Tribute to Abdulrauf Musa, veteran journalist and mentor

My dear Rauf mentor, AbdulRauf, passed away on Friday October 13, 2022 after a brief illness, at the age of 52. Rauf, as his colleagues affectionately called him, had worked at the Triumph Publishing Company, Kano; Media Trust Ltd – publishers of Daily Trust, Aminiya, teen confidence, Daily Trust Saturday, Daily Trust on Sunday and owners of Trust the TV. He also worked at Companion newspaper, People’s Daily and Leadership newspapers and numerous online media publications, before joining Hamada Radio in Kaduna as Managing Director.

You were one of the first members of staff I met when I joined Triumph Publishing Company Ltd in 1998 as a freelancer. Your mentoring relationship began immediately; 24 years ago today.

When I think of you and the impact you have had in encouraging me in the field of editorial production; throughout my professional career, and on the careers of countless others, I am almost at a loss for words to better describe you? Mentor, brilliant production editor, visionary leader, role model, advisor, trusted friend and colleague; You are all blended into one personality.

I joined Triumph Newspaper accidentally after helping someone compose their Hausa novel, while working with a private accounting firm in Kano. Triumph Publishing Company published the book and based on the information I heard, the composition was found to be very good, and so the supervisors – Garba Kamba and Abdulrauf Musa – informed the management to employ me to work in the company. They wanted to employ me, but the salary I was earning then was higher than that of the head of the composition unit. So I declined the offer, but Abdulrauf Musa however advised me to accept it and work part-time. He told me that I would have access to more practice and learn better in the media house as a Triumph staff member. As he said then, “Triumph is an institute”.

Under his leadership, during my time at Triumph and until I joined the Daily Trust Newspaper; in 2003, I was under his direction. I became more confident in my abilities, and most importantly, Abdulrauf’s subtle approach brought out the best in me.

I wouldn’t have been the person I am today without people like him. You have been a catalyst for professional success, not only for me but for so many others in newspaper design and editorial production.

I write to you on behalf of your mentees and offer you our sincere thanks. We pray that Allah bestows His mercy on you and grants you the highest level of paradise, Jannatul firdaus, Ameen.

You have motivated, enabled, supported and helped us reach this potential and beyond; you showed us the way. We all have similar stories to share of how you have personally advanced our careers. We can write a booklet about your life, if we go around collectively gathering more information about your life from different people, like Dr. Tilde did a few hours after you left.

You taught me so many things. The first lesson was about being firm about truth and reliability. “Ka zama mai gaskiya ko da yaushe”, was a regular warning from him.

Second, as a production editor, were we checking ad sizes, whether they were color or black; check the image captions on the pages before passing them to prepress for the final print, to avoid mistakes, and this has opened countless doors for me in my career.

Over the years I have known Rauf, he was a very religious person who attended all the congregational prayers in the mosque. He encouraged people to stop whatever they were doing whenever it was time to pray for it and get back to work.

I need to share another interesting story about Rauf. After leaving Media Trust Ltd, whenever he had an advertisement to place in the Daily Trust newspapers, or Aminiya, the vernacular newspaper published by the same media conglomerate, he would email it to me or come to our office himself and give me the money. He never took more than half the commission. He was asking me to take half and get half back.

On Wednesday October 5, 2022, a week before his death, he posted in his WhatsApp status that “It is by the grace of Allah that we survive terribly from typhoid. Today, the story would have been different.

And I answered immediately: “Ayya, Allah Ya baka lafiya, Ya sa kaffarane. In less than a minute, he had answered “Nagode”.

Allahu Akbar. Allah knows better than all of us. Mentors are so important and often shape our lives and careers.

I received many phone calls, text messages from many people who sent their sympathies and prayers for you, because they know how close we were.

Abdulrauf was buried in Kano. He is survived by his father, mother, wife and 4 children.

I pray to Almighty Allah to forgive your shortcomings and admit you into Aljannah firdaus; give your family, friends and all your loved ones the courage to bear this enormous loss. Ameen.

By Hussaini Garba Mohammad

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