Tribute: Ode To Baba Jack Wulari Mbaya

(1ST JANUARY 1932 – 4TH AUGUST 2016)

If only he could raise his head just to catch a glimpse of the roll call at his burial and subsequent funeral, he may have desired to return and stay a little longer, knowing that so many people still yearn for his fatherly love and religious tutelage. Those who were witnesses to the twin events can attest to the fact that, although not an indigene of Plateau state, Jos, the Plateau State capital served as a rendezvous for so many people, ranging from the clergy, educationalists, community leaders, professionals and even the business community, with the town coming to a virtual standstill for Reverend Jack Wulari Mbaya. Everybody at the occasion had clamored for an opportunity to give good testimony or the other about their relationships with the late teacher, preacher and church leader, who lived all his life in the service of others. But the few testimonies permitted by time and space, seem to have captured the general mood, to the effect that, Reverend jack Wulari Mbaya, was an embodiment of virtues. According to his children, each of whom wrote something about their father, the late Reverend Gentleman left so many legacies, and his death equally left a vaccum in their individual lives. One could hardly find tears to weep, even if one had wanted to, b ecause, the mourning had turned into an avenue for celebrations, taking into cognizance his enviable footmarks in the sands of history, and his indelible records in the services of God. At 84, one like me woulkd have been too young to give his biography, but accounts given by his bossom friend, Honorable Hamza Nganjiwa, one time member of the house of representatives, has it that, Rev. Jack wulari Mbaya, popularly called Baba Reverend was born on the 1st day of January 1932 to the family of Kuthi Kinnm Mbaka and Taiwai in Billa village of present Kwaya Kusar Local Government Area of Borno State.He was the 3rd of 5 siblings namely, Rev. Mari Mbaya (Late) Mallam Yalma Mbaya, Mrs Hannatu John and Mrs Mary Pindar Dibal (Late). He was amongst the few, from his
area that benefitted from western education, having enrolled in the then Church Enlightenment Programme at Billa in 1948 to 1949. From there he proceeded to Marama for his Juniour Primary Education in 1949 to 1952before moving on to Garkida for his Senior Primary Education between 1953 and 1954. In 1955, Jack became a Provisional Teacher, and Between 1956 and 1958 he attended a Teachers’ College in Waka-Biu. He then became a Teacher and taught in Marama Primary School between 1959 and 1962. He was transferred to Jen (now in Taraba State) when he taught and later became the Headmaster. He served there from 1962-1965. Rev. Jack advanced his educational career to ATC Kano in 1967, where he graduated in 1969. He returned to Waka-Biu and worked as a teacher between 1969 and 1970. He furthered his education again by enrolling into ABU Zaria in 1970. He graduated with a Bed. (History) in 1972. In 1973, he came back to Teachers College Waka-Biu and assumed office as the Vice Principal of the college. In the same year he was transferred to Azare as Principal of GSS Katagum (now FGC Azare). Between 1976 to 1978, he was transferred to GSS Gwoza as the Principal. He was later transferred to GSS Nguru and he served there for two years (1978-1979). He returned back to Teacher’s College in Waka-Biu and
headed the College for six years (1975- 1985). He attained the position of a Zonal Director in Monguno between the years 1985-1988. He returned to Gwoza and served as the Zonal Director from 1989-1992, where he retired from service. Rev. Jack Wulari Mbaya attended other training courses, one of which was Administrative College of Nigeria in Badagry. He met his wife Tobi Thedima Yoksa Meli Hena in 1954 in Marama. They got married on the 19th of December 1961 in Billa (present day Kwaya Kusar LGA, Borno State). Rev. Jack Wulari Mbaya was a God fearing man, prayerful, loving, caring and dedicated father, grandfather, great grandfather and husband who was always there for his family. He is a disciplinarian to both his children and many others that he has raised. He was always in the kitchen with Mama, assisting in domestic chores. After his retirement from secular service, Rev. Jack Wulari Mbaya proceeded to Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN) to train as a Gospel Minister in 1994. He graduated from TCNN in 1996. Rev. Jack served as Director, Theological Education by Extension (TEE) between 1996 and 1998. He attended Haggai Institute in Hawaii, USA in 1999. Thereafter, he was transferred to EYN No. 1 Garkida in 1999 and he was ordained a Reverend in 2000. He was later transferred to EYN No. 1 Utako-Abuja in 2004 where he retired from his service as a full time Minister in 2008. However, in the year 2009 he was called upon by the EYN President to proceed as a Missionary to Makurdi, Benue State. Yielding in obedience to that call, the first and present EYN Church was founded and established in Makurdi. Thereafter, he returned to Jos in 2011, where he continued his advisory role to the EYN family until he was called home on Thursday, the 4th of August 2016. He is survived by his wife, 8 children, 29 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and many adopted children. Rev. Baba, as fondly called, loved studying the Word of God, sharing the Word and taking a long walk to keep fit. His last prayer and desire was “one more soul for the Lord”.

By Inuwa BWALA


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