Yusuf Suleiman, a 32-year-old businessman from the Sumaila Local Government Area of Kano State who returned salaries paid into his late father’s bank account by the Kano State Government, shares his motivation with TED ODOGWU
What is your late father’s name?
My father’s name is Suleiman Datti (Magatakardan Sumaila)
What was his occupation before his death?
He was a civil Servant.
Where did he work and what was his grade level and position in the civil service?
He worked in the Sumaila Local Government Area of Kano State as a clerical officer on Grade Level 06.
When did he die?
My father died on Thursday, November 10, 2022.
How did he die?
He died suddenly, following a short illness.
How many wives and children did he have?
Until his death, my father had only one wife and 11 children.
Are you his eldest child?
Yes. I’m my dad’s eldest child. My name is Yusuf Suleiman. I am from the Sumaila Local Government Area of Kano State.
How old are you?
I am 32 years old.
Are you a graduate?
I obtained a bachelor of arts degree in Human Resources from Cambridge International College, Britain, Sudan Campus, in Sudan, during my search for greener pastures in the country.
What is your current occupation?
I am currently a businessman, dealing with cows, which I occasionally transport in trucks from Kano to my numerous customers who are mostly butchers in Asaba, the Delta State capital. Besides, I’m a rice farmer and as well as engage in the business of supplying ordered goods and services beyond Kano State.
Are you married?
I am single. I do not have any children because I am not married.
It was reported that you returned the sum of N328,215.75 paid into your late father’s bank account, as salary from the time he died to date. Is that true?
Yes, it is true, I returned the money.
How much was paid into his account by the state government as salary within that period?
The Kano State Government paid the sum of N328,115.75 into his bank account.
How did you know that money was paid into his account after his death?
I am in possession of his cell phone SIM card with which he received bank alerts.
How much was your late father’s monthly salary?
As a GL6 officer, he earned between N34,000 and N34,400 monthly.
What motivated you to return the money?
I returned the money because of the fear of God, if I did not, Allah would ask hereafter. To be free from the wrath of Allah the most merciful, I voluntarily returned the money.
Did you discuss it with your siblings?
Yes, I did.
What did they say?
They all encouraged me to return the money, which also informed my decision.
Did anyone say anything to discourage you from returning the money?
It was after I returned the money that people called me a blockhead and a finished man, while some described me as a man with a conscience, kind-hearted, and transparent.
How did you return the money to the state government?
I met and told the governor about the money. He was impressed with my exemplary conduct. He commended me and directed his Chief of Staff to guide me through the process of returning the funds to the state government’s coffers.
What did some of the workers at the government house tell you when you told them that you wanted to return the money?
I only contacted one of the governor’s senior special assistants on Twitter. I reached out to him through the platform and informed him about the backlog of salaries deposited into my late father’s bank Account. I told him that I wanted to meet the governor one-on-one to refund the funds, as I don’t trust many civil servants with the issue of money. My dad is gone, and I want him to rest in perfect peace in his grave.
What did the aide say?
So, the SSA was pleased and promised to facilitate a meeting with the governor. He requested my phone number to reach out to me for an update. However, a few days later, I received a call from him and he told me that the governor wanted to see me. That was how it happened.
What kind of person was your father?
My late father was a kind, gentle-mannered man, with an abundance of wisdom and common sense. These virtues have guided me in understanding the ups and downs of life.
Did you learn the honesty you exhibited from him?
Yes, I did, as my father was the best teacher for me. He taught me to live a principled life, characterised by honesty, transparency, and integrity.
What else did the governor tell you when you met him?
I had the privilege to meet with the governor in person and he commended me for my exemplary and remarkable gesture and prayed for my deceased father to rest in perfect peace of Allah the most merciful.
Some Nigerians believe you should be rewarded for what you did. Did you return the money in exchange for a favour from the governor?
A favour from the governor? No, I returned the money for the fear of God, to be honest, and sincere in our dealing to be rewarded by Allah in the hereafter, which is the ultimate.
Will you accept a reward from the governor, if offered one?
Yes, I will if he does so of his own volition and conviction to encourage others in the future to be sincere and transparent.
What do you want other Nigerians to learn from your actions?
I want other Nigerians to emulate my act of kindness, honesty, transparency, and integrity because they are in line with the teachings of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Who took over the responsibility of providing for the family after your dad’s death?
Shortly after my dad’s death, the entire responsibility of providing for the family fell on my shoulders. Considering the fact that I am the first child in a family of 11, I automatically inherited the responsibilities by stepping into the big shoes left behind by my father. Everyone and everything is under my care, and I’m just toiling from morning till evening with the little I have to provide for the family. However, you know that life will never be the same again since the departure of my dad to the great beyond. It has dawned on me that my dad shouldered an enormous responsibility which I took for granted until his exit. The vacuum he left behind will be difficult to fill. Already, the burden of responsibilities I inherited from him is weighing me down.
Since the exit of my dad, things have never remained the same as I have to, as never before, randomly visit home to monitor and assess the living condition of my siblings, as the burden has fallen on my shoulders. I have been missing his absence, especially his rich words of wisdom and principled character, which I have wholeheartedly embraced, as my guiding principle. I’ve been and still am heartbroken over the loss of my dad for eternity.
Are any of your siblings working to help support the upkeep of the family?
Out of my 10 siblings, none is gainfully engaged be it in the public or private sector of the economy. I’m the only member of the family making conscious efforts to gather cash to put food on the table for my siblings to feed, as they are unemployed.
How has your mother been coping since your father died 10 months ago?
She is doing the best she can to support my efforts in providing the basic needs of the family. But, you know God is the ultimate provider of all our various needs in life. He will provide for us according to his will. Without providence, there’s no way I can single-handedly shoulder the responsibility of satisfying the basic needs of members of the family. I depend on God to open windows of opportunities for me to generate funds to sustain the family.
How does she spend the day in her husband’s absence?
All my mother does is sell incense sticks, firewood, and pepper as part of her efforts in supporting the family. Realising that my mother’s contribution is the tip of the iceberg spurs me to intensify efforts towards complementing her efforts a thousandfold.
Do your mother and your other siblings live under one roof or separately?
Eight of my siblings are still living under one roof, while one of my younger brothers lives with my late dad’s elder sister. My younger sister, who is married, lives with her husband. Meanwhile, I’ve redoubled my efforts towards generating more funds, to meet the unfolding basic needs of my siblings. I have currently increased my movement of cows to Asaba from once per week to twice weekly, all in a bid to make additional money to pay for miscellaneous services, especially that of my siblings.
Following the fresh challenges confronting you and the current inflation, will you approach the governor to bail you out?
No, I won’t because people will interpret it differently, as cleverly transferring my liabilities to the governor due to the demonstration of my transparency and honesty in returning the accumulated salaries paid into my late father’s bank account. Given the advanced argument, I will not seek the governor’s intervention, to maintain my dignity and integrity.