we became like brothers.
On his last day on earth, he made desperate efforts to talk to me from Maiduguri. He called my office several times but I was not on seat. There was no GSM at the time. He then called his sister and told her to come to my office and tell me to call him; that he wanted to talk to me. The sister did not come. He collapsed and died later that day.
The next day she came to me – yelling.
He left me with this heavy burden. What did he want to tell me on his last day on earth? I will never know. But I try to identify with his family as much as possible. Last Saturday, November 9, his second daughter, Blessing took a husband in Bauchi and I was there. The first daughter, Hannatu did that in 2007 at Kaltungo and I was there too. His third and last child, his only son, Emmanuel was named after me; he is also a graduate. Hopefully he will get married very soon.
My friend’s wife has done a marvelous job in bringing up the children as responsible citizens in his absence. God bless them all.