Rem­i­nis­cences with Muham­mad Jibo

Sunday Trust - - REM­I­NIS­CENCES -

to rein­tro­duce their for­mer ways. And they did. Be­cause the new per­son had in­sisted on tak­ing over af­ter one month, I handed over and en­joyed my­self for two months. A rail­way staff could board train to any­where for free. There­fore, I en­joyed my­self for two months, trav­el­ling to dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try.

Af­ter the two months of re­lax­ation, what hap­pened?

I was posted to Zaria as a tele­graphist. I was re­spon­si­ble for send­ing mes­sages. At the end of 1955, I re­ceived a ver­bal in­struc­tion that I should re­port to the In­sti­tute of Ad­min­is­tra­tion, now Ah­madu Bello University’s In­sti­tute of Ad­min­is­tra­tion, for train­ing. I was sur­prised be­cause I didn’t have any­thing to do with the gov­ern­ment.

I re­fused to move un­til when the pres­sure was too much. I was then earn­ing 9 pounds per month, but when I re­ported to the in­sti­tute I was placed on a monthly stipend of 1 pound with some shillings. At that time I had a wife and she gave birth to my first child, a month ear­lier. So you can imag­ine the chal­lenge, es­pe­cially the de­cline in in­come. I left my wife and child at home and bought two bi­cy­cles, which I gave out for hire. The in­come got­ten from the bi­cy­cles was given to my wife to take care of her­self and the child.

Be­cause of that post­ing I had to re­sign from the rail­way. At the in­sti­tute, I was given a uni­form and a sin­gle room. The train­ing was for a Di­ploma in Ac­count­ing.

An­other prob­lem came up. About 28 of us were en­rolled in the pro­gramme, but at the end of the course, all of us failed. The rea­son was sim­ple. At that time, Sar­dauna was im­ple­ment­ing his north­erni­sa­tion agenda. So, if we were al­lowed to grad­u­ate, it would mean that he would have a crop of north­ern­ers to com­ple­ment the agenda. Euro­peans were then man­ag­ing ev­ery­where.

Af­ter they said we had failed, two of us were asked to go back and teach the next set of stu­dents who were ad­mit­ted the next year. Re­mem­ber, we were not given any cer­tifi­cate. We taught. Af­ter that, we were ap­pointed into the civil ser­vice.

The next thing I am go­ing to say would make you laugh, but it was a se­ri­ous is­sue. Hav­ing suc­cess­fully taught the in­takes that came af­ter us, in 1956, the two of us were made to sit for the same ex­am­i­na­tion as our stu­dents. The stu­dents passed, but the two of us failed. How­ever, a gazette was is­sued giv­ing us the same rights as those that passed.

Af­ter that I was posted to the same in­sti­tute. Later, I was posted to the juicy side of the in­sti­tute, that is, the fi­nance sec­tion. Later, I was asked to en­gage in train­ing the fi­nance staff of the whole North. I hardly spent 10 days in my house.

In 1967, there was fraud in the in­sti­tute and they wrote to the Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment to send some­body to in­ves­ti­gate. The min­istry asked the in­sti­tute to ap­point some­body to con­duct the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. I was on tour when they re­called me to do the job.

When I came, I gave them my terms. Prom­i­nent among my terms was that no one should in­ter­fere with my job. They ac­cepted. Within a week, I did ev­ery­thing, but sent the re­port af­ter two weeks. The min­istry found the re­port ex­cit­ing and there­fore, said that the per­son who did the re­port should be al­lowed to im­ple­ment it. I was, there­fore, ap­pointed as the su­per­vi­sory bur­sar to im­ple­ment my re­port. Af­ter im­ple­ment­ing the re­port, the bur­sar was asked to leave and I was made the new bur­sar.

I was the bur­sar of the In­sti­tute of Ad­min­is­tra­tion amidst many chal­lenges. Be­fore this ap­point­ment, when the Ah­madu Bello University was es­tab­lished, all the mem­bers of staff in the Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, ex­cept me, were given an op­tion to move to the university or re­main with the min­istry. That was be­cause the in­sti­tute was un­der the min­istry. I was told that I was for the university. When I moved to the university; they couldn’t place me on any scale be­cause I was not qual­i­fied. Re­mem­ber, I don’t have any pa­per qual­i­fi­ca­tion ex­cept my school cer­tifi­cate.

Again, the whole staff mem­bers of the bur­sary depart­ment were from eastern Nige­ria and the bur­sar was Euro­pean. Re­mem­ber, Sar­dauna was fully en­gaged in north­erni­sa­tion. When I went there, the bur­sar saw me as be­ing posted to take over his po­si­tion. I was too young to bother my­self with what was hap­pen­ing.

On the other hand, I was the first north­ern per­son to work with those peo­ple from eastern Nige­ria. A com­mit­tee had to be set up to pro­vide a spe­cial scale for me be­low those in the university. I was ap­pointed as Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer, Ac­count, whereas my col­leagues were se­nior ac­coun­tants and ac­coun­tants.

How­ever, by 1964 I over­shad­owed ev­ery­body. I was con­sid­ered for the rank of se­nior ac­coun­tant. But the bur­sar re­fused to al­low me take over that po­si­tion. Af­ter an­other year, the then Vice Chan­cel­lor Ishaya (Audu) had to come in and set up a panel and I was found wor­thy of be­ing a se­nior ac­coun­tant.

The bur­sar called me and said he would not write my pro­mo­tion let­ter. I called his name and said, ‘Even if you are on death bed you would sign my pro­mo­tion let­ter.’ He was or­dered to do that and drafted the pro­mo­tion let­ter. He signed the let­ter and re­signed as bur­sar.

Again, I jumped out from hot to boil­ing wa­ter. Some­body who was ap­pointed the bur­sar hated me. At the ABU, I re­peated the same thing I did in Kafan­chan. Be­cause the new bur­sar didn’t want to see my face, he posted me out. I set up the bur­sary depart­ment in Bayero University, Kano and the Dan Fo­dio University, Sokoto. Be­cause of that, I was sent to Maiduguri to start the bur­sary depart­ment there. That was be­tween 1967 and 1972.

The work­load in Maiduguri was not much, so I en­joyed my­self there. A re­port came to Zaria that I was adding weight be­cause of en­joy­ment and I was called back. But I was later sent back to Maiduguri.

Re­mem­ber that in all the job I had done, up to the time I be­came the bur­sar of ABU, I was not sent on any course. All I had was my sec­ondary school cer­tifi­cate. When I was made the act­ing bur­sar, I was not even aware be­cause I was on my way to Zaria from Maiduguri. I was only asked to re­port back to Zaria.

When I ar­rived Zaria, I went to the bur­sar’s of­fice. He knew that I was the new bur­sar but I didn’t. He kept me in the of­fice and left. Af­ter clos­ing hours, I went to my house. It was the reg­is­trar who fol­lowed me to my house and told me the new devel­op­ment.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing I went to meet the bur­sar in the of­fice. I chal­lenged him on why he left me in the of­fice. I told him that I was not even aware that I was the new bur­sar. I told him that whether he liked it or not he must work with me. He said he would not work with me. I, there­fore, told him that he would lose his job.

The day I en­tered the bur­sar’s of­fice, all the staff mem­bers of the depart­ment, in­clud­ing the bur­sar’s sec­re­tary, were laugh­ing at me, say­ing that Jibo was not qual­i­fied to be the bur­sar? But within six months, from the vice chan­cel­lor to the low­est staff knew that I was the bur­sar.

What was pop­u­lar­ity?

re­spon­si­ble for your

Skills and prin­ci­ples; and these earned me many nick­names, one of which was “the man who only lis­tens to him­self.’’ That was be­cause the University Coun­cil could de­cide on some­thing, but if it was not in line with the rules and reg­u­la­tions of the university, I would not obey the de­ci­sion.

I im­bibed that cul­ture of trans­parency be­cause of an in­ci­dent that hap­pened when we were in the mid­dle school. A col­league of ours de­frauded the Na­tive Author­ity and he was marched to the foot­ball field, with all stu­dents gath­ered. His of­fence was re­vealed and he was sub­se­quently jailed. The fraud was only on seven shillings. I, there­fore, told my­self that I would not do any­thing that would com­pro­mise my in­tegrity. Up till date, I can’t re­mem­ber when I col­lected money un­of­fi­cially from any­body.

What was your re­la­tion­ship with the vice chan­cel­lor?

Let me tell you an episode that would help you to un­der­stand the na­ture of the re­la­tion­ship. When I was go­ing through bur­sary doc­u­ments, I found a let­ter sent by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment on the en­ti­tle­ments of Ishaya (Audu) who was a one­time vice chan­cel­lor. But up to the time I took over as bur­sar, noth­ing was done about it.

I took the file and went to the vice chan­cel­lor, but he asked me to forget about that. I came back to my of­fice and made up my mind that I must pay him his en­ti­tle­ments. Up till to­day, as far as I am con­cerned, there has not been a bet­ter vice chan­cel­lor in ABU than Ishaya. He be­lieved, worked and de­liv­ered for the North. So I sat down and worked out all his en­ti­tle­ments and took the file to the Cen­tral Bank in La­gos and got au­tho­ri­sa­tion to pay him. The vice chan­cel­lor just heard of it be­cause it was my right to pay.

Un­for­tu­nately, when it was the turn of the vice chan­cel­lor to leave, they for­got what they did to Ishaya. In ad­di­tion to his en­ti­tle­ments, they wanted more to be added. But I said no, he would get his full en­ti­tle­ments and no more.

A din­ner was or­gan­ised for the prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers of the university in hon­our of the out­go­ing vice chan­cel­lor. I didn’t know that one of the rea­sons for the din­ner was to trick me. I did not take any­thing be­cause I was used to tak­ing tuwo in the night; I had al­ready eaten. I was go­ing out when the chair­man of the Coun­cil called me and said, “We want to use this gath­er­ing to set­tle the is­sue of the vice chan­cel­lor’s en­ti­tle­ments.’’ I told him what he was en­ti­tled to. He said that as the chair­man of the Coun­cil he wanted me to do some­thing else. I said that as bur­sar I could not do that. He, there­fore, told me that the Coun­cil would sit and de­cide and I must do it. I told him that some­body else could do it but not me.

Two days later, the Coun­cil met and de­cided that the vice chan­cel­lor should be given those things he was not en­ti­tled to. The chair­man asked if I heard the de­ci­sion of the Coun­cil. I said yes and added that the Coun­cil would re­gret the de­ci­sion. I couldn’t wait to get to my of­fice, so I col­lected a sheet of pa­per on the way, wrote my res­ig­na­tion and gave it to the chair­man.

The Coun­cil did not know what to do. They started ask­ing me to come back. In fact, when a send-forth din­ner was or­gan­ised for me, the Coun­cil chair­man, who sat next to me, asked what I would do af­ter leav­ing the university. I told him that my take home pay as bur­sar was about N500 and af­ter leav­ing, I would be re­ceiv­ing N850 as pen­sion ev­ery month. He did not ut­ter a word again. This

Re­mem­ber that in all the job I had done, up to the time I be­came the bur­sar of ABU, I was not sent on any course. All I had was my sec­ondary school cer­tifi­cate. When I was made the act­ing bur­sar, I was not even aware be­cause I was on my way to Zaria from Maiduguri. I was only asked to re­port back to Zaria

“When I moved to the university, they couldn’t place me on any scale be­cause I was not qual­i­fied”

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