Profile of Senator Abdullahi Adamu
Distinguished Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Sarkin Yakin Keffi, CON, was born in Kefﬁ in what is now Nasarawa State, on July 23, 1946. He has today attained the biblical bench mark of three score and ten years. You could almost hear the deafening cheer on his attainment of this magical number. He is a baby boomer. He belongs to the exclusive club of men and women, such as the former American President, Bill Clinton, who were born at the end of World War ll.
Senator Adamu's father was a primary school teacher. This gave him the privilege of being sent to school pretty early when his age mates were just beginning to help their parents eke living by hawking kosai, kunun zaki and peanuts. His first encounter with the mystery of modern education that would shape his life and his destiny started at Abdu Zanga primary school and later Laminga senior primary school. The schools did a good job of preparing him for the next step in his educational career. He first went to the craft school, Makurdi, and thence to the Government Technical College, Bukuru, in what is now Plateau State. His thirst for higher education saw him enroll for a diploma course construction technology at the Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna. '
The diploma' he earned from the polytechnic was pivotal in his future. It gave him a good job. But what the polytechnic did for him was far more important than his technical education. It pointed him towards what was first his romance and later his immersion in the rarefied field of politics. It became his life-long passion and his career, earning him enviable laurels along the way as minister, governor and senator. Few men have garnered such laurels in so short a time.
He played students union politics to the hilt at the Kaduna Polytechnic. He became the students' union leader. He liked what he saw in politics. He decided it was the path for him in his life. He began to learn the essential ropes about politics and human management at the knees, so to speak, of his political mentors from whom he drank deep from the fountain of political experience and wisdom. The late Dr. Umaru Dikko and Mallam Adamu Ciroma were some of his political mentors. They turned out to be excellent political mentors. They placed the future senator on his knees, so to speak, and opened the vista of the winning ways of politics to him, complete with the tricks of the trade.
From the polytechnic, however, Senator Adamu took a break to settle down and earn a living - and, of course, do what young men his age did and still do. He first took up appointment with the Northern (now New) Nigerians Development Company, Kaduna. In 1973, he was elected President of the North Central State Youth Council of Nigeria and in 1974 he was elected National President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria. He later worked with AEK, a consulting firm and Fajemirokun Group of Companies, all in Kaduna. His first executive appointment was as the executive secretary, Benue-Plateau Construction Company, famously known by its acronym of BEPco; set up by the Gomwalk family and their associates to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship in the construction industry dominated by Expatriates at the time.
In 1977, Senator Adamu took firm steps towards oiling his political ambition. He was ready to put the lessons he learned from his mentors into practice. He contested his first election and was elected into the constituent assembly that year. The assembly was partly elected and partly appointed. It was convened by the Supreme Military Council in the Murtala/Obasanjo regime to ratify the draft constitution submitted to it by the Constitution Drafting Committee, CDC, headed, by the country's legal luminary and its foremost constitutional lawyer, the late Chief F.R.A Williams.
At the assembly Senator Adamu rubbed shoulders with the country's leading politicians from virtually every geographical and geo-political point in the country. He cultivated their friendship. From them he learnt more about politics and political power. The assembly saw the gradual emergence of new political alliances and the re-alignment of old political groupings. Several associations emerged at the assembly. One of them was the National Movement. Senator Adamu joined the National Movement. It was eventually registered as the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, the biggest political party in the country at the time. It became the ruling party from 1979 to about the end of 1983. This was the period known in the country as the Second Republic.
Senator Adamu was the pioneer secretary of the party in Plateau State. He eventually inched up and became its chairman. The party played second fiddle to the NPP in the state but thanks to Senator Adamu's tireless efforts and effective human and resource management, it was never consigned to the periphery of politics in the state. Under his chairmanship NPN defeated the NPP in 1983 Governorship election (see SC) Supreme court of Nigeria decision.
Senator Adamu was chairman of Benue Cement Company Plc. He was a member of the board of the NTA before then.
When the military once more sacked the civilian administration on the last day of December 1983, Adamu was detained on the allegation that he used the fund of the cement company to host President Shehu Shagari when he paid an official state visit to Benue State. It was a strange charge because it went against the grains of the country's tradition and the culture. In any case, the decision to extend the common courtesy of the president was a board decision, not the Senator’s.
On his release from detention Senator Adamu went back to school to study law at the University of Jos. He earned his LLB and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and was called to the bar in 1993 with the prestigious professional title of Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
When the head of state, the late General Sani Abacha, convoked a constitutional conference to produce a new constitution for his transition to civil rule programme, 1994/95, Senator Adamu was one of those who carried out this important assignment. Abacha appointed him minister of state in the federal Ministry of Works and Housing, 1995-97. He headed the Nigerian delegation' to all the UN summits' and conferences that had bearing with statutory mandate of the Ministry of Works and Housing. The last Habitat II conference in the last century was held in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996, Senator Adamu led the Nigerian delegation. He played a leading role as the leader of the Nigerian delegation. Other African delegates were so impressed by this towering man who tops the ruler at six feet and later elected him chairman of Shelter Afrique in 1996.
In 1997, he heard the call of politics. He answered when Abacha lifted the ban on political activities and encouraged the politicians to form political associations for the purposes of registration as political parties. The senator joined one of those new associations, United Nigeria Congress Party, UNCP, and indeed secured the party’s nod as its governorship candidate in Nasarawa State.
But the party fizzled out on Abacha's sudden demise. His successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, instituted his own transition to civil rule programme. New parties were registered. One of them was the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Senator Adamu hitched his political wagon to the new political party. It paid off handsomely.
The party put him up as its governorship candidate for Nasarawa State in the general election of 1999. He won and thus became the first civilian governor of the state created in October 1996. Two military men had ruled the state before him. Senator Adamu won re-election in 2003. There in both the executive and the executive arm of government, Senator Adamu left his large footprints on the sands of the social, economic, industrial, educational and political development of the state. He did titanic things with a treasury that was always near empty.
On completing his two terms of four years each, the senator returned to country home in Keffi. This time, he turned attention to his second love, farming. He had made heavy investments in live stock, fruits and cereals. His primary objective here was to have a dairy farm that would meet the various needs of various people -beef, milk, yoghurt, etc.
Senator Adamu founded the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria, the first of its type in the country. It organises annual agriculture show at its permanent site on the Abuja-Keffi road, to encourage our farmers, modem and peasant, to showcase their best yields at a competitive forum.
A tireless man, the senator has for several years been the chairman of All Practising Farmers Association of Nigeria". It is a group of modern dairy, poultry, fish, citrus, cattle, sheep and goat farmers. The senator is as active in farming as he is in politics because he believes that if this country could not feed itself all its efforts to catch up with the rest of the world would blow in the wind.
Senator Adamu thought he had turned his back on active politics for good. Not so fast, his people told him. Four years after he thought he was through with elections, his people dragged him back into the arena. This time the people of Nasarawa West senatorial district wanted him to represent them in the upper legislative chamber. He won his first election in the senate in 2011 and won re-election in 2015. He is now a ranking senator. He is the chairman of senate committee on agriculture and rural development.
Senator Adamu is the recipient of numerous academic awards and traditional honours. He is the Aare Obateru of the Source, The Odenigbo 1 of lgbo Land, Teruru of Owu Kingdom, Onana Attah of lgala Land and The Adaweji of Afo Nation among many others. Senator Adamu was honoured with the keys to the Spiritual Centre of World Black Movement, Harlem, New York – 1981; that of Hamburg, Germany, 1982; Soweto, South Africa, 1995 and the plaque of Los Angeles County Council 2002.
Five universities, namely Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Federal University of Port Harcourt, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Nasarawa State University, Keffi, each awarded him doctorate degrees, honoris causa in different disciplines.
Senator Adamu opened his state to higher education and built a good number of post-primary post secondary institutions. The icing on the cake of his educational development was his founding of Nasarawa State University, Keffi. Before he left office as state governor, the university was rated as the best funded public university in the country.
A sport lover, Senator Adamu played soccer, squash, lawn tennis, cricket and hockey and participated in athletics. All all-round man, the distinguished senator is a politician, a sports buff, a law-maker and a distinguished farmer.