Tribute to Samanja by Sen. Shehu Sani

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Usman BABA PATEGI popularly known as Samanja was a Hausa thespian and dramatist who lighted up the television for over four decades.His television sitcom, Samanja was a comedy that re-enacted the daily life in the military baracks.The late Baba Pategi used his experience as a retired soldier to recreate a television soap around the person and the persona of the Regimental Sergeant major(RSM) as the leading character.

Baba Pategi Samanja TV series was not just a comedy but a well scripted drama aimed at creating awareness and appreciating the service and sacrifices of our military on and off duty.He also used the television platform for enlightenment and advocacy on societal issues.His episodes addressed the problems of drug addiction,alcoholism,crime,conflicts and injustices.His drama series is always scripted to plot the victory of good over bad or good over evil and he does it in a way that entertains his audience.
Baba Pategi series has always been one that comes with a lesson and a message centred around the daily challenges,troubles and general duties of the RSM.He captivated his audience by being a man always in charge and always meddling.
Samanja brought to the screen the positive and lively sides of the military barack.The peak of his fame was in the golden era of the television 70s, 80s and 90s when the nation’s state owned broadcaster the NTA was the dominant force in our homes.The younger generation of Nigerians in their 20s and 30s are unlikely to know much about him and his arts.The coming of multiple private television stations and the heralding of the internet and social media era has completely changed a number of things including interest in sitcoms.
Samanja was an accomplished patriot who served his country in the battlefield and on the screen.He was at a time neglected by the Military until they realised their wrongs and intervened in his matter.
The late Samanja used the power of the screen and advocated for peace, unity, patriotism and brotherhood.He lived long enough to see through the journey and the struggle of the country he so much loved.He belonged to a generation that fought for unity and was so passionate about the country.
All that the late Samanja stood for, advocated and believed in are timeless and profoundly relevant.
We are all mortals,what will matter at the end is what contribution we made in touching the lives of others.Samanja has proudly accomplished his mission with honour, dignity and grace.
We can fondly remember other cast like his ‘wife’ Bariki, Mutuwa Dole and Rafter.We thank and appreciate those of them still alive and we pray for others who are now late.
May Allah forgive his soul and grant him Aljanna firdausi, Amin.
Samanja, mazan fama…so long and thank you.

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