By Rayyanu Bala. Justice Sidi Muhammad Bage, the 17th Emir of Lafia, is a man who abhors injustice in all its ramifications.
Indeed, he is a man whose humility knows no limit and his compassion descends all known boundaries and parameters.
Since his emergence as the 17th Emir of Lafia following his selection by the kingmakers and subsequent endorsement by the Governor of Nasarawa state, Umaru Tanko Al-makura, the accolades pouring in from all corners were overwhelming. And the message in all the accolades centres on the new Emir’s integrity, humility and compassion. Justice Sidi Bage’s good character traits are legendary just as his baggage of benevolence and pedigrees are enticing such that even the undiscerning minds can not but appreciate his choice as 17th Emir of Lafia.
I grew up to know Justice Sidi Bage as a man of simplicity and from my little knowledge of him, he is one person that never allows worldly things over- shadow his logical thinking. Those who know Justice Sidi Bage can attest to the kind of person he is: full of integrity.
I have two personal experiences of the new Emir of Lafia that I can’t help but share here.
My first encounter with Justice Sidi Bage’s simplicity and humility happened sometimes between 1976 and 1977. (I can’t recollect the exact year).
What happened was that he (Justice Bage) bought Honda Benly motorcycle from Alhaji Salihu Mairafi (Sadami) and directed his late younger brother Usman Bage ( Daraja) who was my very good friend to go and collect the motorcycle from late Sadami’s motorcycle show room at ‘Raleigh’ located at GSS Lafia junction.
I went with Daraja to collect the motorcycle, but neither Daraja nor I then knew how to ride but after a second thought, I childishly took the bull by the horns and mounted the brand new Honda Benly. On our way to Unguwar Doka on the motorbike, we had an accident, though we did not Sustain injury, the bike was terribly damaged. We were terrified and afraid of how Justice Bage would react to what has befallen his brand new bike which was then a dream of all his contemporaries. (Yes to owned Honda Benly in Lafia in those days was thing of pride).
To our uttermost surprise, when Justice Bage received the news of what happened to his Honda Benly (Honda Belly that he has not set his eyes on), he was so calm and inquired about the state of our health.
Yes, this my personal experience of Justice Sidi Bage as explained above avidly demonstrates the simplicity, the composure, the calmness, the compassion and the humility of the 17th Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage.
My Second experience was when he served as magistrate in Barikin Ladi. Still this very experience happened with same late Usman Bage (Daraja) at the center of it.
What happened was that there was a man that has a case in Justice Bage’s court in Barikin Ladi and without his (Justice Bage) consent, he took a ram to his house as gift. Late Daraja without the knowledge and the permission of his elder, brother went and slaughtered the ram and packed the meat inside deep freezer.
When Justice Bage was home, he discovered lots of meat, so to speak, inside freezer and asked of the person that packed the meat. The late Usman Bage (Daraja) narrated how a man brought the ram and he (Daraja) used his initiative to slaughter it.
There and then, Justice Bage became furious and rained abuses on his younger brother for taken that initiative and immediately directed him to load all the meat inside his car and he drove straight to the house of the person that brought the ram and offload the meat with stern warning on him not to ever try that again.
Justice Bage got the man to understand that he was not the type to be tempted and made it categorically clear to that the man that he was not the corrupt type.
He further stressed to the man that he is the type of person that dispenses Justice without fear or favour and assured the man that if he has a good case, he (Justice Bage) will not hesitate to deliver judgment in his favour and if the reverse was the case, he will not hesitate to deliver judgment against him.
What Justice Sidi Bage told the man who brought ram to his house in Barikin Ladi constituted his guiding principles for the whole of his years in the bench, culminating at his promotion to Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Undoubtedly, Justice Sidi Bage is a benevolent man. His benevolence transcends all boundaries of human affiliations and diversity.
His character trait makes him (Justice Bage) to command respect from the old and the young, the rich and the poor. His selection therefore by the Kingmakers as the new Emir of Lafia, to say the least, is but a triumph of integrity, humility, compassion and benevolence.
Justice Bage mounted the royal throne of Lafia Emirate amidst pomp and pageantry.
His triumphant entry to Lafia amidst a long convoy of well wishers and royal courtiers from his Abuja residence some weeks ago, was spectacular. And true to his character, Justice Sidi Mohammad Bage in his maiden address to the people of Lafia, harped on unity and togetherness.
“I am reminding the people of the Emirate that we are one, we must unite to develop the Emirate and I pledge to be just in my dealing with all.”
As the people of Lafia and indeed, Nasarawa state get set to celebrate his coronation as the 17th Emir of Lafia on 3rd of May, 2019, what keeps resonating in their minds is praises to Al-mighty Allah for providing them with Justice Sidi Mohammad Bage as the new Emir of Lafia and Chairman Nasarawa state Council of Chiefs.
Congratulations, Your Royal Highness.
Allah Yaja Zamanin Sarki.