Adamu Ciroma, a Nigerian Original, Dies at 84

  • Buhari, Atiku, Dickson, PDP mourn

Omololu Ogunmade, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Shola Oyeyipo in Lagos

It was a torrent of tributes for one of Nigeria’s foremost statesmen, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, who died Thursday as President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other top politicians showered encomiums on him for his sterling contributions to the development of Nigeria.

The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, whose exemplary public life marked him out as a significant patriot and nationalist, passed on at the Turkish Hospital in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja at 84.

He has been buried at the Federal Capital Territory in accordance with Muslim rites.

He was a seasoned journalist, an astute administrator and an outstanding politician, who also held ministerial portfolios at the federal level. He forcefully announced himself on the nation’s political landscape when he emerged runners-up to Alhaji Shehu Shagari at the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) presidential primaries for the 1979 presidential contest.

Born in 1934 in Potiskum, Yobe State, Ciroma attended primary schools in Fika and Potiskum. Later he attended the Bornu Middle School and Barewa College, Zaria before he proceeded to the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology also in Zaria.

He graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1961 and joined the civil service as an administrative officer. He became a Senior Assistant Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Power in 1966, and later, Editor, New Nigerian Newspapers where he eventually became the Managing Director and later CBN Governor.

He delved into politics and was a presidential aspirant of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) platform in 1979.

He came third behind Shehu Shagari and Maitama Sule. And as he gained prominence in the party, he was named at various times as minister for Industries, Agriculture and Finance.

In September 1983, Ciroma became the chairman of a presidential transition committee, with a term of reference of making proposals on how to re-structure the federal government.

Ciroma, one of the leaders who fought the military regime of late General Sani Abacha, was a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was at the helm of affairs in Nigeria between 1999 and 2015.

His death was received with sadness by President Muhammad Buhari Thursday according to his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

“Buhari on behalf of himself, the Federal Government and all Nigerians, extends sincere condolences to the Ciroma family, the government and people of Yobe State on the passing of the elder statesman,” Adesina said, adding that the president believed that Ciroma’s life would be long remembered for his remarkable service and dedication to the country’s unity, progress and stability.

“President Buhari also affirms that the late former CBN Governor will be honoured too for his contributions in promoting democracy in Nigeria and his legacies should be a constant reminder to politicians who wish to work for the good of their communities and our great country,” Adesina said, adding, “The President prays that Almighty Allah will grant Malam Ciroma eternal rest and comfort the elder statesman’s family, relatives, friends and associates.”

In his tribute to the late elder statesman Thursday, Atiku, in a statement by his media office, said his world view was largely influenced by the early contacts and mentorship that he received from Ciroma.

“A lot of what I have turned out to be in life today was as a result of the early contacts and mentorship that I had with Adamu Ciroma, who graciously offered me vacation job in my formative years,” said Atiku, regretting that his mentor’s death had robbed Nigeria of a valuable leader.

Bayelsa State Governor Dickson commiserated with the people and Government of Yobe State, describing Ciroma as a rare patriot and nation builder who passed on when his counsel and selfless services were most needed.

“We have lost a rare patriot and a nation builder,” he said, adding: “Mallam Adamu Ciroma passed on when his selfless services and wise counsel were most needed.”

On its part, the PDP said it was deeply grieved over Ciroma’s passing, describing him as one of its founding fathers, a foremost democrat, nationalist and statesman.

The party said Nigeria had lost one of her finest, an incontrovertible patriot, who spent his life making inestimable sacrifices for the unity and development of the country.

In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said Ciroma lived as a committed citizen; an astute administrator and highly disciplined politician, who discharged all responsibilities vested in him with unequaled forthrightness and loyalty to the nation.

The PDP said: “As CBN governor, minister of finance, minister of agriculture and the minister of industry, positions he held at various times, Mallam Ciroma played very vital roles in the formulation and implementation of crucial policies and programmes for economic stability and growth.

“On the political sphere, this great Nigerian will be remembered for his roles in ensuring the stability and growth of our nation, and particularly, the roles he played in the formation and growth of the PDP. He played a leading role in Group of 34 eminent Nigerians, otherwise called the G34 that formed the PDP.

“He was an embodiment of the ideals and visions of our great party in our pursuit of a prosperous nation where unity, equality and justice prevail.”