BY SANI USMAN KUKASHEKA, SEPTEMBER 24, 2022 | 06:15 PM
One cloudy evening of Thursday, September 8, 2022, while passing through the streets of Biu, Biu Local Government Area of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria, I came across this uniquely painted house in beautifully attractive colours. Everything about it was painted in green, white, and green, Nigeria's national colours. The roofing, overhead water tank, walls, gate, and pavements. The sight was so attractive. So naturally, I was interested in finding out more about this good citizen and patriotic person whose love for his country is unimaginable. Therefore, I sought to know whose house it was from our driver-cum guide, Mallam Salisu, a staff member of Nigerian Army University Biu (NAUB), a man who seemed to know about the town and everything in Biu. He said it belongs to one highly patriotic person who, because of his love for our dear country, goes by the name "Mr. Nigeria" and is popularly known as "Green, White, Green." I asked Salisu to stop the vehicle and park in front of the house as I would like to admire it more and possibly meet this great Nigerian. I was not alone; Alhaji Sultan Hassan, a wonderful and jolly good fellow who was with me, followed suit. Thus began our search for Mr. Nigeria, or "Mr. Green, White, Green," as he was popularly known.
We knocked on the door (precisely the pedestrian entrance). After a while, there was a response from a pleasant and humble young man called Samson, who turned out to be the son of Mr. Nigeria. After exchanging pleasantries, and introductions, we told him our mission; we were fascinated with their house and would like to meet his father. He told us there was an emergency at Biu General Hospital, where his father works and he has gone there. Nonetheless, we talked some more, reiterated our desire to meet this tremendous Nigerian, and left for the General Hospital, looking for him. Thankfully, he was able to attend to the matter with dispatch and was informed that we were at his residence, so he left for home; thus, we missed each other. We nevertheless had to go back to the beautiful house. Samson responded to our knocks, opened the gate, and told us that his father was in. As we entered the compound, Doctor Dibal Arhyel Wandali, “Mr. Nigeria” or “Mr. Green White Green”, in his trademark dressing of white embroidered with green colours, approached us, stretching his right hand for a handshake and welcoming us to his excellent abode. He ushered us into his tastefully furnished living room devoid of formalities. Of course, everything in it was also in green, white, and green, from the roofing to the floor. The walls, other ornaments, interior decorations, and furnishings were all in Nigeria's national colors. Without wasting much time, his lovely wife greeted us and offered us refreshments: assorted non-alcoholic drinks and water. We spent time talking with Dr Wandali and his family as if we'd known each other for years. In being a small world, and by sheer coincidence, Alhaji Sultan Hassan happened to know another retired senior military officer, Air Commodore John Dibal, who was just coming into town, and he also joined us.
But who is a patriotic Nigerian obsessed with our national colours to the admiration and envy of some? Dr Dibal Arhyel Wandali is a highly qualified and experienced medical laboratory scientist with extensive hands-on expertise and experience in the set-up, implementation, and monitoring of laboratory programmes, and he works at Biu General Hospital, Borno State. He has been working as a medical laboratory scientist since 1987 and takes joy and pride in being a Nigerian. This fact was attested to by all those that knew him. He usually dresses in green, white, green dress and celebrates the national day with his friends, family neighbours and children offering them gifts. All his cars are painted in green, white, green colours too.
He was born on October 19, 1963, in Wandali town, present-day Kwaya-Kusar Local Government Area of Borno State. He had his primary school education at Wandali Primary School from 1971-1977. He then proceeded to Government College Maiduguri, where he graduated in 1982. Shortly after that, he was among 60 indigenes of Borno State to gain admission into the Polish Medical Institute "I.P. Pavlov", Bulgaria. He graduated in 1986. He was at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) Zaria from 1991-1992. He did his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme at the then National Guard Medical Reception Station (MRS) Sani Abacha Barracks, now Mogadishu Military Cantonment Hospital, Abuja, from 1992-1993. Dr Wandali was at the Federal College of Veterinary and Medical Laboratory Technology (FCVMLT), National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Plateau State, Nigeria from 1998-1999 and the University of Jos from 2003-2005, and 2018 for further studies. He also served as a Technical Aid Corps Volunteer in Rwanda for two years, from 2001–2009.
He has been an External Assessor of Medical Laboratory Technicians/Assistants examinations for more than 15 years. In addition, he has been involved in designing quality and health safety sections of operation plans in the country.
A multi-linguist, apart from his mother tongue (Bura), Hausa, and English, he also speaks fluently and writes in Bulgarisky (Bulgarian) and Kirwanda. He is a happily married man with children who enjoys promoting Nigeria, participating in health talks, and watching documentaries in his spare time.
While we were seated, Alhaji Sultan Hassan made a call to a friend of his, enquiring whether he knew Mr. Nigeria and his penchant for Nigerian colours. The man on the other end answered in the affirmative and added that he wouldn't be surprised if even the colour of his underwear could also be Green, White, Green. We didn’t dare but this could be true because even the casings of Mr Nigeria’s two mobile phone handsets were in Green, White, and Green colours! Same for his timepiece. Indeed, it was an incredible honour to meet such a hospitable and patriotic Nigerian as Dr. Wandali. It is not surprising that he is called Mr. Nigeria or Mr. Green, White, Green, and he likes promoting Nigeria. Everything about him is about Nigeria, its national colours, ethos, and values.
There is no doubt that people like him are rare; highly intelligent, humble, compassionate and a case study in nationalism and patriotism as they bring hope and a great sense of inspiration about the great future for this country especially at these trying moments. His hope, aspiration and optimism about Nigeria is unparalleled. It is, therefore, desirable that he should be emulated and further encouraged through recognition and reward by the relevant government agencies. God bless our country, Nigeria, amen.
***Please note that this piece was published on page 10 of today’s Daily Trust newspaper (Saturday 24th September 2022), with the title “At home with Mr Nigeria” on their Encounter page.
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