Mukhtari Musa

We never adapt to the pain of death. The reality of losing the people we love. That one minute they’re here, and the next, oblivion. How does that even work? How is one supposed to live with that?

Living a fulfilled life is perhaps one of the most important driving forces of existence. Relatively, there is some closure in the old dying, especially when they’ve lived a fulfilled life, leaving behind legacies to shout as testament to that fact.

Perhaps not with any right of ours, we feel outraged, cheated/deceived, and deprived when it is a young person. We daringly question, and perhaps with a legitimate concern, how will the universe be so cruel. Why him? As if we have a right to it.

Maybe we should have a right to it. Why must we die? And by extension, it echoes a subtle undertone of why do we live? Or more accurately, what do/should we live for?

Beneath the false humility religion provides, there is anger and deafening rage, to our crude realization of absolute powerlessness and dependence. There is the fear of the unknown and the fear of being a puppet in another’s game.

I don’t think we truly understand why we die. All reasons I’ve come across either are, as in the metaphor of symptoms misconstrued for the cause illness, or justifications coined from the stories we tell ourselves that it is going to be okay. That we are going to a better place.

We don’t choose to be born into this world, and after long years of not finding an escape, we take a conviction to live; it is terribly difficult to navigate at first, but we get the hang of it eventually. Just then, as unexpectedly and absurdly, as deeply invading and cruel, we get taken away from it. Or worse, the people that make living worthwhile.

What a cruel manipulative thing,

“Until lions learn to write, every story glorifies the hunter”.

I came across this on the bio of my friend, and it speaks so loudly to my despair. It carries my pain, and tears, my hopes and my dreams, my worst nightmares and blissful dreams.

So, until mankind find a way to conquer death, we’ll continue to reassure ourselves that the dead are in a better place.

In the end, we may choose to re-examine the more important things. The things that matter and that we live, truly, fully, expecting to die, always, but not particularly hoping to.


It is important to describe this great personality in order to fully appreciate the context of this outrage. In a sketchy start, we can describe Mukhari Musa as a born Leader, Guide, Teacher, Friend, and Brother. I use these words especially from the way I see him. I use these words with care, hoping to capture the true essence of a man who was great and whose greatness one cannot dare miss. Not that I can claim expertise to the knowledge of him, we met barely 4 years ago, and for me, that seems like a lifetime ago.

But of the little that I know of him, he will politely, but strongly disagree with part of my outburst. He will read it, like he does all my write-ups, then send me notes on his thoughts. He’d disagree because Mukhari Musa is a very religious person. Even more important, he is a very spiritual person. And this is one of his major attractive points. The way of life this identity fuels, the discipline it promotes in him. He believes, and his resolve on that and how he lives his life, relative to taking certain positions is unwavering.

Don’t get me wrong, he caves to stronger arguments, and doesn’t miss the chance to question. He is a wandering beautiful soul. Imaginative. Original. Brilliant. His discipline is one of the major factors that drew me to him. I once asked him about it and he explained that it was rooted in his Sufi ideology. After that, I considered being a mystic so that I could, on that level, come close to this beautiful soul.

The first non-casual conversation I had with him was in 200 level (2013/2014 ish). We were walking, and the conversation took different forms. Along the line, he wanted to explain to us his grand dream in engineering. He tried to dumb down his grand idea of generating electricity using the Earth’s magnetic something mumbo jumbo. I can’t remember the details, just the feeling. At that level, my nose, all our noses were stuck in between our books, and his imagination had taken him to world’s end and back.

Musa is one of the few true original thinkers I’ve come across, and I can’t possibly put to words what that has done to me in little subtle ways.

Musa loves to read. He’s a voracious reader. Both within and outside his specialization. He’ll go through 4 textbooks for a single course. And take about 9 courses on the average per semester. That should paint a picture. He is very passionate about what he does and he gives his all no matter what.

After a certain in some national competition I had recently, Musa called to congratulate me. He wasn’t the first or anything, but in his voice was genuine happiness. He is true to his words like that. It wasn’t that decorum required him to do that, he was truly happy for me. In fact, he was one of the driving factors that motivated me to participate after my usual initial reluctance. When we got back, he was making arrangements to push the product to the next level. I have never said this to him, but when Musa is with you, you feel like everything is going to be okay. Even when we fail, there is something to be learned.

Mukhtari Musa is a genuine human being. He always means well and loves for his brother what he would for himself. I call him Mr Musa and the name sticks in some circles. A few days before his sudden departure, he wrote a short piece on the need to restructure engineering education in the country. As usual, we started exchanging notes, with a promise to discuss further, in detail, in person.

Ah, well, we don’t always get what we want. Mr Musa, thank you for the opportunity to meet with you, know you and interact with you.

His legacy to me is the way he touched my heart, and for every breakthrough in development, for every advancement in making Nigeria, the world a better place, I dedicate all the struggle to my beloved friend, Mukhtari Musa, starting with my undergrad project.

By Alamin Bugaje

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