I first heard his name as the Governor of Kaduna state during Murtala/Obasanjo era while I was in secondary school. Buhari then was the Federal Commissioner of Petroleum.
I didn't know much about him until we met at The Buhari Organization (TBO) in 2002 when he served as the first Vice Chairman of the group.
From our intimate association at TBO, AVM left three strong impressions in my mind.
First was his deep commitment and passion for Nigeria, as could be seen in many colleagues of his who served under Murtala. Even as late as 2014, he tried, without success, to 'recover' me into the political struggle of uprooting the status quo. He did not know that unlike in 2002, I have grown older than my age.
Secondly was AVM's unusually abundant energy. Even in his seventies, he could match the middle-aged in vision, passion and stamina. He spent a lot of that energy as the deputy to Buhari when founding the TBO and in many other ways, before and thereafter, for the advancement of our common good.
Thirdly, AVM had an unassailable command of any language he spoke - and he spoke many. Of course, his mastery of Hausa language is a given, coming from Jigawa State. He spoke it without 'algus', mixing it with English words, a defect in most of us.
In English, he was among the three most proficient Nigerians I have ever met. The other two being Dr. Ali Adamu, a former lecturer colleague at Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto and Malam Sule Yahaya Hamma, the former Secretary to Kano State Government during the tenure of Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and the Director-General of TBO for the eleven years that it lasted. When the three speak, anywhere, anytime, I always get drown in the ocean of their beautiful phrases and seamless flow of language that I hardly pay attention to the content of their speech. Whenever I gladly dwell at the bottom of that ocean, it was always the "how" not the "what" of their speech that mattered.
AVM was exceptionally proficient in Fulfulde to the extent that few its indigenous speakers can attain. It is beyond me. I surrender! And so was he with Tiv and some other languages.
He has been the Chairman Board of Directors of Freedom Radio, Kano, where I met him last in 2013 and discussed on the phone on three occasions later. Of course, in all the instances, as it was in TBO, the subject was Nigeria, Nigeria and Nigeria.
AVM was gifted with so much health. He hardly fell sick. However, as mortal as we all are, he suddenly fell sick few days ago and was rushed to London for treatment. He was not to return. It was his land of destiny. Last night, he died there, not prematurely but unexpectedly.
I extend my sincere condolence to members of his family and to our father, the Emir of Dutse, to whom the late AVM served as Waziri.
May God place him among the righteous who "will dwell among gardens and rivers, firmly established in the favour of a Mighty King."
ان المتقين في جنات و نهر / في مقعد صدق عند مليك مقتدر.
Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
2 October 2017
2 October 2017