Asiodu, the last titan after Ahmed Joda
Following the demise of Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Joda (1930-2021), Chief Phillip Chikwuedo Asiodu (87) remains the last of the titans in the list of those termed as Super Permanent Secretaries who served under General Yakubu Gowon between 1966 and 1975. We owe them a debt of gratitude. We remain ever grateful for their services. We miss them. We missed their competence and counseling. We missed their discipline and adherence to rules and regulations. We are in dilemma today because their likes are not around.
It is not too late to celebrate Chief Asiodu, before he returns to his maker. Chief Asiodu, who is the Ogbuefi Akuna Ka of Asaba in Delta State, was born on February 26, 1934. In 1964, he married Eugenia Olajumoke Pereira. He started his Education at Sacred Heart School, Calabar, 1939-1942, Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar, 1943-1944, St. Paul’s Catholic School, Ebute Metta, Lagos, 1944-1945, King’s College, Lagos, 1946-1952, Queen’s College, University of Oxford, England, 1953-1956; head of Chancery, Nigerian Permanent Mission to the UN, 1960-1962, member, Organisation of African Unity Provisional Secretariat, Addis Ababa, 1963-1964,deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Lagos, 1963-1964, deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Lagos, 1964-1965, acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, 1965-1966, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industries, 1966-1971, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Power, 1971-1975, also, chairman, National Electric Power Authority, 1971-1975, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Lagos, 1975. At present, Chief Asiodu is the Patron of the Council of Retired Federal Permanent Secretaries, of which Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, former Secretary of the Government of the Federation is the Vice-Chairman while my friend, Dr. Goke Adegoroye is the Publicity Secretary.
A lot has been written on Alhaji Ahmed Joda since his passing, and a lot will still be written on him. In my encounters with him, I discovered that his humility was his greatest strength. He was a humble man. He carried his dignity to his grave. No doubt, Alhaji Joda was a rare breed.
Alhaji Ahmed Joda was born in Yola in Adamawa state. He had his education at the Yola Elementary School, Yola Middle School, Kaduna College, 1945-1948, Pittman’s College, London, 1954-1956, joined Nigerian Broadcasting Service, 1956-1960, Senior Assistant Secretary, later Permanent Secretary, Northern Nigerian Public Service, Permanent Secretary, Federal Government, 1967-1978 and retired in March 1978.
Let us take a look at some of those described as Super Permanent Secretaries. There was Chief James Ima Ebong. He was Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport. It was during his time that the Murtala Mohammed Airport was conceptualized and built. He later became Permanent Secretary, Economic Development and Planning. Chief Ebong was the first Executive Secretary and Chief Executive of the Federal Capital Development Authority. He was brilliant and articulate. He took the likes of Wole Okunfulire to Abuja as the first Professional Urban Planners in Abuja. President Joe Biden of the United States of America recently appointed his daughter, Enoh Titilayo Ebong as the acting Director of the United States and Development Agency. He died on August 7, 1989.
There is Chief Allison Akene Ayida (Jun 6, 1930- October 11, 2018) who had his education at the King’s College, Lagos in 1952, Queen’s College, University of Oxford, England, 1956, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, England, 1957; assistant secretary, Federal of Finance, Lagos, 1957-1963, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development, 1963-1971, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Chairman, UN Commission for Africa, Secretary to the Federal Military Government and head of service, 1975-1977. We also have Alhaji Liman Ciroma who was born on September 30, 1930 in Potiskum, Yobe State. He had his education at the Government College, Zaria, 1949, Institute of Archaeology, London, 1953-1954, South-West Essex Technology College and School of Arts, England, 1954-1956, University of Birmingham, England, 1956-1959; technical assistant, Department of Antiquities, Colonial Administration, 1949-1953, archaeologist, Ile-Ife, Benin and Igbo Ukwu, 1959, curator, National Museum, Lagos, later acting deputy director of Antiquities, Jos, 1960, joined Northern Nigerian Civil Service, 1961, assistant secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, Kaduna, later deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, Kaduna, Provincial Secretary, Minna, acting deputy secretary to the Prime Minister, Northern Nigeria, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and Community Development, 1965-1967, transferred to North-Western State Public Service, 1967, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, North-Eastern State, 1968-1971, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industries, 1971-1975, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, 1975-1977, Secretary to Federal Military Government and Head of Civil Service, 1977-1979.
We equally have Erediauwa (22 June 1923 – April 2016), the 39th Oba of Benin, traditional ruler of the Edo people in Benin City, Edo State, Formerly known as Prince Solomon Akenzua, Oba Erediauwa’s full title was His Royal Majesty Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa I. He was succeeded by Ewuare II.
Oba Erediauwa took on the title and duties as traditional head of state and rightful heir of the Benin Empire when he was crowned, succeeding his father, Oba Akenzua II, in a ceremony held in Benin City, Nigeria, on 23 March 1979. He was a Super Permanent Secretary. He was the most senior Federal Civil servant that attended a meeting of the Supreme Military Council of Nigeria held in Aburi, Ghana between January 4 and January 5, 1967. He was then Permanent Secretary of the Federal Cabinet Office, Lagos. Other top Civil Servants that attended the Aburi meeting were Mr. P.T. Odumosu (Secretary to the Military Government, West), Mr. N.U. Akpan (Secretary to the Military Government, East), Mr. D.P. Lawani(Under-Secretary. Military Governor’s Office, Mid-West) and Alhaji Ali Akilu (Secretary to the Military Government, North). The role played by Prince Akenzua after arrival in Lagos from Abuja is already part of history.
Mention must be made of Chief Gray Adetokunbo Eromosele Longe (1932-2007). He married Olufemi Olufunke. He had his education at the Government School, Warri, 1940-1944, Warri College, Warri, 1945-1950, University College, Ibadan, 1951-1955, assistant district officer, Ibadan Province, assistant students officer, administrative officer, Office of the Agent General, Western Nigeria, acting senior assistant secretary in several ministries, seconded to Federal Government, 1961, Senior Assistant Secretary, deputy Permanent Secretary, later permanent secretary, various ministries, head of the Civil Service of the federation, 1979-1983, reappointed secretary to the Federal Military Government and head of the Civil Service, 1984-1986, retired in 1986. I was present at his funeral at Sabongida-Ora in Edo state.
There is Alhaji Musa Daggash, born in Maiduguri in 1918. He had his education at the Higher College, Katsina, 1934-1938, University of Oxford, England, 1950-1951, University of Manchester, England, 1960-1961, joined Department of Forestry, 193-1959, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Power, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Defence, later Chairman, Defence Industries Corporation, General Manager, Chad Basin Development Authority, member, Constituent Assembly, 1977-1978 and Commissioner, Local Government Service Board, Borno State, 1978.
Mention must be made of Alhaji Ibrahim Maina Damcida (1933-2012). He had his education at the Westminster College, London, United Kingdom, 1954-1956, North-Western Polytechnic, London, United Kingdom, 1956-1958, Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, Washington DC, USA, 1965, trainee manager, John Holt, 1951-1953, accountant, Ministry of Trade and Industries, former Northern Region, 1959-1961, deputy Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Lagos, 1962-1965, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Trade, 1966-1971 and Ministry of Defence, 1971-1975.
I need to mention Prince Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye (1930-2006). He was a mentor to so many in the Civil Service. He served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Defence, Petroleum and Health. He later became the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom in Ondo state and held the title of Osungbedelola II. He married Olori Anike, who is from the famous Bademosi family in Ondo city. My friend, Mr. Tunde Kamilu Kasali, a lawyer, who retired recently as executive secretary of Revenue Mobilisation Commission was special assistant to Prince Adesanoye during his tenure as Permanent Secretary.
Mention must be equally made of Chief Olatunde Lawson. He was born on March 20, 1919. He attended Wesley College, Ibadan, University of London, England, University of Oxford, England; teacher, primary schools, teacher, Wesley College, Ibadan, teacher, Hussey College, Warri, worked at Federal Department of Statistics, 1947-1957, Senior Assistant Secretary, Council of Ministers, 1958, Imperial Defence College, London, 1959, Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister, 1960, Secretary, Last Constitutional Conference before Nigeria’ Independence, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, 1961-1965, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, 1965-1970, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, 1971-1972, Secretary to the Federal Military Government, 1972-1975.
To be continued tomorrow.
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