By Adebayo Olodan
The ancient city of Bida was thrown into mourning on Saturday as an Islamic cleric and super-polygamist with 106 wives, Mohammed Bello Masaba was pronounced dead at the age of 93.
Masaba was said to have slumped twice on Friday at his residence on Kota-Woro road, Masaba ward in Bida, Niger State, triggering rumour of his death.
The rumour went virile following his inability to attend his popular Saturday morning Islamic teaching which attracts audience from within and outside Niger State.
The cleric was pronounced dead around 2pm at his Bida residence on Saturday.
His Personal Assistant, Mutahiru Salahudeen Bello in an interview with this medium disclosed that Baba had premonition of his death and had prepared for it as he recently sounded it out to his family and followers that his time was up.
“He told me recently that he has completed his divine assignment on earth and was ready to return to his creator.
“Baba also told us not to sway from the path of Islam and Allah, adding that we should always stick to his teachings on righteousness. In addition, he warned us against adultery because it is a sin before Allah.
“Late Mohammed Masaba never in his life sought medical attention in the hospital. He did not use Western medicine either for himself or his followers. He believed in divine medication from Almighty Allah”
However, in a telephone interview with our reporter yesterday, one of Pa Masaba’s most senior wives, Alhaja Idowu Masaba debunked most of the reports in the national dailies and on online medium as regards the death of her husband.
According to her, “The family is unpleased with most of the reports that went viral online and in the national dailies as regards the death of Baba.
“He never slumped twice as reported and I can confirm to you that he had been ill for about two weeks and he died on his bed around 9am and not 2pm as reported,” she disclosed.
The wife of the nonagenarian added that though the demise of her husband was painful, she however said it was not unexpected as according to her, “death is inevitable for mankind and we shall all return to Allah someday.”
On what the family will miss most about the deceased, she said, “We are all going to miss his righteous teachings and his huge responsibilities.
“Even when he was ill and inactive, he was always praying and singing the praise of Allah. He asked us to shun worldly things and be committed to Allah. He also insisted that we should love one another because without love he would not have married as many wives under the same roof.
“Now that he is no more, we will really miss him but we believe that Allah whom he served diligently is still alive,” she stated, adding that while alive, her husband was not the fetish type as he believed in Allah and His prophets.
Alhaja Idowu said even after the demise of Pa Masaba, the family will continue to live together in peace.
The body of the deceased was laid to rest at his residence yesterday in Bida with the Chief Imam of Nma Iyaoo Central Mosque, Kotaworo area, Mohammed Gadangi leading other clerics in the Janazah.
The funeral prayers was attended by Abdulmalik Ndayako, the Shaba Nupe, the second in command in Nupe Kingdom, and Usman Ilata the Kotun Nupe who is third in command. Both represented the Emirate council.
District heads and traditional title holders also came, in addition to Isa Wake, member Niger State House of Assembly, councilors of Lavun local government politicians and business men.
Nma Magana, a resident of Masaba palace described Masaba as a dedicated Muslim who promoted Islam in Nupe kingdom.
“He was a philanthropist, humble and committed to the preaching of Islam,” he said.
Son of the deceased, Mahmood Masaba, described his father as a true Muslim who worked towards promoting Islam in Bida and beyond while alive.
“My father made us adherents of the principle of justice as enshrined in our religion,” he said.
Ishak Yahaya Bello secretary to Mohammed Masaba said, “Baba warned us never to associate Allah with any evil but pray and abide by the teachings of the Holy Prophet Mohammad.”
While confirming that her husband had since been buried according to Islamic injunctions around 11am yesterday, Alhaja Idowu revealed that a mysterious worm was found in his grave writing “Allahu” each time it entangles itself.
According to her, the inexplicable sign further proved that her husband truly served Allah during his lifetime and she has doubt he will rest in the bosom of his creator.
“You will be surprised to know that when my husband’s grave was dug, we found a strange worm there writing Allah several times.
“The Islamic clerics that led the Janazah for my husband and the mammoth crowd that witnessed the burial were all surprised at the sight of the worm and its action in the grave,” she revealed.
When asked if her husband and named or chosen his preferred burial site before his demise, Alhaja Idowu said, there was no time the Islamic cleric made give such directive, adding that it was the decision of the family to bury him in his compound.
Recall that news of the cleric’s death went virile four months ago but Pa Masaba who spoke to this medium through his personal assistant frowned at the rumour, saying he is undone with his divine mission on earth.
Masaba became popular when the story of his 86 wives and 185 children went public in 2008. There was public chorus of disapproval and he was persuaded by the local authority to divorce 82 of his wives to reduce the number to four, according to Islamic injunction but the cleric rejected such entreaty.
“If God permits me, I will marry more than 86 wives. A normal human being cannot marry 86 wives but I can, only by the grace of God,” he had said.