My first real friend and mentor in Barewa College was Sani Maikudi, then in the fourth form. Sani is calm, very intelligent and austere in his lifestyle.
Sani became a surrogate brother and role model. Indeed, his influence on my life was so large at the time that I decided to be a Quantity Surveyor mainly because Sani was studying to become one! I was so close to Sani and his family that I spent some of my holidays in his family home in Katsina.
Through Sani, I met and became friends with many people that would be prominent in my professional career, education and life: Mallam Mukhtar Bello, Walin Katsina, who as managing director of Allied Bank commissioned our young quantity surveying firm to handle its first high rise building project in Lagos, and other projects followed; Aminu Iro, Sani’s cousin, who I persuaded to transfer from Katsina State public service and accept appointment as the head of the Abuja Road Traffic Service during my tenure in FCT, and others too numerous to mention.
It was Sani who taught me to love reggae music of Bob Marley and U-Roy, introduced me to Dolly Parton’s country music, to read the works of Walter Rodney, Karl Marx, William Shirer, Lobsang Rampa and James Hadley Chase – and first introduced me to his cousin, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Sani remains till today, one of the most influential and respected people in my life and I will forever be grateful to him for his care, concern and guidance at critical phases of my life.
Culled from Nasir El Rufai’s memoir, “The Accidental Public Servant.”