by Tahir Ibrahim Tahir Talban Bauchi.
Underpinning Mallam Adamu Adamu’s role(s) in the PMB administration would be similar to emphasising to a 40 year old, how much his mum loved him and took good care of him when he was an infant, a toddler, and over his years of juvenile delinquency, growing up as a young adult. It would not only be stating the obvious, but amount to emphasising what everyone knows and have accepted as incontestable fact. Back in the days of the Buhari Organisation from 2003, Mallam Adamu could be described as his PA and his Secretary. He was his PPS, Principal Private Secretary and his personal office/ organiser who made life both private and public, an easy routine. PMB had in Mallam Adamu a bookworm that digested the millions of correspondence and mails that came in. The ‘geek’ churned out tonnes of executive summaries for his boss to ponder over and make the right calls or decisions. Even on family matters, Mallam Adamu was delegated or assigned to make necessary and proper interventions.
When Muhammadu Buhari became President, one would have thought that Mallam would be made his PPS, or become his Chief of Staff, even though some felt Col. Hamid Ali (Rtd) should have been the President’s COS. The duo are PMB’s closest aides and notoriously his most trusted ‘staff’ who would have been the main drivers of a PMB agenda when his government berthed. They would be the real ambassadors of the maigaskia mantra. They still are by the way, but that they would have operated in different roles and proximity to the seat of power. By the sword of power intrigues at the Villa, Mallam Adamu was posted to the Education Ministry, courtesy his popular ASUU article of 2013. It is never in doubt that he had and still is passionate about resolving the ASUU crises and finding lasting solutions to the problems of ASUU; while laying a solid foundation for the future of tertiary education in the country. PMB trusted Mallam Adamu to be his worthy ambassador and go find the rabid dog that has bedeviled and knawed at the growth and development of tertiary education in Nigeria. Like every other thing in the country, the standards have dropped astronomically over the years.
Missing the point is failing to comprehend that a lot of the issues that have always stalled ASUU vs FG face-offs and negotiations have been Labour based, which is resident with the Minister of Labour. In the PMB era, even the much vilified Ngige, had informed us that over 92 billion naira was paid as earned allowances and revitalisation fees to federal-owned universities. This was part of the December 2020 agreement which was a renegotiated situation of the notorious 2009 agreement which govt had indicated was unrealistic, especially with the prevailing economic conditions of shortages and sabotages. The payment systems platform matter was also being discussed and ironed out. Ngige had taken over the ASUU matter and the Education Ministry had to take a back seat, afterall, labor was the crux of the matter most often. According to him, once a labor dispute had snowballed into a strike, unresolved; it had become the prerogative of the labor ministry. He seems to draw his energy from the Trade Disputes Acts.
Attacks were launched at the person of Mallam Adamu and it was more than evident that instead of sticking to the issues based debates and discussions on the way forward, ad hominems were launched at him. Jealousy and envy had precipitated a lot of the conceited media slander against him. He was under strict instructions from his boss not to cave into penning agreements that8 were unrealistic and unsustainable. Despite being an election year, which is ASUU’s favorite year of long strikes, PMB guided Mallam Adamu not to slip into the frivolities involved in the negotiations. PMB’s tradition of silence and inaction bought the necessary time for ASUU to unravel. Before our very own eyes, ASUU unravelled as an association of ‘Quacks’. Before you could say Jack Robinson, there were splinters of the mother body and Ngige’s game of having more academic staff unions began to pay off. ASUU Chairman became partisan and it was just a matter of time before his followers and other keen observers saw through the facade. Today ASUU has called off the strike and both sides, FG and ASUU have become richly educated about how governance works and how strikes work too. The no work no pay hard line was the deal breaker eventually and this would help in assuaging the length and extent of strike actions in the nearest future.
As an APC stalwart by default of his boss PMB as the leader of the party, Mallam Adamu Adamu has done pretty well in ensuring that the APC did not or does not go the umbrella way; in tatters. His intervention in London over the crises that nearly engulfed the party, gave way to the emergence of a new party Chair in Sen. Abdullahi Adamu. Back in 2019, very few know Mallam’s very notable strides in keeping the merger agreements one; with Asiwaju Jagaban Bola Ahmed Tinubu, appeased over clear infractions of certain understandings he had with the CPC camp. If you do not know this, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu does and that is why few in the PMB circle command the kind of respect Adamu does with The Jagaban.
In Bauchi, my constituency and Mallam Adamu’s, his legacies as a Minister are sterling and stand the test of time to be matched by any other political appointee, in the 4th Republic. On the 27th of September, 2022; I was invited to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and Tetfund hearing on Federal College of Education Jama’are Bauchi State, Establishment Bill 2022, SB 991; and Federal University of Health Sciences Azare, Bauchi State, Establishment Bill, 2022, SB 990. These two tertiary institutions in Bauchi state bring a lot to the table, as dividends of democracy to the people of Bauchi state. We remain appreciative that despite the meagre resources of government and the competition between states of the federation, for the siting of these institutions, Bauchi alone was able to get them. Job opportunities, business and trade for artisans and entrepreneurs, quality education for secondary school leavers ~ are of the very many gains Bauchi stands. Mallam Adamu is one hell of a son of the soil. As for the ASUU crises, I am more than convinced that the last outing has finally laid to rest, the ghost of ASUU strikes, with realistic, imaginable and attainable agreements, and not those that are signed under duress, oblivion to reality, or at election fever time.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.