We were at Kpada in Patigi local government, inhabited by Nupe-speaking people. Our team had earlier been to Edu local government the previous week for installation of solar panels, touching
Bacita, Shonga, Tsaragi, Lafiagi among others. We passed through the Patigi- Kpada road getting hilariously costumed by thick dust from the recently graded road. We would go ahead and visit Mandzwakwa, Nwogi, Kpatagba, Sanchita, Gbangede Maigida, Tswatagi and Chenu on our expedition.
Kpada is another community in Kwara North with fertile land, hard working men and women, at peace with the surrounding villages. Their major occupation is farming. It is another of the three communities making Patigi local government: Lade and Patigi. While at Kpada, I saw that we were right in installing solar panels for them. We were convinced–eventually by the receiving party–that such an intervention would serve security functions and aid economic purposes in the night.
We were almost leaving before the reason for writing this article manifested. The assembling young ones , obviously in awe of the illuminating solar panels, began singing in unison. The tinge in their melodious voices and the spark on their innocent faces as they sang, befitted the animated environment. I could picture them fancying how they would run errands for their parents at night without fear henceforth. How it may have become a safe reality to delight in playful night assemblies, common in rural areas, under the bright solar light. And they had just begun taking pictures with our team and conversing with us freely, when one quizzed to our wonderment, why we chose their village.
The confident young man hardly waited to be told that Alhaji Sheriff Shagaya, out of selflessness and compassion for the people, had thought that the needy rural communities like his deserved alternative electricity through solar before he fired another salvo:
“Did this man, Shagaya, know us?”
That was it you know, the big question that could have even been on the mind of adults unsaid. You could hear them full of appreciation from one village to another, like you could bet they would be wondering why and how a man remembered them for good. From Sanchita, Kpatagba to Chenu, Gwaria, these are villages yearning for developmental interventions, unminding private efforts. That Salman Shagaya Foundation extended their brilliant 4,000 homes solar project to their corners is pleasantly surprising for them.
But if only Mohammed knew that his was the fourth benefiting local government as Kiama, Baruten and Edu had been visited before our presence in their village perhaps he would have known that a magnanimous man does not need to know people specially before he relates with , loves and cares for them.
Now I wonder if Muhammed and others shouldn’t have been told that the same man gave about 3000 Kwarans #10,000 relief money last year. That in fact, close to 10,000 people including widows, people with disabilities, petty traders and other needy bodies in the state have benefitted in the program in the last five years. That quite impressively, it does not include start- up capital for several young entrepreneurs, and payment of school fees of financially lacking indigenous students. I imagine how the young man’s face would brighten in disbelief if he knew his mother could come to Ilorin by February for Shagaya Foundation’s 17th relief money scheme and return home with an envelope of #10,000 to support her petty trading.
That is, quite frankly, not for Mohammed alone. That is just who the vintage SS, as he is fondly called is. Salman Shagaya Foundation under the astute leadership of Alhaji Sheriff Shagaya has been an unquantifiable blessing to several people. From being described as a beacon of hope, supporter of dreams to uncommon philanthropist and selfless leader, Shagaya enjoys the respect and admiration of the people because of his noble ways. It is obviously not an everyday thing to see a man spending so much on others, yet, with unassuming mien. Perhaps it explains why few truly know him. But I reserve the right to unveil the golden fish artfully even as I know he has no hidden place at a proper time.
This is to tell the world the extent we are ready to go to serve humanity. Only the pretenders come and vanish with the season. Shagaya stands counted as an affable character with the love of his people at heart. The vastly successful young business mogul is an exemplary compatriot deserving of emulation by all and sundry. If you could just close your eyes and imagine ten of his kind in Kwara State, you would know to laud his efforts in philanthropy and community development. Most importantly now that you know he doesn’t read faces before lighten them up.
Ibraheem is the Press Secretary of Salman Shagaya Foundation.