” We curse you this day 21st June 2020. How we wish you never existed on our calendars. You have removed our Grand commander of the poor from us. Our lawyer , our , father of the orphans, our husband of widows, our farmer that feeds the poor, our bank that dole out school fees for the indigent children . Death , Why are you so cruel to us, why not take us instead of him. We look into heaven whence does our helper comes again”
This was the echoes from the wailling women of Akpacha Communities who had converged at the entry gate of the sleepy village of Akpacha as the blarring sirens of the Hearse heralding the final journey to the mother earth of Justice Ibrahim Shaibu Atadoga on the 24/ 7/ 2020.
The women were not alone in the songs of sadness, the twinges, the vegetation and indeed men and women of good conscience from all walks of lives were enveloped in the tales of what would become of the numerous responsibilities his death has left behind.
The elderly, the young, orphans, widows and the indigent held their fingers in their mouth in profuse tears, some rolling on the ground bemoaning what has befallen them.
Akpacha , an ancient town in Ibado Akpacha district in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi state has been in mournful mood since the news of the demise of their God sent helper Justice Ibrahim Shaibu Atadoga filtered into the village on the 21/7/ 2020.
The news to them was “an April fools”of the century, but the reality dawn on them with arrival of his remains as they couldnt be consoled , praying, if at all there could be a replacement .
Justice Ibrahim Shaibu Atadoga, meant the same thing to all the people both of his communities, the ECWA, CMML churches and humanity in general. He was a replica of Jesus Christ on earth. He went about doing good and he went home doing good.
Justice Ibrahim Shaibu Atadoga , born 61 years ago , lost his father at the age of Eleven years (11) and so could not have a comfort of early childhood. His life is rooted in hardwork, commitment to faith in God which he derived his strength from his favourite Scriptures Mark 11: 22 25 ( And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God . For verily I said unto you, , that whatsoever shall say unto this mountain, Be removed and be thou cast into the sea and shall not doubt in his heart , but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Although , he was devastated by the death of his father , he kept encouraging himself in the lord and determination to succeed got him a job at a tender age of 12 as a trip boy with FCG construction company , who were then handling Ankpa Ojegboju – Oturkpo road in Benue . He was later transferred to Maiduguri where the hands of God was in a hurry to reward his faith with uncommon favours.
The Young Ibrahim Shaibu resigned from FCG in 1974 and enrolled for a three months training in Typing and shorthand and afterwards got a job with North Eastern state Ministry of Works and Housing Maiduguri and with hardwork and dedication to duty , got accelerated promotions with Pensionable status.
Not satisfied without a university education, the teenage Atadoga registered for Exams Success Correspondent College lagos, the variant of distance learning programme and in two sittings, he passed six credits at a GCE O level and thereafter cap it with Advanced Level (AL)
At this point , his dream of acquiring a University Education has started manifesting. In 1977 he got a new Job at MRT Consulting Engineers New Marte 120 Km of Maiduguri traversing round the state. He was later transferred to kano , from there, he gained admission to Benue state School of Basic Studies (SBS) Ugbokolo which incidentally was his encounter with four walls of a school after 9 nine years.
He then gained admission to ABU to read Law at second attempt and graduated in 1985 , and was subsequently admitted into the Nigerian Law School Lagos and was called to Nigeria Bar in 1986.
He began his law practice with establishment of his law firm , Ibrahim Shaibu and Co in 1989 after a stint with Wada Abubakar and co. This development birthed a thriving practice for him as he handled briefs in states across the federation. His firm was appointed external solicitors to Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority. ( LBRBDA) and on creation of kogi state in 1991 , moved to Lokoja, where God Almighty capped his stewardship with amazing promotions.
He was instrumental to the establishment of Community banks in Omala, Dekina , Ankpa and Idah LGAs and opened branches of his law firm in Anyigba and Lokoja.
From his firm , he joined the public sector as a pioneer Director Corporate Affairs in the ministry of Justice of which he was instrumental to its establishment. Thereafter, he was moved to Directorate of Legal Drafting and later promoted as Solicitor General/ Permanent Secretary of the ministry and in 2010 he was appointed a Judge of the newly established Customary Court of Appeal. He succeeded Hon. Justice S.K. Otta who retired from service and he has been in the office from 2011 as the President of the kogi state Customary Court of Appeal until fortnight ago that he was called home.
However, Justice Ibrahim Shaibu Atadoga, having passed through herculean childhood , might have unwittingly entered into covenant with his creator to change the narratives of people of his stories.
His early encounter with the Christian Missionaries of Many Lands ( CMML) had fired his philanthropic gestures towards persons with challenges. He was an ardent believer in Faith and the hands of God in human lives. He was an active member of Christian Law Association Fellowship of Nigeria, Fellowship of Christian Students at ABU and remained patron till his end.
He was also a member of Full Gospel Businesses Men Fellowship International . He established Akpacha Children Ministry which holds every December 31,st to January 2nd where hundreds and thousands of children across Omala LGA are fed with the words of God and introduced to Bible games and activities even as packs of gifts and schools supplies are given to them.
He sponsored numerous indigent children to schools and ensured they accessed quality education equal to his biological children. He also sponsored lots of lawyers through law school. He is a father to hundreds of graduates, He was a pillar of support in his village Akpacha and ever ready to assist, Children, Youth, Men, Women, ; Elderly, Orphans, Widows and Traditional Rulers.
No wonder, that barrages of tributes from the high, mighty and the lowly have been pouring in testimonies to the hidden and open qualities of the late Legal Icon.
In his highly inspirational worded piece, the Governor Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, said, the late Justice Shaibu ,was reputed as God fearing and emphatic man who treated everyone with courtesy and kindness. As a jurist, he was a workaholic judge who set stellar standards of integrity and excellence on the Bench and lived up to the lofty ideals of law and jurisprudence.
His Deputy , Chief Edward Onoja, lent his voice as he noted that Hon. Justice Shaibu lived a fulfilled cycle whether as a lawyer, a husband , a scholar or statesman who was much more a soldier for the kingdom by his fruits here on earth.
To Rt Hon. Aliyu Akuh, former Deputy Speaker KSHA and a chief Mourner ” Like a candle ; you came , you lived ,you loved , you served and you conquered. You are a selfless ecclesiastical colosus and inspiration to my family and the entire world. A golden heart stopped beating, hardworking hands were put to rest. Glory to God Almighty for fulfilling the purpose you were created for your generation.”
In the same vein, the immediate former governor of the state Captain Idris Wada on whom he administered oath of office in very decisive manner – disclosed that the news of the sudden demise came to hime as a rude shock and sadness. He added that Justice Shaibu was a great man and very special human being. ” He was courageous , forthright , and incorruptible Judge. He was an erudite Jurist who dispensed justice in the mold that presents Judiciary as the last hope of the common man. He has left a gap which will be difficult to fill. ”
Others are Ruth Gross Carlson , daughter of Paul Enefu Anyigba and Akpacha, founder of CMML who was a childhood friend of Justice Ibrahim Shaibu, whom she called Ebilai has this to say.” I remember you way back then from more than 50 years . I remember your quiet thinking ways , your intellectual conversations so advanced for your age.But did I know then the magnificent greatness that was within you. Did I know then how God would speak so plainly to you, shiw you that he was both your father and mother , and your everything. For back then you seemed to be lost and lonely boy , hoping , praying , for something to happen in your life.
To Paul Gross Rappold of the Mom Missions Teams, Love Kayleen M. of the Syndera brothers and Fervent Disciples of Jesus Christ and the Wheelers Sisters of Stewardship Company Ikah all poured out their heartfelt condolences.
Amidst sobbing, Chief Musa Okpanachi , Ogah Onu Itama ( Gbede ) said they have been closed to each since 1985 when , Atadoga squatted him at ABU. He added that the other two Omala sons with him then were Johnson Ocheni Edibo and Akwu Suleiman.
According to him” He wouldnt take offence no matter the provocation. He has been exhibiting philanthropic tendencies, infact he was a man of God. He possesses large heart. One day he called me, and told me that he has a large farm and he would like me to supervise it for him.
” In Akpacha, Ibrahim was their second God. He pays School fees for not less than 14 undergraduates whom he didnt know them from Adams. His death has created large vacuum for the villagers. His roles will be difficult to fill in terms of securing employment for the people and philanthropic activities ” He opined.
According to him, people should concern themselves on how to make humanity better. Money is good but not a solution to problems. When his death was announced , Children, Widows , Youth and the elderly were enveloped in mourning.” He lamented
He advised for a shift from self to humanity as whatever one possesses and store up for one self , one day he will leave this planet earth adding that Justice Shaibu has finished his assignment and called on all and sundry to emulate his good works. ” Whatever you share will multiply whereas what you held on to remained stagnant. Justice Shaibu is resting and I wish him eternal rest.
Ministering at the funeral service, the kogi state Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) Bishop John Ibenu stated that the philanthropic tendencies of the late Atadoga does not just happened, but an attitude he cultivated from childhood. He added that their stay in ABU was an inspiration to the body of christ even as his humility and love for Christ was unequalled . ” He was a God fearing personality and I wish him eternal peace.
In the same token, Reverend Isaac Ogohi of the CEFN church warns people against the last day of which some would be condemned into eternal misery while others into glory according to ones work on earth.
Meanwhile, his first son , Atadoga Junior Shaibu has this to say ” A father is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader , an examplar , a confidant , a teacher , a hero , a friend.”
According to him, his daddy led him from childhood and ensured that he never lacked anything even at a time of difficulties , they were made to bear it together.” I thank you daddy that you worked hard to see that I become the best in life and redirected my steps to my friends and savior Jesus Christ. What consoles me is , you are in a better place fellowshipping with Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” He affirmed.