Today, we present one of the few men of Northern extraction, carefully selected and groomed to take over, along with their Southern enthusiasts, the management of the independent Nigeria from the British Colonial masters. We present, one out of the dubbed triumvirate super permanent Secretaries of Public Civil Service in the annals of Nigerian’s history. He is by all means a detribalized Nigerian, a consummate Agrarian, a Journalist par excellence and a man with a vision for a new Nigeria, where equality reign. He is Dr. Ahmed Joda.
Born on 13th of February, 1930, in Girel, Adamawa state. He attended Yola Elementary and Middle schools. The young man from a polygamous family, who lost his father at age fifteen, went to the famous Barewa College. In fact, he was the head boy of his graduating set. Ahmed Joda then went ahead, to Moor plantation Ibadan; the then apex institution in Nigeria for the training of agricultural scientists. He is a member of the first generation Nigerians, specially chosen and developed to take the nation’s agriculture to greater plateaus of development as the mainstay of the economy. Although he seemingly strayed from an agricultural vocation for a period of twenty-four years, albeit to contribute in other areas of societal growth and development.
Joda’s journalism training began at Gaskiya Corporation, Zaria. He was also at Pitman College, London in 1954 to 1956, where his journalism skills, were further enhanced and broadened, his next port of call was the Nigerian broadcasting Corporation (NBC), the only broadcasting company in the country at that time, which has since been transformed into Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). Again, he blazed the trail as a first generation Nigerian electronic journalist. From the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, he was tipped for other critical roles in the management of government information, respectively as Senior Assistant Secretary, Chief Information Officer and Permanent Secretary in the Northern Regional Ministry of Information. Unbeaten by anyone in the ministry, he was also the first Nigerian to hold, that post since his predecessors were British colonial administrators.
As the Senior Secretary, he ordinated all the activities towards the establishment of the broadcasting company of Northern Nigeria (BCNN). As permanent secretary, he had the honor as well as the privilege of founding the new Nigerian Newspaper. He again advanced in the service, two years into his tenure as CIO and named a permanent Secretary, That was in 1962 and it was that appointment that sharpened his focus towards managerial ingenuity, particularly in crisis information management. On March 31, 1978, from the ministry of industries, he ended his largely accomplished Public Service Career, venturing into the slippery terrain of entrepreneurship, where he continued his record of excellence, as a tested manager of men, money, and materials. He afforded many organizations, the benefit of his considerable wealth of managerial expertise, including SCOA Nigeria Plc, one of the Nation’s largest business conglomerates, which he served as Chairman for eighteen eventful and profitable years. Similarly, he has been the Chairman of both George Wimpey Nigeria Limited and Deutche Babcock Nigeria limited. He has also been on the boards of the Nigerian Flour Mills Plc and UMARCO Nigeria limited.
With other like-minds, they established a Commercial Bank (Credit lyonnais Nigeria) Limited, a financial Company, Pinnacle finance limited, a Brokerage firm, Manufacturing Company, Summit Furniture Company Limited. The government of Nigeria, also appointed him to the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the major vehicle of government for investment and management of the petroleum sector.
Honored twice by the Federal Government of Nigeria, first in 1965, with the award of the Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR) and then in 1979, with the Insignia of Commander of the Order of Niger (CON). Beyond the shores of Nigeria, the government of France conferred on him the Country's highly coveted National Merit award-chevalier DL’Ordre National du Merit and also by one or two African countries, who conferred what he termed, Protocol awards. Although not of Igbo stock, he also holds the important title of Ebube Dike of Uvuru community of Mbaise Local Government area of Imo state.
In addition to an Honorary Doctorate degree, conferred by the University of Maiduguri and Bells University of Technology Ota, Ogun State, married to former Miss Aishatu Umar, both well-matched couples were blessed with four wonderful children and grandchildren.