How might Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa’s ‘duty’ to his houseboy inspire us today?

What is that thing again about the greatest being the person who serves the most? I like the extension one of my former teachers added to the idea. He said the greatest person is that person who is not ashamed of the weakest and most vulnerable, who rather than prey on them or use them as fodder for self-interests, enable them with opportunities to become what they ought. Persons who do not rationalise a lack of interest or indifference to the plight of their neighbours, using the excuse of busyness.

The last definition of service offered by my former teacher is quite apt when I remember the gesture of late Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to his houseboy who was called Momoh. The year was 1958. And the late Prime Minister was in the middle of a hectic parliamentary duty; the all-important budget session. With the day’s duty done, Sir Balewa retired to his residence to catch some rest. He woke up in the night to the sound of distress coming from Momoh, who complained that he could not pass out urine. Quickly, he got dressed and rushed Momoh to the residence of his friend, Dr Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi. The time was 3 a.m. From Dr Majekodunmi’s they drove to the General Hospital, stopping briefly along the way, to pick up a senior surgeon, late Dr Simeon Awoliyi, who eventually admitted Momoh, and performed the surgery that saved his life

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