Danladi Ndayebo: When a good man dies
By Abdullahi Yunusa Ochimane
Though death isn’t new to mankind, yet each time it strikes, it shatters, demoralizes, destabilizes, diminishes, sucks and shakes us to our very foundation. No two deaths are ever the same. Each death comes with its stinging pain, numbing shock, debilitating punch and psychological devastation.
The pain becomes fiercer when it bares its fangs on people close to us. It is one phenomenon no one ever gets used to.
Sadly, and regrettably, this is the very unbearable and disturbing situation the untimely death of Mal. Danladi Ndayebo has thrown us into since the news of his sudden death broke two days ago following a road crash along the Minna-Suleja road. It is one piece of news that has left many of us who knew or encountered him in flesh and blood devastated. This is one death too many. It is akin to a monumental tragedy. This tragedy cuts so deep.
Nothing did prepare me for that late evening horrible news from my friend, Rahman Raheem. He did ask about my location, which I told him I was close to my house. Then he paused, and said, “I just saw a post about your friend, Danladi Ndayebo on Facebook. The news was that he passed a while ago. Though I was a bit skeptical about the news, but since it was reported by a close and trusted friend of his, Mr. Emmanuel Ogbeche, I think it is true”. I didn’t wait for him to end his statement before I ended the call. Quite naturally, I searched out for the number of his bosom friend, Mohammed Isa Funtua, to get details about the trending ‘fake news”. Strangely, Isa Funtua’s line was switched off. Then my mind raced to his PA and brother, Monday Abraham to bring me up to speed with the development, if any. But I later discovered that Isa Funtua was part of the crash that late evening.
The background noise, lamentation and wailing by sympathizers at Monday’s end put a final seal on what began like a wild rumour. Monday, drenched in tears, inaudibly muttered, “Baba, Oga is dead. His corpse is right here in my front”. I was all alone in the car. I thought I was in some sort of trance. What did I just hear about my boss and friend? I drove home, then logged on to Facebook and WhatsApp platforms where his pictures and tributes from friends had flooded their timelines and status! Even with the news already in public domain hours after his death, having been confirmed and reported by reputable media platforms, calls from our mutual friends kept coming in for confirmation. To manage the call traffic, I later managed to drop a terse post announcing his death on Facebook.
Mallam Ndayebo had great plans for the future, certainly, dying in such a cruel and painful manner wasn’t on the list. Undoubtedly, death is the route to eternal life, but we all pray to live long and fulfil purpose before we transit to the great beyond. Like everyone, late Ndayebo didn’t pray or plan to leave here prematurely. He was a man of countless ideas who deployed his intellectual and material resources to building network, achieving personal aspirations and empowering people around him. Ndayebo loved life, and he explored and exploited it to the benefit of all till his final hours on earth. He was one of the personalities from whom I draw huge inspiration and life-changing nugget daily.
I still recall, very profoundly, his invaluable contributions to my life since destiny brought us together in 2012. Late Ndayebo was among the few people who made my stay in Minna, Niger state quite memorable and rewarding. He wasn’t my direct boss in Government House, Minna, but he ensured I was fine and kicking, on and off duty. Minna was home away from home for me because of people like Prof. Mohammed Kuta, Mal. BM Dzukogi, late Abdulrahman Hussaini, late Mama Comfort Gana and late Danladi Ndayebo. God positioned these souls in Minna for my sake. And quite frankly, they all lived up to expectation.
Ndayebo was a fine writer, cerebral journalist and a notable PR practitioner. But these weren’t the pristine human qualities that endeared him to many. He was a rare human being. An angel in human flesh. Ndayebo was always concerned about others. Where others dispense help or privileges to people based on parochial or provincial considerations like creed, tribe, ideological or political leaning, Ndayebo stood out. His reign as the then Chief Press Secretary to former Governor of Niger state, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu and later Commissioner of Information and Strategy was both epochal and outstanding. He was very professional as he was equally diplomatic in the discharge of his duties without offending anyone.
We kept in touch years after we both relocated to Abuja. As a highly resourceful media strategist and PR man, Ndayebo was the darling of politicians, business people, government establishments and NGOs who desired topnotch PR services. I still recall our trip to Lagos in 2017 where he was a guest of one influential Nigerian. I came up with excuses to be exempted from the trip, but he insisted I must follow him, which I eventually did. That said visit later opened doors of opportunities for me. He personally asked the big man we visited to hold me. Years after, that singular gesture by Ndayebo has brought me fame and fortune. That was my vintage and selfless boss.
Sometimes last year when I muted the idea of working on some books, quite naturally, it was late Ndayebo I first consulted, then later Alhaji Yushau Shuaib. Ndayebo and I sat in his office at the Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) where he was the Executive Secretary, to discuss the content of the proposed books for close to two hours. We both had lunch in his office and rescheduled our meeting. Sadly, the very books he deposited a lot of his intellect and time into would be released in his absence! God! Oga, this wasn’t our plan at all.
My resolve to drive down to Minna yesterday morning to see your remains before being committed to mother earth was a healing balm for me. Atleast,I saw you for the final time! Very unusual, I saw you but couldn’t speak with you. For the first time you wore a frown. The caliber of people who thronged the Minna Central Mosque for your Jannaiza was a testament to the fact that you were good to the high and low, rich and poor, old and young. Mosque workers had difficulty controlling traffic yesterday. Your former bosses, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Professor Mohammed Kuta and Alhaji Saidu Ndako were present. Also present, were the APC Guber candidate, Hon. Umar Bago, Hon. Saidu Mohammed, Alhaji Musa Ladan, Mal. BM Dzukogi and a host of other personalities who came in from different parts of the country to honour your soul.
Sir, yours was a life lived in service to God and humanity. In your death, I’ve learnt that not all that hurts is evil, sometimes pain offers us the opportunity to re-examine our lives just as the Imam admonished us at your graveside yesterday. Rest in peace, my dear boss, friend and mentor. May Aljannatul firdaus be your final abode.
Abdullahi Yunusa writes from Abuja
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