On Monday May 18, 2015, Governors of Northern states met for valedictory meeting of northern States Governors’ Forum, NSGF. Before the meeting, as it is always the tradition, Secretaries to the State Governments, SSG, under Forum of Secretaries to Northern Governments, had their meeting.
At the meeting they resolved that they should recommend the SSG of Borno State Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda to the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for appointment as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.
They hinged their resolution on the basis that Ambassador is the most experienced SSG in the country today, having served in that capacity for 12 years. This was after he had reached the pinnacle of his career the Borno State Civil and the Federal Civil Service.
The office of the SGF is the engine room of the Federal Government. It is responsible for coordinating the policy design and formulation by ministries, departments and agencies for approval by government; it coordinates the activities of ministries and government agencies on the implementation of government decisions, policies and programmes, among others. It is, therefore, candid to say that a person that should occupy such position should have in-depth experience in the civil service, governance and politics.
Amb. Jidda is already blessed with such experience as a seasoned administrator who rose to the position of Permanent Secretary in the state civil service and a Director at the federal civil service who had served in several ministries; and a politician who has held several positions at the state and federal levels.
Gen. Buhari listed security as one of the major focus of his administration (especially to put an end to insurgency in the North east). He needs a person of Amb. Jidda’s calibre who will use his wealth of experience as chairman of Borno State Security Technical review committee for 12 years, to assist him to succeed in the fight against insurgency in the region. Amb. Jidda was also a member of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Insecurity in the North.
Amb. Jidda is a man of impeccable character, who is highly committed to the welfare of the people. He is a prudent manager of resources who will not tolerate, encourage or support the waste of public funds on projects or programmes that will not improve the welfare and living standard of the people. Gen. Buhari who is focused on reducing the cost of governance, needs such a man to help him reduce wastage in governance and save enough money for immediate economic take off.
Like the SSG’s office in states, the office of the SGF is a busy one which works round the clock all days of the week. The in-coming administrations therefore needs a person who is hard working, intelligent and physically sound to undertake the challenging demands of the office. Amb. Jidda is already used to the operations and routine of such office.
His experience, coupled with his academic background as a developmental economist, will be an asset to the Buhari administration that is determined to reposition the economy within the shortest possible time.
Amb. Jidda holds a Master’s Degree in Development Economics and Post Graduate Advanced Diploma in Development Administration both from Manchester University, United Kingdom. He had his first degree in Political Science from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. No wonder he is described as a super administrator and economist.
He joined politics after he had voluntarily retired as SSG and Head of Service in 1998. He joined the UNCP and was a governorship aspirant until the demise of late head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha.
Due to changes in political permutations in the country, he aligned with the likes of Sunday Awoniyi, Atiku Abubakar, Adamu Ciroma, Abubakar Rimi, Prof. Jerry Gana and others in the formation of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
However, due to the usual political friction characteristic of the PDP, Amb. Jidda decamped to the All Nigerians Peoples Party, ANPP, in 2005. He was encouraged especially to join the party by the presence of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in whose ideas he strongly believes.
He participated in the Constitution Reform Conference of 2005 and was later in the same year appointed the SSG, a position he holds till date.
In the ANPP, he served as a member of the Presidential Screening Committee. After the merger and subsequent formation of All Progressives Congress, APC, he has always attended all the leadership and National Executive Council, NEC meeting and held the following positions: Member, Board of Trustees; Member, Presidential Campaign Council; Deputy Zonal Campaign Coordinator, North East; Member, Presidential Screening Committee; etc.
He has held other positions, such as: Nigeria’s Ambassador to Burkina Faso (1999-2001), Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Emergency ( 2001-2003), Secretary to the State Government and Head of Service (1997-1998), Special Assistant to Minister of Solid Minerals (1996), Special Assistant to the Minister of Petroleum and Solid Minerals (1993).
Amb. Jidda received the National Honours Award of the Officer of the Federal Republic, OFR, by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2010.
He has served as chairman, secretary and member of several committees both in his state and at the federal levels; and has attended many courses at home and abroad.
He has seen it all as far as the political and administrative offices are concerned. It would be of immense benefit to the in-coming administration and Nigeria as a whole if this icon of selfless and meritorious service is given the opportunity to transfer his wealth of experience to greater service as Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Idris wrote from Bosso Estate, Minna, Niger State.