Adamawa State has once again been thrown into mourning with the demise of one of its illustrious sons or better still “fathers”, most distinguished Senator Paul Wampana Vimtim.
For Adamawa North senatorial District, it was dirges of sorrow and lamentations as this year took both the young and old to their graves in total submission to the will of God. Early this year, we lost the crown Prince of Mubi, a young, and vibrant public servant with promising potentials.
Barely few days after, another tragedy struck, with the death of my boss in NTA Yola (1979) Alhaji A A Tafida.
Oh! what a great and monumental loss to my people!
As humans, it’s natural for us to lament over the death of good people, but the fundamental issue still remains; who are we to question God in dispensing His ultimate powers? No way, my people!
The death last weekend of Senator Wampana in his sleep in Abuja is shocking to the Adamawa community in the FCT in particular and Nigeria at large. A passionate and compassionate politician who lived a good life to the glory of God and mankind.
I have known Baba Paul Wampana since 1970 or thereabout in Mubi, as a teacher and one of our elders with promising potentials of leadership of his people. Very modest, amiable, humble and unassuming personally, who lived a life that was generally characterised by determination, confidence and tireless pursuit of excellence and fair play to mankind. When parading some of the best tradition of Democrats of Conscience, the late Senator will surely but steadily top the chart in his constituency. If my memory serves me right, he had Grade II certificate or NCE in Education which was rare to come by in those days. Very tall, well educated and a delight to see his “gangling” frame walking majestically along the streets of Kolere Mubi.
Baba Wampana was an extremely popular politician and without any fear of contradiction, the best ever to have come from the Vimtim axis. His love for his people and major landmarks left behind at this sad moment of his demise has definitely left an indelible mark on the sands of time that may take the next century or more to be equated.
At a very early stage in life, Paul Wampana had shown tremendous promise in his political career. Born in 1946 at Vimtim in Mubi, Adamawa State, the late elder statesman was the speaker of the defunct Gongola State House of Assembly. He stirred the leadership of the Assembly with philosophical calmness devoid of drama, legislative rascality and the proverbial banana peels.
Wampana, was not only a crown Prince in the political development of his people, but was in fact a king maker and an ‘oracle’ that must be consulted in the face of difficulties.
Baba Wampana was never a religious bigot nor was he an extremist as a detribalised Nigerian.
During the Second Republic under the late President Shehu Aliyu Shagari, Wampana served as Minister of state for Public Health in 1983. Very gender sensitive with all inclusiveness as a philosophy of life, the man represents all that is good and noble.
As a successful family man, a father, grand father and proud dispenser of goodwill to the masses, Wampana was never an arrogant shoulder that hoodwinked his people with gross impunity nor did he join the bandwagon of professional looters with predatory instincts on our common patrimony that subsequently became ‘famous’ for filthy display of dirty wealth, despite the ‘juicy offices’ he held in Nigeria.
Baba Paul Wampana died as a nationalist and a pan Africanist of great repute. Though he died at 74, the man, Paul Wampana, could be described as a highly respected politician, whose love for humanity found its deepest and most profound expression in his quest for service of his community.
I could recall with great nostalgia his last public appearance at the National Centre for Women Development in honour of our great Association – the ACA, in Abuja on Saturday, February 29, 2020. We exchanged pleasantries and as the outgoing Secretary General of the Association, I had to appeal to him fervently before he agreed to join some of his contemporaries like Alh Dahiru Bobbo and others too numerous to mention at the front row that was reserved for our elders. I had to act as an aid to support his well-built frame in descending the steep steps of the central Hall.
Seeing him looking aged and a bit frail, I had a quick flashback on the then Paul Wampana; tall, energetic and profoundly exuberant like the British Stallion on a race course.
His love for his children is also enduring. I could recall with enviable respect how he personally distributed his son’s wedding cards, a wedding he couldn’t see due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
As we celebrate the life and times of Paul Wampana, I want to appeal that the ACA should rally round the son, with a view to giving the young lad a befitting wedding after the burial of distinguished Senator Paul Wampana.
As he goes home to meet his maker, may he rest in peace. May God grant the immediate family, distant relations, the people of Mubi and Adamawa community in the state and those in the FCT, the heart to bear the irreparable loss, Amen.
Death is a journey that every living soul must undergo.
As the curtains have fallen on the man of the people, we shall always remember Senator Paul Wampana for his legendary kindness, wise counsel, virtues of humility and strength of character in turning challenges to opportunities for the good of humanity.
Good night Baba Wampana!
Ibrahim Modibbo is an Abuja-based journalist and public commentator.