Tribute to Arc. Shettima Saleh by Saleh Abba


BY SALEH ABBA, APRIL 18, 2022 | 10:32 AM

"No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history"

It took me a while to pull myself together so as to pen down something worthy of remembering this great personality, who was a father, mentor and a pillar to all of us: Architect Alhaji Shettima Mohammed Saleh. An extraordinary thinker, a thoroughbred architect and first-rate technocrat.

I have been by his side in the last few days, as he struggled with life. I have avoided the thought of what was going to come, especially if I begin to think about the vacuum that would create in our lives. The family was already traumatized by the loss only few days ago of three members, including this great sage's first son. It was therefore valid to worry about how his loss after those three would hit the family.

Arch. Shettima was born on the 19th of Sept., 1952, to also-great Alhaji Shettima Saleh Gowo of blessed memory, an educationist, politician and one time Bade local govt chairman. Maternaly he was of late Hajja Wuriwa Saleh. He was born in Gashua, Bade Local Government area of Yobe State.

Arch Shettima of blessed memory had his elementary school at Central Primary School Gashua between 1959-1965 where he then proceeded to Government Secondary School Maiduguri from 1966 - 1970. He obtained his higher School Certificate in 1972, where he later proceeded to ABU Zaria to obtain in Architecture in 1980 and in Architecture in 1981.

He worked with old Borno State Ministry of works as Pupil Architect between 1978-1980, Borno state ministry of Works between 1980-1982 before he moved to join Sheltarch Associate, a private firm between 1982-1985 from where he eventually founded Hamada Design Consultants in 1985. Untill his demise, it remained his private consulting architectural/engineering firm where he kept mentoring young Architectures and Engineers.

Late Arch. Shettima Mohammed Saleh was a Co-founder of ARRASIM Nig Ltd. He had also served as a member Board of Directors and chairman of Borno State Water Board as well as Borno State Housing Corporation. He was chairman Yobe State Housing and Property Development. Again, he was the pioneer chairman of Yerwa and Gashua community banks. Still in the banking sector, he had also served as a board member of Premier Commercial Bank.

He was appointed as commissioner for Housing Yobe state between 2007-2010.

Until his death, he was A fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architecture and a Gold medalist in traditional architecture crowned in 1986. He has been a patron to many professional organisations.

He has contributed to the design and construction of many architectural edifices within and outside Nigeria. Few among them were Labour House Abuja central district, Unity Bank head office, Abuja, Yobe Islamic Centre and Mosque, Damaturu, Sharia Court of Appeal Complex, Maiduguri, National industrial court, Maiduguri, Borno Radio Television Studio Complex, Maiduguri, Nigerian Embassy Staff Housing, N'djammena, Chad. He had also designed and supervised the construction of 42 years old Central Mosque Gashua, Bade LGA. It was in fact thus in recognition of this and his other contributions to development of Bade Emirate, that he was appointed as Shettima of Bade by the Late Emir of Bade Alh. Saleh Suleiman II, OFR in 1994. It was traditional title his late father the first Shettima of Bade Alh Shettima Saleh Gowo held.

To his family and community, he was a great mentor, an embodiment of humility, a God fearing servant who took the responsibility of all without complain. He has made many great personalities out of his generosity and i am most indepted to him as regards.

His last visit to me was a huge suprise because what we are used to more often is children visiting their fathers but not in his case, he came alongside Bakura, his first son who we also lost. The feeling of hosting one of the most important personalities in my life gave me unforgettable memories. He played with my children and bonded with them so strongly in that short moment. He did all these and many more to mentor us on the need for helping those in need and keeping ties and kinship. I believe my older siblings have much more to share with us about this great personality.

Arch. Shettima is a philontrophist who invested in education and basic amenities such as water for the wellbeing of everyone. The most recent was a borehole he had dug in a remote village as a long-term charitable contribution on behalf of his late mother. Another of his gestures was the establishment of MOHAMMAD IBN SALEH FOUNDATION, which was for orphans and vulnerable women, children and other disadvantaged individuals for free education and enterprenuership. The foundation currently has over 600 beneficiaries enrolled into different programmes and running for over 14 years now.

He was an exemplary stateman, a bridge builder and progressive politician who sacrificed for the progress of his people. Of his patience and perseverance he has no known foe, never keep malice or get upset even when wronged.

It will have been our wish for him to stay longer but such is the reality of life. We must accept that we are all mortals, surely we belong to Allah and to him we shall return. Arch Shettima died on 29th of March, 2022 at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital from injuries he sustained in a Road Accident along Potiskum - Azare, which 18 days ealier claimed also the lives of his eldest son Ibrahim "Bakura", his personal assistant Sani and his driver Babagana. Arch Shettima left behind two (2) wives, eleven (11) children, grand children and many other siblings.

"We learn that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel"

May Allah forgive our departed loved ones and make paradise firdaus be their final abode.

We will surely live to cherish your special qualities and pray we fill the vacuum you left behind.

~Written by DR SALEH ABBA, ES BOSCHMA, as i appreciate all those who supported us in our trying moments, those who sent their condolences and also those who took their time to write tributes.

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