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Rain of tributes, as Jijiwa bows out



THE premises of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) had unusual guests last week Wednesday, as staff, professional colleagues and well-wishers of the immediate past Director General of VON had an interactive session with members of staff of the corporation. 

   The event was more or less emotion-laden as speaker after speaker recollected the good moments they had with Abubakar Jijiwa. They highlighted the fun memories of good times in terms of staff welfare and commitment to career growth, which were copiously reflected in the several policies implemented by him, which started in 2004 as acting DG. And by the time he became substantive DG in 2005, the testimonies on Wednesday no doubt means his name has been written in gold in as much as VON remains the external voice of Nigeria. 

  Many of them commented on his outstanding virtues such as his simplicity, integrity and love of the people working with him. His magnanimity is however not limited to the VON, but also staff of sister company like Radio Nigeria, who were also present at the farewell party and also recounted interventions by Jijiwa helped provided some succour for me personally and professionally. 

   After the recollection of good moment and dinning, Jijiwa thanked all present and appreciated all the contributions. His exploit as a broadcaster is encapsulated in his recitation read at the occasion.      

   Mallam Abubakar Bobboyi Jijiwa, MFR, CNA, arpa, ACIT, the Sardauna Ribadu, media manager, writer, journalist, chartered accountant, advertising practitioner, tax consultant, was Chairman, BOT of Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and immediate past President, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA). He Was born in Fufore, Ribadu District of Fufore LG Area of Adamawa state on March 15, 1961, to the family of the late Mallam Hammadu Jijiwa, a known and respected community leader, who insisted on thoroughness, humility and hardwork.  

   The young Abubakar did his primary school at Central Primary School, Fufore from 1967 to 1972 before proceeding to General Murtala Mohammed College, Yola, in 1973, where he completed his secondary education in 1977 at age 16. He went to the University of Maiduguri where he obtained a Degree in Accountancy.  In the course of his work, he attended specialized trainings that took him to Deutsche Welle Ausbildungs Zentrum (Radio Training Management Centre) in Cologne, Germany, twice in 1990 and 1994 and to Thames Valley University, Slough, London, in 2002.

  At 16, Abubakar started his career in the old Gongola Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Yola in 1977 as a Junior Producer before leaving for the University.  Providence would later bring him back to GBC, 12 years later as GBC’s General Manager and Chief Executive Officer.

  After his university education, Jijiwa, with a great flair for the media, joined the New Nigerian Newspapers Ltd, Kaduna.  From 1984 – 1988, he was a Staff Writer and a Member of the Editorial Board of the Sunday New Nigerian (SNN).  

  His weekly page 3 column in SNN, Round-Up gained nationwide popularity and recognition. From 1985–1986, he became the company’s Credit Controller and rose rapidly through hardwork to become its Principal Accountant (Final Accounts) in 1988.

ABUBAKAR had his first taste of political appointment at the age of 25 as Secretary to Fufore Local Government Council in the old Gongola State between 1986 and 1987. 

  At age 27, he was the Ag. Chief Accountant/Head of Accounts at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from 1988 – 1989.  While in NAN, he was called upon to revive the fortunes of the Gongola Broadcasting Corporation at age 28 as the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, 1989 – 1991.  Following the dissolution of Gongola State into two states, he became, from 1991 – 1992, the Director-General/Sole Administrator of Adamawa Broadcasting Corporation, Yola.  In 1993, he was back to NAN, Lagos as the Assistant General Manager (Business Enterprises).

  Looking for experienced hands to set VON firmly on ground, Abubakar was “co-opted” into VON Management in March 1993 as the Director, Finance and Supplies (DFS) till June 1995, when the Adamawa state government called him to administer the finances of the state.  Thus, at age 34, he was the Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budget in Adamawa State from June 1995 to June 1997.  In June 1997, he was back to his position in VON but for only six months, as he was once again re-appointed as a Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning and Budget, January 1998 to May 1999 – holding the position for a period of 4 years.

  In June 1, 1999, Abubakar was back to VON as Director, Administration and Finance (DAF), till August 20, 2004 when he became the Ag. Director-General.  To crown his career in VON, he was confirmed the substantive Director-General on March 1, 2005 after participating in an open competitive selection process organized by the world-class professional firm, KPMG, among 95 applicants.

  If there is one word to summarize his career, that is service – service to the country and humanity.  He is a man without cant and who can be trusted since one easily knows his position on issues.  In his working career, stories about intrigues, pull-him-down, tribalism, etc have never been associated with him.  One word he holds as a mantra is excellence.  It is the drive to excel that makes him to succeed in any task he is entrusted with, however daunting.

  In recognition of his outstanding achievements, he has been honoured severally, some of which are:Chief Executive of the year, 1990 by the Radio Television and Theatre Workers of Nigeria (RATTAWU), Gongola State Chapter; “Best Performance Award” by the Gongola State Youths Council, 1992; First Runner-Up, NTA Yola, Adamawa State Man-of-The Year Award, 1995; Award for Distinguished Service, Adamawa State Youths Council, 1999;Granted the Traditional Chieftaincy Title of Sardauna Ribadu by the Ribadu District Council and approved by the Adamawa Emirate Council, 1995;Granted the Traditional Chieftaincy Title of Dan Lawan of Jiwa, Abuja in 2005 andGranted the Traditional Chieftaincy Title of Bobaselu of Odelemo, Remoland, Ogun State, 2008.

  A humanitarian, happily married with children, his hobbies include sports, research, photography and reading. And he is widely travelled.

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