I did not know Dr Ladan Salihu before 2015, perhaps because of my young age or lack of exposure to the media. When I finished secondary school in 2015, I became an ardent listener of radio and thus, I developed interest in becoming a journalist, particularly a broadcaster. Coincidentally, at the moment, there were hundreds of youths of Bauchi state who got appointments at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). I asked who the driving force for this rain of appointments coming to Bauchi was, and I was told that it was Malam Ladan Salihu, the then director general of FRCN.
It is impossible for me to mention all that I personally know to be beneficiaries of the Ladan’s appointments, but to mention a few, Alkasim Bala , Murjanatu Musa Maidawa, Buhari Abubakar Jaɓɓo, Abdulsalam Sani, Musa Ahmad Muhammad, among others, are still working at the FRCN.
This was, to me, an encouragement to keep my dream (of becoming a journalist) alive. I, therefore, chose mass communication as a course of study at the Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi (ATAP), in 2015.
In 2018, when Late Malam Ali Wakili (Senator representing Bauchi South) returned to his Creator, there was a clarion call for Dr. Ladan to venture into the political arena of Bauchi state and contest for the Bauchi South senatorial bye election in order to continue with his selfless service to humanity. When he agreed after consultations, it was, to me, a good tiding and I lent support for him.
I received many requests from politicians to support them, to be writing for them, but I turned all down. This is because politicians are masters of exploitation. They open door for callow youths to come in, in order to use their naivety. For Dr. Ladan Salihu when I met him for the first time, I was expecting him to talk to me about his political ambition, but to my surprise he asked me about my life, school, the course I read and other things related to my personal development as a young man. From experience, interaction between politicians and young people is like slaves and their masters but, my bond with Dr. Ladan is a father and son type. He has never asked me to abuse anyone, or write lies.
There was a time, in one of my writings, I used a harsh word on the former Governor of Bauchi state, Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar, Dr. Ladan was the first person ask me to edit it. This, among other reasons, strengthened my allegiance to him, because I believe he would not exploit me.
One beautiful Wednesday evening in 2020, when he was a chief of staff to Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state, I visited him in his office. After a fruitful discussion as usual, I was about to leave when he offered me a gift book, among other valuable items, to support my education. A gift of book is a gift of knowledge. This is the best gift I have ever received from any politician, because I feel for a politician to give you a book, he is indirectly telling you to read and become a responsible person. For others, they are interested only in young people who are ready to kill themselves for them (politicians) and their children to survive.
I must, without prejudice, confess that since I knew Dr. Ladan, there is no time I resumed at Bayero University, Kano without his supporting me financially, and I know he does the same to many others. There is no time we met without his asking me about my studies. Sometimes he calls during a semester and asks how I was coping with studies and life on campus. The next thing is alert. How many politicians do that? Are all these not worth reciprocity?
These are the type of people we need to have at the helm of public affairs for a better society.
Faculty of Communication,
Bayero University, Kano