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As Jijiwa bows out of VON…



IN a week from now, the Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, (VON), Mallam Abubakar Bobboyi Jijiwa, will after 22 years in the service of the Corporation, 10 years as top helmsman bow out. In December last year, he relinquished the chairmanship of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), which he has also led since 2004.

  Jijiwa’s services as VON’s DG and Chairman of BON yielded huge dividends in the Nigerian broadcasting industry where players are now more united, new grounds broken and talents nurtured due to his visionary and managerial disposition. 

  Whenever there is opportunity for assessment of his predecessors, Jijiwa always give them credit for providing the platform for his own achievements. All of them excelled within the circumstances they found themselves, he would always say.

  Jijiwa came to VON in March 1993 from News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) where he was Assistant General Manager (Enterprises). His sojourn in the federal media actually began at the Kaduna based New Nigerian, where although he was employed as a senior accountant, he was drafted to the editorial board as a special correspondent because of his writing skill, as a regular contributor to New Nigerian since his under graduate days while studying accountancy at the University of Maiduguri.

  Impressed by the brilliance and lucidity of his writings, New Nigeria management felt it would be under-utilization of talent consigning him to merely poring over cold figures instead of giving him the platform and space on the pages to churn words and ideas to influence society. Since 1984 in New Nigerian, Jijiwa had not looked back in providing leadership in the mass media, though returning home briefly on the invitation of Gongola State government to serve as Secretary to Fufore Local Government. After completing the Fufore assignment, he returned to the paper and shortly after, in 1988, he picked an appointment with NAN as Ag. Chief Accountant, a position he held until 1989 when he was invited by his home government, Gongola to lead the state-owned radio station, Gongola Broadcasting Corporation.

In less than four years of heading GBC, later Adamawa Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Jijiwa turned around the fortunes of the local radio station to an enviable one in the north east of Nigeria. 

  ABC, which had no permanent site and transmitting station, built one under Jijiwa. Then Jijiwa as the GM had been designated Director General and sole administrator of the corporation. With this feat, he was soon back at NAN as AGM enterprises in 1992 and in March 1993, he joined VON as Director, Finance and Supplies. But in-between his service in VON, he had the privilege of being invited home to serve as the Adamawa State Commissioner for Budget, Economic Planning and Finance.

  He returned from his leave of absence and assumed office as Director, Administration and Finance of the Corporation under Aremo Taiwo Allimi in 1999.

  Being the most senior director in VON when Aremo Allimi completed his single term in 2004, he was recommended for the post of Ag. Director General.  His rich experience facilitated his confirmation as the substantive DG in March 2005 and secured him a reappointment in 2010.

  As DG of VON in the past eight years, Jijiwa has used this experiences to pilot the affairs of BON, the umbrella of all public and private broadcasting services in the country. Four of these eight years, he also used to etch Nigeria’s name on the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association hall of fame as he was elected CBA president in 2006 in the Indian capital, New Delhi for a two-year term, securing another CBA mandate in the Caribbean nation of the Bahamas in 2008.

  Since relinquishing the CBA presidency in 2010, Jijiwa has dedicated himself to providing leadership in public service broadcasting globally as he is regularly invited to public service broadcasting forum worldwide as a lead speaker, authority and resource person. He has used broadcasting to confirm Nigeria’s eminence in all regions of the world: Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, Australia, Europe and here in Africa   He is enriching broadcasting for Nigeria. He has mentored a lot of leaders and managers in the Nigerian public service broadcasting firmament. He has contributed immensely to the growth and development of Nigerian public information sector.

  The greatest beneficiary of course is VON, with which he has provided the leverage for global network and partnership, affording the staff of the corporation tremendous learning and development opportunities in countries like Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, south Africa, Indonesia, Egypt, Angola etc. Name the country and you are likely to find one VON staff studying or working or participating in international conference, workshop or seminar on broadcasting there. Jijiwa facilitated these. This writer is a beneficiary in winning a Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Scholarship to pursue graduate studies in Public Policy and Administration at Brunei Darussalam’s premier university in Bandar Seri Begawawan.

From Jijiwa in VON in the past 22 years are so many lessons in leadership, service, comradeship, compassion and integrity. He readily gives credit to whom it is due, acknowledging every little effort of staff, colleagues and superior. Ask his predecessors in office, Mallam Yaya Abubakar and Aremo Taiwo Allimi. They are always full of superlatives in describing Jijiwa as a team player. Ayo Sulaiman, Ben Egbuna, Kabir Muhammed Ahmed, Timothy Gyang, Sola Tijani, Okey Nwachukwu, Margaret Obanya, Frank Ilogu and others who worked with him on VON Board of Management consider him a gift in leadership and management of human resources.

  Jijiwa’s uncommon leadership qualities and humility are to be traced to his humble background in rustic Fufore, via Yola Adamawa State, the grace he has enjoyed in his growing up years, the men he had served and the challenges imposed on him by his community which found him worthy of the title of Sardaunan Ribadu, a traditional title of prime ministerial status in Ribadu District of Adamawa Emirate. But the most eminent is the national honour he was conferred with by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, MFR. Successive Ministers of Information since 2005 found Jijiwa an asset in the information ministry under which VON falls as a parastatal. His colleagues regard him highly just as he respects all immensely.

  As he bows out of VON, Jijiwa, established as a Gamji, would be leaving behind a worthy national heritage. Jijiwa continues in service of Nigeria as he returns to his primary constituency, accounting. One unique feature of Jijiwa is his limitlessly elastic patience, confounding belief in destiny and unusual spirit of sacrifice. With these, he just waits on God for direction on every step he makes. So, 22 years in the service of Voice of Nigeria, the authoritative choice, we can only wish Abubakar Bobboyi Jijiwa more of the blessings of the light of faith, wisdom, understanding, discernment, courage, fairness and justice. Every leader or aspiring public office holder can also learn from Jijiwa.

*Solanke is Head, VON Training Centre 

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