By Eric Teniola

This piece continues with the enumeration from last week of super permanent secretaries and other prominent civil servants who served under General Gowon between  1966 and 1975.

ON  October 3, 1975, the following were appointed Permanent Secretaries: Mr. Musa Bello, Mr. B.A. Ehizueien, Mr. G.P.O. Chikelu, Mr. E.O. Olowu, Mr S.B. Agodo, Mr A. Alhaji and Mr. G. A. Fatoye. They later became first class administrators.

Recently, the first architect to be appointed Permanent Secretary in the Federal Civil Service, Chief Isaac Folayan Alade(1933-2021), died. He attended St. Phillip’s School, Aramoko in Ekiti State, 1940-1945, Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti, 1946-1951; College of Technology, Ibadan, 1953-1955; College of Technology, Zaria, 1957-1961(Diploma in Architecture); Architect Association School of Postgraduate Studies, London, 1964-1965; joined Ministry of Works, Western State, 1961-1964, 1965-1967, Architect, 1967-1968; later appointed Director of Works, Federal of Works, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Lagos.

There is a need to mention Alhaji (Dr) Umaru Sanda Moshna Ndayako(CFR, OFR), 1937 – September 8, 2003, the 12th Etsu Nupe from one of the ruling houses of Bida. His parents were Muhammadu Ndayako (CBE), the late 9th Etsu Nupe and Aisha Nuadoro.

Ndayako started elementary school at Elementary School Bida in 1945 and later went to Ilorin for middle school in 1949 finishing in 1951. He obtained his high certificate at the prestigious Government College Zaria (now Barewa College Zaria) there he graduated in 1956, and then he attended Nigeria College of Art Science and Technology Zaria in 1957, then later proceeded to University College Ibadan (now University of Ibadan) and obtained Bachelors Degree in 1962.

Ndayako started his government careers in the early 1960s as an Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government Kaduna State. He was also the Assistant District Officer in charge of the Tiv Divisions and later he was transferred to Kano State where he served as District Officer for Urban in 1965. He was Principal Secretary, Ministry of Housing Lagos and was also Deputy Permanent Secretary of Political Division; he later became Permanent Secretary.

Mention must be made of Alhaji Aminu Saleh, Chief Olu Falae, Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed, Alhaji Gidado Idris, Chief Ufot Ekaette, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe and Alhaji Shehu Ahmadu Musa who were very brilliant Permanent Secretaries; it is no surprise that they ended their careers as Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

I also remember Chief Ben Osunsade, Alhaji Adamu Fika, Ambassador Victor Adegoroye, Mr. C.A.N. Ebie, Mr. A.S.N. Egbo, Mr. M.E.P. Udebiuwa, Chief Chukwemeka Ezeife, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Alhaji Seidu Bada, Chief J.E. Uduehi, and many whose names cannot be easily accommodated here. These men and women are seldom mentioned but they led with intellect, vision and grace. Their mentorship produced a generation of the golden age of the Federal Civil Service.

I must also add the following who were Permanent Secretaries also and whose services were also appreciated: Chief Henry Omenai, Alhaji Tatari Alli, Mr. M.I. Alege, Chief J.B. Ojo, Mr. E.E. Ojumu, Dr. P.E. Japa and Mr Oduah.

A woman that deserves special mentioning is Mrs. Francesca Yetunde Emmanuel (19 September, 1933- 8 April 2020). She was the first woman Permanent Secretary in the Federal Civil Service. A multi-talented and highly brilliant officer, she joined the Civil Service in 1959. She was appointed Permanent Secretary in July 1975.

She served as Permanent Secretary with great distinction, first at the Cabinet Office and subsequently in several ministries, including Establishments, Health, Science and Technology and Social Development, Youth and Sports. She is best known as an outstanding civil servant. She was regarded as a woman of grace and an epitome of womanhood.

Describing the role of the Super Permanent Secretaries, one of them, Chief Allison Akede Ayida wrote: “During the interregnum of July 29 to August 1, 1966 when for four days there was no Government in Nigeria, a group of Federal Permanent Secretaries visited Ikeja Barracks amidst the ‘rising grass’ and were introduced to combat troops therein as members of the Civil Service Tribe.

They played the critical role in averting the instant disintegration of Nigeria. Sometimes I am asked if the game was worth the candle or whether Nigeria should have been allowed to break up?  I used to be an incurable optimist but sometimes I wonder in moments of doubt whether this is the mistake of my life. We took much risk then but others have made the supreme sacrifice for Nigeria.

I still regret the late Abdul Atta and I did not accept Colonel Gowon’s invitation for us and the then Solicitor-General, Justice Kazeem, to stay behind and write his ‘take-over’ speech. ‘The basis of unity is not there’ would not have been the albatross of the Federal propaganda effort during the Civil War and the Gowonist era of One Nigeria.

“I still believe this country is worth saving but only on one condition: namely that it is preserved for the benefit of all Nigerians irrespective of state of origin or religion. There shall be no second class citizens; this should be an article of faith observed and seen to be observed scrupulously by the leadership at all levels. A rethink is basic to the future stability and objectivity of the career public service.


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