“On Yusuf Buhari” is a trending news by one Hamisu Hadejia, who had a first-hand experience with Buhari’s incapacitated son.

I met Yusuf Buhari in Guildford, home to the prestigious University of Surrey, United Kingdom. I had gone to the school for my master’s degree in Economics.

I was directed to the hall where Muslim students in the university observed the Friday prayers. Apart from the need to locate a place of prayers as a Muslim, I also needed to make friends who would guide me as I struggled to acclimatise. That Friday, I made a very good and important friend indeed.

As worshipers exchanged greetings after the prayers I ran into a lanky, chocolate-complexioned, soft-spoken and very shy dude standing by the exit door. We exchanged pleasantries. He introduced himself as Yusuf and asked if I had shopped for winter wears and other stuff. I told him I hadn’t and we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet again the following day.

Early Saturday morning, while I was still asleep, my phone rang and it was Yusuf at the other end of the line. He directed me to meet him at House No 4, Sandfield Court, where he and Zahra stayed for their undergraduate studies at Surrey. We went straight to Primark Store, very close to their house. He guided me into buying winter wears, kitchen utensils and other stuff. Yusuf carried most of my items himself, leaving me with a few things. And he accompanied me to my house. We chatted for a while in my room and he left me. He was very kind to me and I concluded that “this guy must have come from a responsible family.”

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During those encounters, I never knew that Yusuf was the son of a Very Important Person (VIP) back home. He didn’t tell me and I didn’t sense it. His lifestyle didn’t bear any evidence to anything like that. We just moved along as compatriots, sharing a country, colour, culture, and above all, Islam.

Occasionally, we would discuss politics back home. And, as a die-hard supporter of Muhammadu Buhari, I would always point out the necessity of a Buhari presidency to Yusuf. I would say it was necessary for someone to put Nigeria back on track. He would just listen and nod along, shying away from a direct reference to the politician at the centre of our discussion. But I didn’t suspect anything. I didn’t have reasons to.

I only got to know who he was on a Friday when the Muslim faithful were asked to sign a petition for the establishment of an Islamic centre/mosque in Guildford. I was directly behind Yusuf on the queue, so I peeped and saw when he wrote, Yusuf Buhari. I immediately recalled a campus talk that Buhari’s son and daughter were students of Surrey. I also recalled that Yusuf told me he was from Daura but based in Kaduna.

Struggling to come to terms with how a young man of his age and time would refuse to flaunt his prominent family identity not only gave me a hard lesson but also encouraged me to ask Yusuf for confirmation. His lifestyle added to my respect for the people’s General.

Yusuf is a very humble guy. He is unassuming, unpretentious and un-ostentatious. He is reserved, easygoing and a man of few words. He doesn’t involve himself in other people’s businesses. Yusuf doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink and he doesn’t go out with girls. He is just a son any father would love to have in his family. In Guildford, Yusuf lived a very modest, decent and prudent life as evidenced by the fact that he and Zahra used to cook their food themselves – something the children of Nigerian elites will never do in the United Kingdom. May God grant you quick recovery, Mallam Yusuf!

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First published on Daily Trust and written by Hamisu Hadejia, Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State. (hamisuhadejia@gmail.com)

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