By Bello Mustapha Kogunan Katagum!
The 69-year-old former Federal Permanent Secretary, Head of Service of the Federation, Minister of Defence and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) is one of the most competent and accomplished Public Servants in the history of Nigeria. What distinguished the Ajiyan Katagum and Akowojo of Idanre Kingdom from other big men in this country is his infectious humility and sense of kinship.
Despite the positions God had elevated him to, he still remains one of the most humble and accessible personalities in this part of the world. From a humble background having been born in a small town called Shira in Bauchi state, he rose through divine providence, luck and the power of the Almighty God to become one of the most respected statesmen in Nigeria 🇳🇬.
A highly religious individual who believes in the power of the Almighty God, the Ajiyan Katagum is blessed with the oratory power of Winston Churchill and the humility of Aliyu Mohammed, Wazirin Jema’a.
I came close to Ajiyan Katagum in our frequent and numerous meetings we had in his Abuja residence to discuss issues that are germane and pertinent to our people. There was a day I was in the office and I received a call from him asking whether I was available and when I answered in the affirmative, he asked me to meet him at NUC immediately.
He was actually there with some prominent people from our community to submit a proposal for the setting up of a private university in Azare. I was not aware what we were doing there because he didn’t mention it to me until when he was given the chance to speak.
He introduced all the important accomplished dignitaries that came with him, and he turned to me as the last person and said this is a young man that accompanied us for him to learn from us and by the time we leave this world, we will leave our people in the hands of credible succeeding generation which he represents.
I was grateful for his kindness and trust but at the same time afraid of the enormity of the word he used and the burden of living up to his expectations. When the issue of submitting a memorandum for the creation of Katagum State to the senate came up, he also included me as part of the secretariat for us to take minutes during meetings and write reports to be deliberated upon.
I was mesmerised by his eloquence and confidence when he presented our submissions to the Senate last year, that you could see and feel the admiration and respect he commands from the senators and every other person in the hall. One of the senators from the East told me when they escorted us outside, that it was the biggest delegation they have ever received as a committee.
He did it again today when he made a presentation on the same issue at the senate Public Hearing for North East Zone in Bauchi. He received a standing ovation from the people in the hall, with an official of the National Assembly telling me it was the best presentation he had ever seen during Public Hearings in his 10 years as staff of the National Assembly. All his submissions are mostly delivered extempore without reading from any material.
I am not at all surprised why he is named Mr Civil Servant by the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, for he is extremely intelligent with tremendous experience and exposure.
He has made a lot of contributions to his state and the nation at large and is enjoying his retirement in good health, with his family devoid of any extravagance, but complete submission to the will of his creator.
This is a man that has been almost everything in this world, and is striving very hard to be something in aljanna because of his devotion to his religious duties and sense of brotherhood to people less privilege than him.
May Allah continue to bless him to our benefit and reward him with the highest level of Aljannah Mahmuda dan Ahmadu.