“Born on September 20, 1934 in Potiskum, Yobe State, the late Ciroma attended Potiskum Elementary School, Borno Middle School, Barewa College and University of Ibadan.”
Nigeria recently lost one of her most accomplished public servants and elder statesman, Malam Adamu Ciroma, at the age of 84. Ciroma’s public career was one of unparalleled success in almost every position he held. He was an exemplary leader, who served meritoriously in various capacities.
Born on September 20, 1934 in Potiskum, Yobe State, the late Ciroma attended Potiskum Elementary School, Borno Middle School, Barewa College and University of Ibadan. He was brilliant, versatile and outstanding. His career cut across journalism, banking, administration and politics and he excelled in all of them. Besides, Ciroma was dependable and his opinions in many fields were remarkable. It was, therefore, not a surprise, that as he began to familiarise himself with the institutional processes of politics and government, he became “a master of all managerial trades and jack of none.” His dependability and intellect caught the attention of his superiors and brought him precious rewards. First, he was a man of character and a protector of the Northern interest. He had no apology for that. His first foray into public service was as an officer in the then Northern Nigeria Civil Service. If that was his first break in public office, many more demanding positions were to come his way, and in all of them, he distinguished himself with brilliance and honour.
His civil service career was not limited to the North. He had a stint in Lagos, where he garnered valuable experience before returning to the North to begin one of his landmark achievements. He was a consummate hardball politician and boardroom guru. He brought these qualities while serving as the first Editor and Managing Director of New Nigerian Newspaper. For many years, he was credited with the anonymous column in the newspaper “Candido”, which was widely read.
Though Ciroma’s years in the New Nigerian newspaper had its own challenges, he survived and handed over to a successor. Perhaps one of his unforgettable moments was his appointment as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 1975 after been a Director of the apex bank for five years. The current Governor of
CBN, Godwin Emefiele, in his tribute, acknowledged that Ciroma was a good man, a firm believer in the sanctity and independence of the CBN and made immense contributions while at the helm of the bank. He resigned from the CBN to seek election in the Constituent Assembly.
His contributions to debates at the Constituent Assembly riveted national attention. In one of the proceedings over the Sharia, Ciroma announced to the Assembly what he called the North’s “irreducible minimum” condition to end the Sharia controversy. With this, he built a formidable network for his presidential aspiration in 1979 during the convention of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), a party he was a founding member and Secretary. He came third in the primaries of the party, behind Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Maitama Sule. Ciroma was appointed a Minister under President Shehu Shagari in the Second Republic. Also, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency, Ciroma was appointed the Minister of Finance (1999-2003) and the campaign coordinator for Obasanjo’s re-election in 2003. He was a bridge builder and a leader who lived a simple and humble life. His last national assignment was Chairman of Transition Committee of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
His integrity, loyalty, and commitment are unquestionable. Nigeria will miss his experience and interventionist roles in times of challenges. He held the traditional title of Dallatum Fika and national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).
The Federal Government should immortalise him for his contributions to the nation. We commiserate with his family, his political associates and the Nigerian government for the great loss.