BY RAYYANU BALA
Permit me to say a little about late Wazirin Jama’a at least for the benefit of those who did not know him. Late Wazirin Jama’a, Alhaji Aliyu Muhammed served as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) during General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s regime. So far, he was the longest serving SGF in the history of Nigeria. He hailed from Jama’a the present day Kafanchan in Kaduna State. He held the traditional title of Wazirin Jama’a. He died in a motor accident on 15th December, 1997 along Lafia-Makurdi Road. I became familiar with the Late Wazirin Jama’a when I was posted to Kaduna state as State Correspondent of Jos based Nigeria Standard newspaper in 1991. I first set eyes on late Wazirin Jama’a during the first Zangon Kataf communal crisis in 1991 when late Dabo Lere was the governor of Kaduna state.
Late Wazirin Jama’a, Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed was reputed as the best crisis manager during his time. He was always at home with difficult assignments such that whenever things went awry in any part of Northern Nigeria during the native authority era, he would be the one to be posted there to right the wrong. According to many accounts, late Wazirin Jama’a has an uncommon diligence and ingenuity. He was always posted to crisis- ridden areas that require re-organization or need peace and harmony. He exhibited such traits in Kano when he was posted as Treasurer of Kano Native Authority in 1962. He also exhibited similar attribute when he was posted to Benue as District Officer to quench the Tiv riot which at that time was becoming disturbing to the northern regional government. The Tiv people crowned him ZEGEMULE-U-TIV because of the way and manner he handled cases when he served in Benue.
Since then late Wazirin Jama’a became a prodigy when it came to issues that had to do with managing people and government in Nigeria. He served all governments (both civilian and military) in various capacities. It was because of his ingenuity that General Babangida appointed him as SGF. Before his appointment as SGF, he was federal Permanent Secretary.
Indeed, Barr. M U. Aliyu apart from sharing same traditional title of Waziri and sharing same first and second name (Aliyu and Muhammed), Wazirin Lafia also possesses same character traits with late Wazirin Jama’a.
And only last Monday, precisely on July 20, 2020 the entire people of Lafia and environs acknowledged these traits when, in what can be literarily described as ‘collection of moving train’ stormed Shendam Road Government House Lafia to show their appreciation and solidarity to the Governor of Nasarawa state, Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule for appointing Barr. M. U Aliyu as Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
But before the visit of the people of Lafia last Monday, some two weeks ago, there was a similar visit with same mission that is, to thank the governor for appointing Wazirin Lafia as SSG. That visit was that of Lafia Emirate Council and since the Wazirin Lafia is a member of the council, it was proper for the Emirate to undertake the trip first before that of the entire people of Lafia. The Emirate council’s visit was under the leadership of His Royal Highness the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Muhammad Bage 1.
The Emir of Lafia who led the entire traditional title holders of Lafia Emirate including Sarkin Kwandere, Alhaji Ahmadu Al-makura to Government House to thank the governor for appointing Wazirin Lafia as SSG, described the appointment as first of its kind. The Sarkin Kwandere who spoke on behalf of the Lafia Emirate, expressed gratitude to the governor for finding Wazirin Lafia worthy of the appointment as SSG, saying that this is the first time since the creation of the state that a Lafia son is being appointed as SSG.
While urging Governor Sule to consider Barr. Ubandoma as his confidant, The Emir of Lafia commended Gov Sule for the successes recorded thus far in areas of education, health, road constructions, investments and industrialization, among others.
In his response, Governor Sule who was full of ecstasy for the visit took time to explain his reasons for picking Barr Ubandoma to serve in his government as SSG. The governor did not mince words in telling the gathering that he picked on Barr. Ubandoma because he found him as somebody with repository of knowledge and pedigree that will come handy in the discharge of his responsibilities as SSG.
Explaining further, Governor Sule said the office of the SSG which is the engine room of the administration, requires a person of integrity, knowledge and trustworthy, adding that all these qualities is the hallmark of the new SSG Barr. M. U Ubandoma.
Governor Sule who praised the choice of Barr Ubandoma as new SSG, stressed that it was his strong believe that the administration made the right decision to appoint Barr Ubandoma as SSG. While expressing the confidence that Barr Ubandoma will surpass his predecessors in terms of performance based on his antecedents, the governor however, acknowledged that those that held the office before have also contributed their quota to the best of their abilities.
Governor Sule then called for collective prayers for the new SSG to succeed, saying that every position of leadership is a test from the Almighty Allah.
Governor Sule who again re-echoed his faith in Barr Ubandoma the Wazirin Lafia, when the entire Lafia people visited him to show solidarity with his administration and to also appreciate him for appointing one of them as SSG, also re-affirmed his faith in the people of Lafia and former governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura whom refer to as ‘architect of modern Nasarawa state’.
Governor Sule did not stop there, he also seize the opportunity to also re-affirm his covenant with the people of Nasarawa state and his conviction to go for second term. Even though the conviction was done through waving of hands, it nevertheless sends a strong signal.
By and large, the coming of Wazirin Lafia as SSG, like the coming of late Wazirin Jama’a to limelight during the then Native Authority and up to the time he served as SGF, will surely impact positively on the people and government of Nasarawa state. Like late Wazirin Jama’a, Wazirin Lafia also have same ingenuity, for that Let’s all hail the Wazirin Lafia our archetypal Wazirin Jama’a.