Testing the Grit of Public Service, the biography of Alhaji Adamu Liman Ciroma, is now to be publicly presented on January 26th, 2019. The late Adamu Liman Ciroma who died in May 2004 was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation under the first Obasanjo administration between 1976 and 1979. The function which was postponed indefinitely last October will take place at the Main Auditorium of the Arewa House in Kaduna under the Chairmanship of Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, himself also a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation under the late Umaru Yar’Adua and later Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
While Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State will play the chief host, Alhaji Aminu Dantata will be the chief launcher with Prof Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, (NUC) serving as the book reviewer.
Liman Ciroma is an uncle (not the senior brother as Adamu Ciroma is the son of Liman Ciroma’s eldest sister) of the equally well known Adamu Ciroma but while Adamu Ciroma was a politician, Liman Ciroma was a technocrat till the end of his life. He remains one of the few northern technocrats to whom it could be claimed that all the toughest regional elite deferred to, including his stubborn junior, the equally late Adamu Ciroma as well as General Muhammadu Buhari who is president today. Some people who knew the elder Ciroma claim that without his intervention, General Buhari might not have accepted to head PTF under the late General Abacha just as Adamu Ciroma would not have accepted to be a Minister under the same regime. Adamu Ciroma who had said publicly that Chief MKO Abiola won the June 1993 election fair and square had decided to maintain his distance from power. But Abacha got through to his senior brother who persuaded the junior Ciroma to participate because there was need to stabilize the state rather than allow state collapse because of a mishap.
Similarly, he was believed to have been a main influence on the fractured northern elite in 1998 in terms of who to support out of Obasanjo and the late Dr Alex Ekwueme. Liman Ciroma who trained in Archeology from the University of London’s Institute of Archeology brought a historical analysis to decision making by arguing that there was no way the generation of Igbos which experienced the Nigerian Civil War would not manifest residual elements of that experience in the exercise of power and it was safer to allow time for a new generation to develop. He thought that Obasanjo, a Yoruba was safer in 1999 because the Yorubas who have ran empires would have a better appreciation of Nigeria which is, in his view, an empire. Still, his influence wasn’t total on this as the old NPN cadres in the north did not accept it. Interestingly, his junior brother – Adamu Ciroma – led the ‘rebels’ in favour of Dr. Ekwueme until they were defeated at the Jos Convention of the PDP early 1999. Adamu Ciroma’s argument at the time was that it was bad strategy for the PDP to pick its presidential candidate from the Yorubaland which had not accepted the party when the Igbos were already deep in the party. Well, cash power defeated logic at the Jos Convention.
Liman Ciroma is the second of two northerners Chief Obasanjo isolated for commendation in his permanently powerful address to ‘The State of the Nation’ workshop at Arewa House in February 1994. The second is the late General Murtala Mohammed.
The book in question is bound to bring out more clearly the statist paradigm of that whole generation of technocrats who developed the amazing Second National Development Plan whose outcomes are what politicians in power today are auctioning in the name of privatisation even though most of them have not read a line of the development plan. Among members of that generation are Chief Simon Adebo, Chief Jerome Udoji and later Edwin Ogbu, Philip Asiodu, Alison Ayida, Liman Ciroma, Sunday Awoniyi, amongst others. Many of them either wrote their memoirs or someone wrote a book on them. The late Adamu Ciroma, however, refused to write, saying that nobody reads biographies as far as he knew.