A symbol of our decadent age is common reluctance among individuals to acknowledge, and demonstrate gestures of gratitude towards, sources of favours. Mentioning names and ascribing credits as often found worthy in our social-cultural spaces have become attributes rarer to come by among humans than witnessing even the fall of grass from the face of the sky! But, as individuals have to differ in dispositions to events and occurrences, precisely arising from varied circumstances of ancestry, birth and lived experiences, one may enjoy some permission to act differently based on convictions and individual standards. Thus, it is within rational limits one could justify heaping commendations on some personalities, especially when they have distinguished themselves in ways that are rarely evidenced in real life, but more frequently encountered in literature or reports of far-flung ascetics and religious personages.
This is precisely why Mallam Adamu Adamu, Nigeria Minister of Education, deserves to be, and is being made, the subject of this purpose-focused publication, being one who has acted a message for Nigerians, regardless of their ethnic origins, spatial location, religious bias, or professional calling – that truest deeds of nationalism should not be paramount only in estimations of citizens, but are equally achievable in whatever position(s) each occupies. An embodiment of selflessness who consistently clarifies that people should no more confuse personal pursuits for concrete, measurable achievements in public service, Malam has in quite many ways applied his very privileged position to advance common good, at the expense of his personal gains.
And this is not just another piece of hagiography promoted not infrequently across media spaces to further the narrow interests of self and clan, even when such messages openly defy logical prudence or contradict available facts! Factually, this exaltation is genuine scorecard for a rear creature who has proven to be far ahead in time and trend, and uncommon in parametres upon which human performances are habitually assessed!
A polyglot of no mean repute, Mallam Adamu, who speaks English, Arabic, Persian, and French fluently, is indeed the deserving subject of this piece. The Honorable Minister is an Accountant and a Journalist whose conducts have classed among the very best of humankind. He is not just detribalised, but has proven to be the very epitome of a level player in all considerations – social, cultural and developmental.
A northerner by birth, but a true pan-Nigerian politician by conduct, the minister is admirably impassioned about issues that elevate the country, particularly as fall within the precincts of his office and ministry – ceaselessly exhibiting fervid hankering after harmony among the country’s geo-political zones.
The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Education has, under his charge, become a spot for fair practices which assure that any section of the country do not feel shortchanged in whatever concern. “What’s sauce for the goose, should equally be sauce for the gander”, he would often declare! Consequently and quite appropriately, many have come to identify him as an uncommon benefactor who does not expect or welcome either shows of gratitude or gestures of gratification from his beneficiaries.
To be modest – and modesty seems clearly one of his unhidden virtues, Adamu Adamu is human, humane and extremely kind, possessed of the spartan discipline of Muhammadu Buhari, humility of Tafawa Balewa, simplicity of Mallam Aminu Kano, and even the winsome large heart, tactical prowess and ingenuous stratagem of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. These traits have endeared him to personalities on all fronts and divides and have enthroned him as a silent Social Networker who has continued to build bridges of unity across the country.
A focused, unassuming achiever and matchless epitome of shrewdness, Mallam wins people to his side and convinces not with any artificial force, but via hard wit and disarming sagacity. How pointedly Jack Welch’s “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself; when you become a leader, success is all about growing others” aptly captures the personality of Mallam Adamu Adamu!
The Honorable Minister, who hails from Azare, Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State, has become an unmistakable political rallying point and well-loved mentor, not just within his immediate Azare community and the Bauchi Emirate/Kingdom, but even far beyond, as many would conveniently declare him a rare gem who simply cannot be over-praised!
A devout Muslim who is not bigoted, a brilliant journalist whose brilliance is never worn on the sleeves, the Education Minister approaches all issues with deep sense of fairness, justice, impartiality, equity and objectivity. An exemplary groundbreaker, Mallam stands out as an iconic leader who personifies empathy, integrity, honesty, responsiveness and sensitivity.
To honour Warren Bennis, “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born, that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense, in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born’’. How handsomely Adamu Adamu has validated this assertion and driven home points that make his stewardship in Education Ministry and in realms of politics one awesome experience for everyone and anyone whose path(s) chance to cross his!
As Ken Kese summed it, “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” Mallam Adamu has served as the best model on leadership and has offered outstanding directions to forge in leading.
On behalf of myself as one of a whole battalion who has immensely experienced his pampering superintendence, and million others who have benefitted ONLY indirectly through his pan-Nigerian, progress-centric ministerial policies, programmes and deliveries, I dare to say THANK YOU and KUDOS to Mallam for choosing to be different, even amidst opportunities to act similarly. His ability to rise above common foibles, as has headlined many a fall among humankind, fundamentally and really defined his continual rise in public governance and in impactful leadership.
The author, Dr. Isiaka Olayinka KOLAWOLE, an Economist, Public Governance Expert and Leadership Specialist, is the Deputy Executive Secretary, Services, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Abuja and The Mogaji Ogba Aga of Ibadanland.