By SANUSI MUHAMMAD
In 2007, for the concern to the plight of the downtrodden, the needy and the deprived, Hajia Mariya Isa Yuguda, established a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to provide succor to those in need as well as to immortalize a great philanthropist, a business mogul, a politician of substance and a public servant of repute who availed his wealth to the service of humanity, Senator Ahmed Rufa’i. He lived an exemplary life and died serving humanity in 1994 as a respected community leader and a reference point.
The philanthropist was born in 1919 in Misau of Bauchi state and distinguished himself through thick and thin as a community leader, a liberal religious scholar, an industrialist and a philanthropist.
In his public service career, he was a parliamentary secretary to the premier of the defunct Northern region, Sir Ahmadu Bello Rabah, was a member of Northern House of Assembly, chairman Nigeria Ports Authority, pioneer Bauchi state chairman of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and a second republic distinguished senator.
It therefore became imperative to immortalize such a great personality whose record of service serves as a reference point to making the world a better place for all.
As the foundation was founded by great minds, it aims at promoting the ideals of care, support and unquantifiable service to the less privileged and the vulnerable of the society irrespective of any imaginary difference, focusing its attention to making the society free from the ravaging effects of critical diseases the likes of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and the threats of poverty, squalor and malnutrition.
In tandem with the ideals of the late philanthropist, the foundation has over the years created an enabling environment for the control and prevention of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, thereby enhancing the various capacities of respective governments and non-governmental organizations whose mandate is to provide succor to infected/affected persons by the ravaging effects of the three killer diseases and to facilitate the development of national policies and plans geared to the promotion and prevention of the identified focal points as well as foster partnership between government agencies and civil society organizations with a view to reducing the effects of those diseases.
Apart from those focal points, the foundation has over the years waged a war against stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS and provides accessibility to qualitative health care service to those already affected with the pandemic as well as strengthening institutional capacity in the general fight against the three killer diseases.
The foundation has offered several financial and material supports to Persons living with HIV/AIDS and families in distress situations to justify its cause.
It also promotes voluntary counseling and testing for the cure and prevention of mother-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and provides free legal aid to persons discriminated against being HIV/AIDS positive and tuberculosis and also provides necessary support to orphans and vulnerable children as well as promoting capacity building to women in reproductive health and educates the rural populace on the necessity of common hygiene and accessibility to healthcare service.
An in-depth perusal into the achievements so far recorded by the foundation shows donation of relief materials of over N15million to victims of flood disasters in Misau, Toro and other local government areas across Bauchi state as it provided N3 million relief materials to victims of various fire disasters and rainstorm in the state as well as periodic supply of food supplements and other necessities to improve the living condition of PLW.
ADRF has also distributed over 5,000 treated mosquito nets, blankets, detergents, baby lotion, powder and food items to women and children in distress situation across Bauchi state as it supplied free anti-malaria drugs and delivery kits to the 13 general hospitals in the state and Karshi community in the Federal Capital Territory to pregnant women accessing anti-natal service,
These apart, the foundation supported 24 groups under the umbrella of Network for People with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWAN) and established several support groups in various local egovernment areas across Bauchi state in a determination to achieve its objective.
In his remarks at the distribution of relief materials in Misau local government area, Maidalan Misau, Barrister Ahmad Ibrahim Dandija said, “It is on record in the history of lending support to humanity, ADRF has justified its establishment and has provided succor to the rich, the poor. It has provided life support to all irrespective of any inclination, be it political, religious or otherwise. It has provided nutritious feeds even to animals and birds during the Avian influenza out break as it provided to humans. We are all proud to be associated with the foundation”.
Supporting the statement, Moukhtar Abdu Magas, a director-general to Governor Yuguda on public enlightenment said, “Apart from waging a war against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, the NGO has been in the fore front for sponsorship of various conferences, seminars and workshops as it sponsored 12 participants to Sokoto State for community training of facilitators capacity enhancement training and supported two stakeholders to an international conference on AIDS in Mexico in 2008 and has been providing succor to inmates in various prisons as well as payment of fines with the hope of reabsorbing them as repented citizens into the larger society”.
The profil of ADRF president, Maria Isa Yuguda, may be anchored on absolute determination and self discipline from a humble home. People say, “the lady is mechanically driven, whilst others say, Maria will never compromise anything including time, once she makes up her mind. She will remain religiously committed, at the detriment of any other thing, including her personal pleasures and leisure”. By and large, she is a systematic personality that believes in function and efficiency. She hardly embraces any venture that is technically unfruitful to humanity. She holds the notion that life is in phases and humans are in sizes. She often says, “Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well”. Her convictions completely changed her focus in life. It avails her, the motivation to initiate change, engender progress and produce results in any assignment she undertakes. Anything contrary, is not in her attitude either to accept or to censor. Dramatically, she humbly declines worthless, needless and kangaroo projects and only goes for quality and necessity, unmindful of cost of implication once is in the interest of humanity.
In literature, Maria has borrowed a leaf from great philanthropists the likes of her father. Senator AD Rufa’i, a man possessed with the spices of human dignity and human relationship. In all his life, there were no visible traces of confrontational acrimony and hostility in unethical proportions. Senator Ahmadu Rufa’i, had an excellent spirit of friendship. He is well spoken of and made acquaintances in sizeable number beyond anything else in his life time. Of a truth, his amiable qualities, close affinities and latent gestures were smashing and stunning in every dimension of his life.
In the same consideration, Maria dovetails with the mind of a people. She comes to the fore, not by chance but by choice. A great number of the people were point to point with her ideology. Her amazing simplicity, humility and fraternity, makes her an indispensable ally in the midst of them.
Maria’s policy of fraternity is such a strong moral booster and a source of spontaneous inspiration to all who may wish to tread the path of excellence and virtue in life for the good of humanity.
As a true patriot, she cares for the people, respects the ideals of service to humanity with affection for all the people all the time.
ADRF foundation has truly touched the lives of many and is serving humanity to the very best without borders. In such situations, what is desired is support and commitment of others for more achievements to catapult the NGO to greater heights without borders. ADRF has scored goals where similar organizations failed. The NGO has touched the lives of many positively.
Muhammad is the Editor of a Bauchi based weekly Newspaper, The Trumpeter/Kakaki