By Sabo Abdullahi Guri
Penultimate, October 1979, the month we reported to Government Secondary School, Gwaram, which was the beginning of our journey of a lifetime in search of Western education after completion of our respective primary seven certificates.
On arrival at the school, I headed to the staff room for the necessary documentation.
While waiting for the duty master to receive us, a Peugeot saloon arrived and parked in front of the staff room. The driver and an elderly person together with a new student came out from the car, and I heard one of the teachers telling his colleague that another student has reported. I saw a fair complexioned, slim, calm and composed young man within my age bracket alighting from the car.
After the necessary documentation, the duty master asked me to wait for the lanky student who arrived in the Peugeot to finish so that both of us can be escorted to our respective hostels. Thereafter, both of us carried our boxes and headed to the dormitory area.
On our way, I asked him his name and where he came from. He replied that his name is Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna from Kano City, I equally introduced myself and where I came from.
That was the day I met Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna in 1979 and it was the beginning of our relationship. Since then, we have maintained this relationship and contact through mutual respect as classmates and friends.
At the dormitory, we were allocated our respective hostels. Nasiru Gawuna was taken to House Seven and I was sent to House Ten, but we were allocated the same class; that was Form One D.
I was appointed the class monitor while Nasiru Yusuf was appointed assistant monitor, and we served as liaison between the staff, school authority and our colleagues in the class.
I remembered with nostalgia that first day, as we also met in class during evening prep, which was observed after every Asr prayers during week days.
When we closed, he asked me to join him and see his hostel. I can vividly recall that when we arrived, he opened his locker and offered me biscuits and a sachet powdered beverage drink known as Treetop. I instantly rejected and thanked him for the gesture, but insisted that I must take.
After staying for some few minutes, he escorted me to our hostel, and on our way, he said he initially got admission at Kawaji Secondary School but his parents insisted that he will go to boarding school and luckily his admission to GSS Gwaram came before reporting to the Kawaji Secondary School.
Gwaram Secondary School was newly established at that time, and our set was the first to be admitted after the school’s relocation to its permanent site in Gwaram, though there were other senior students who transited at both Kazaure and Sumaila.
At that time, incessant cases of bullying and seniority by senior students forced a number of our classmates to transfer to other schools because they cannot withstand the maltreatment, but we stood our ground and endured the hardship.
Boarding school life during our days was memorable, eventful and historic. It was also a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds. As new school and pioneer students that did not pass through the transit system, we were also opportune that the population of our sets numerically was the highest at that time with students from almost all the nooks and crannies of the old Kano State, and others from Kaduna, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and some South Western States.
At that time, classes were not over crowded, as the average number of students per class was between 30 and 35. There were also adequate teaching and learning materials.
Apart from academic activities, students were fully engaged in extra curriculum activities. After school hours, the sporting arena was a beehive of activities after school hours. Even the dormitory side had table tennis facilities within the balcony, while weekends were slated for members of social club, drama society, and many more recreational activities.
With his football and table tennis skills, Gawuna was also an active member of the Boys Scout brigade, and he was subsequently appointed the Scout Troop Commander.
His passion for Scout and ingenuity in commanding Scout parade made us think he might either join the military or police after leaving school. Gawuna mastered the art of rolling scout stick while leading parade and students cheered him up during Scout events at the school.
He encouraged most of us to participate in Boys Scout, he taught parade to both old and new members as a tall and lanky person he was also extremely good in jogging.
In terms of academic performance, he was among the best five students, competing favourably for first or second position in examinations.
Not only that, he was also an active member of the Muslim Students Society. I can vividly remember that Gawuna was among the few of our classmates who initiated the present Gwaram Girls Unity Secondary School Mosque which started as prayer area and eventually became the school mosque.
His simplicity made him command the respect of all among our classmates and other senior students. For that reason, he was nicknamed as brothy, meaning a friend and brother to all.
His name traversed Gwaram to Dawakin Kudu Science Secondary School where he completed his secondary school in 1984.
One other quality of Dr Gawuna was his sharp and good memory of almost everything he came across. He can remember names, faces, and events no matter how long it takes. Our 2020 GOSA 84 reunion meeting in Kano was a good example. He remembered everyone’s name.
During our last Old Boys meeting, which he personally hosted, he interfaced with old friends freely without the routine of his aides as a deputy governor.
Although Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna was in Gwaram Secondary School for only two and a half years before proceeding to Science Secondary School Dawakin Kudu, he always identifies with the school and old class mates from Gwaram Secondary School which was his stating point in secondary school life.
Some of our old classmates that passed the Science School Examination includes Hafizu Muhammad who is now the Special Adviser to the Executive Governor, Office of the Deputy Governor. They are best of friends and brothers from Gwaram and they went to Dawakin Kudu together and also proceeded to UDUS together. They are like twin brothers.
The rest are Pharmacist Bala Garba Gwaram of FMC Birnin Kudu; Salmanu Isyaku Kiru; Suleiman Talle Galamu Katanga, presently a Deputy Commissioner of Police to mention but a few who are all are presently professionals in their own rights.
Our colleagues who sat for and passed the Science Secondary School Examination to both Dawakin Kudu and Dawakin Tofa left a great vacuum at that time. Almost every one of us felt their exit from Gwaram because we started together after leaving our respective primary schools. We experienced school life together, we became so intimate and now they have been moved to a new environment away from their old friends.
For Nasiru Gawuna, even at Dawakin Kudu Science, he was exceptional. We understand he was made a Deputy House Captain, a responsibility that was for only senior students. It was like record breaking to see a junior student holding such a responsibility.
Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna as a Deputy Governor can best be described as a bridge builder with uncommon character and discipline.
He is a generous, honest and trustworthy person who can be entrusted with a higher public responsibility, as a loyal deputy governor.
Gawuna is also a reliable, dependable and straight forward individual with wealth of experience in public administration, economics and diplomacy. Indeed, he is a kind of material needed in our present-day political arrangement.
The recent wedding fatiha of his daughter again proved to many people that indeed Nasiru is a bridge builder. Dignitaries from different parts of the country and beyond were in attendance. Politicians from different political backgrounds were also there to rejoice with him for attaining such a big stride in life. To see the marriage of your biological daughter is a great opportunity to every parent, and indeed Dr Nasiriu Yusuf Gawuna is a making a difference
*Sabo Guri Writes from Dutse, Jigawa State