Quintessential Battah: A Portrait of Engr. Battah Yaga Ndirpaya, FNSE

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By Engr. Bello Gwarzo Abdullahi, FNSE

To say I am shocked about the death of my bosom friend, confidant, mentor, colleague and a committed, nice and easy going person is clearly an understatement. Since his death I still can not understand how it happened and why this time. But death is an inevitable phenomenon that defies logic. It comes without notice and we can not question God. As I woke up to the reality of Engr. Battah’s death I come to inescapable conclusion that it is not how long one lives in this world but what impact one makes within the time he lived. The life and times of Engr. Battah is a study in focus, tenacity and an abiding desire to impact meaningfully on the lives of people. This he achieved with candor and commitment.

It was in 1982, at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka that I first met Engr. Battah Yaga Ndirpaya as a fellow engineering undergraduate. Fresh from Dawakin Tofa Science Secondary School I was first admitted to School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. I was there for two and a half months before another admission was released this time to University of Nigeria, Nsukka to study Electronics and Communication Engineering. On his part late Engr. Battah came from Government Secondary School Damboa, Borno State and was admitted to study Mechanical engineering. It was during the registration and later matriculation that an enduring relationship was forged.
I was at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka for three years before I transferred to Bayero University, Kano. During that time between level one to level three most of the courses were the same with few departmental courses. So we were either in the same group in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics or in what was called General Studies – Use of English, Humanities and Social Science or battling with Engineering Drawing, Strength of Materials, Workshop practice, Fortran programming, Vectors, Laplace transforms, Differentiation, Integration et al. It was such a wonderful time when premodial sentiments were set aside for the mutual benefit of all. We became our brothers’ keepers and formed Arewa Students Association (ASA) with Dr. Emman Shehu as the Pioneer President. Dr. Shehu was then a PhD student at the department of English whilst other people like Garba Shehu, Moukhtar Adamu and Keziah Suwa were pursuing Masters in Mass Communication. Other members of ASA are Ismaila Sharif, Yusuf Matashi, Kilyobas Binga, M. S. Tijjani, Sulaiman Ibrahim, Ago Simon, Park Pire Maidambe, Yakubu Peter Manjuk, Wilson Njor, Mohammed Bonos Wekamso, Aliyu Alhassan, Ashiru Rajab, Maiwada Lawan, Larai Zippora Bagaiya, Samm Audu, Nick Dazang, Davewam Ringshum, Amos Balami, Yusuf Saadu Gisilambe, Ally Ahmadu, Bala Musa, Samson Gang, Irimiya Musa, Maiwada Lawan, Mohammed Tajudden, Yusuf Ahmed Daneji, Rosemary Ocholi, Adamu Danjuma Buba, Briskilla Sapke, Ashiru Rajab, Auwalu Jabiru Ahmadu, Jugu Yohanna Audu. Battah later took over the leadership of Arewa Students Association.

Three years later in 1985 I got transferred to Bayero University, Kano where I graduated. But my relationship with Battah continue to blossom with time.
Upon his graduation he joined the then Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry and was posted to Industrial Inspectorate Department where he rose to the position of Director before his death. Moreover he completed a program at National Institute of Security Studies, Bwari, Abuja. It is noteworthy that during his wedding in 1992 in Maiduguri, I served as Royal friend and before the menace of BOKO HARAM, I spend my new year in Maiduguri with his family. On those occasions we used to travel to Chibok, Danga, Ngoshe and other places in Borno. This made it possible for me to know his family and friends. During Sallah he will come either with his amiable wife – Mrs. Mary Ndirpaya or with a friend to celebrate Sallah with us in Gwarzo. Our relationship transcended premodial sentiments and permeated up to level of family where we celebrate and mourn together through the wins and losses.

He was instrumental to my membership of Nigerian Society of Engineers by urging me to become a Corporate member and later a registered engineer. Infact he served as one of my proposers, Engr. I. O. Ajiboye being the other. When National Engineering Centre was in Lagos he introduced me to many senior engineers. He introduced me to Engr. Nurudeen Rafindadi who facilitated the registration of Ardugal Engineering as member, Association of Consulting Engineering in Nigeria (ACEN) and later as a consulting firm through registration with Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). Moreover the inauguration of Engineering & Monitoring Inspectorate (ERM) in Gombe by COREN President late Engr. Mustapha Bulama was made possible through late Engr. B
attah because of their very close relationship during my tenure as Chairman, Gombe branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
In the activities of Nigerian Society of Engineers late Engr. Battah Yaga Ndirpaya was always at the forefront in ensuring that justice, fairness and equity remain sacrosanct. Whatever assignment he was given, he performed it with finesse and candor. This made him an influential member of the Society.
To show how passionate he was about engineering and how to change the negative perception about it Engr. Battah Yaga Ndirpaya was always at the forefront in doing things to justify that engineering as the pivot of development should be placed appropriately and engineers should have a sense of self worth in whatever they do. For instance after the inauguration of Engr. Otis Anyaeji as President, a Committee known as Presidential Advisory Committee was established. Engr. Battah and yours sincerely were members of that Committee. We discussed the need for Nigerian Society of Engineers to come up with Engineering solutions about the destruction of infrastructure occasioned by BOKO HARAM insurgency. We initiated a memo through the Committee to President Engr. Otis Anyaeji on the need to establish a Committee to be called North East Rehabilitation and Development Committee. This was approved.

The Institute of Appraisal and Cost Engineers (IACE), a division of Nigerian Society of Engineers which has accreditation with International Cost Engineering Council (ICEC) is an area late Engr. Battah made a lasting impact as a resource person. They offer accreditation on;
I) Cost Engineering
II) Engineering Economics and
III) Valuation
These areas are key towards understanding the role of costing, engineering economics and valuation during project conception and implementation.

As we mourn the passing on of this amazing person let us rededicate ourselves to nation building, eschew violence, encourage spirit of religious tolerance and understand our differences so as to live peacefully together. Engr. Battah Yaga Ndirpaya can be described as someone who came, saw and conquered.
Adieu my bosom friend, confidant, mentor and brother – the quintessential, indefatigable, Engr. Battah Yaga Ndirpaya. Your commitment, tenacity, fairness in dealing with others, religious piety, courage of conviction, confidence and sense of self worth shall remain evergreen in our memory. The positive roles you played and the lives you touched will be embedded in our hearts forever. May your soul continue to rest in peace and may your virtues continue to be source of inspiration to generations yet unborn.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily