Saleh Ibrahim Bature, the author of this piece, introduced himself as an Acting Director and North East Zonal Coordinator of National Gallary of Art. He also sent his phone number along with the script. He has written a contentious but publishable piece to which Intervention welcomes whoever has another view of the matter – Editor.
By Saleh Ibrahim Bature
The interview granted to BBC Hausa service by Dr. Abdullahi Baffah Bichi, the sacked Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), has opened a can of worms. In the interview, Baffah alleged that the Minister reported him to the president on the excuse that the former ES had made himself inaccessible, stiff-necked, recalcitrant and disrespectful that he could not take instructions and was also fond of giving interviews to the press without clearance.
Dr. Baffah sought to debunk the allegations. He claimed that his travails and subsequent ignominious ouster from the TETFund was on refusal to cooperate with the minister to commit crime against the country. Adamu Adamu has not yet responded to the allegations by his former acquiescent Special Assistant. I believe he would do so soonest.
As I earlier posted, the falling-out between Malam and Baffah did not come to me as a surprise. The only element of surprise was how the Honourable Minister tolerated Baffa’s recalcitrance and cantancarous attitudes for over 3 years.
If there was a mistake that Adamu Adamu made on his assumption of duty as the minister, it was the appointment of Baffah to head TETFund. When I pointed that out to a close friend of the minister, he said he shared the same opinion with me but there was nothing he could do because the minister had a lot of confidence in his SA’s ability to deliver. While I agreed with the minister that Baffah was indeed hardworking, I had expected Malam Adamu to retain him as a Special Assistant so he could serve him better and also be easily tamed.
Even from the onset, I had a premonition that the honeymoon between the minister and the Executive Secretary would not last long. I had the conviction that Baffah would not survive as the head of an agency of government. I have a walk-in privilege to the minister’s house. On my first contact with Baffah at the house during the transition period, I regarded Baffah as a very chummy person. He was so acquiescent even to ordinary visitors like me. To my chagrin, this fake sunny disposition suddenly changed immediately he was announced as the SA to the minister.
I first witnessed Baffa’s arrogant disposition when he started to trample on some friends of the Minister. He was intoxicated with power to the extent that he would refuse to see people who came to him from the minister. I could recall an incident where people complained to the minister about Baffa’s penchant for blocking genuine visitors from seeing him in the office. The Registrar of JAMB, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, who was among visitors of the minister at the time, advised the ES to, at least pick calls because there was no justification for him to deliberately refuse to pick calls. Former ministers such as Pauline Tallen and Adamu Maina Waziri, Honorable Farouq Mustspha, Umarun Azare and Alhaji Ali Kwara were few among the many people who suffered Baffa’s ill treatment.
Since his ouster from the office, Baffah and a small coterie of his hangers on, those who feasted on his exploits at TETFund have been spreading the lie that it was a misunderstanding between him and the minister that led to his sack, not violation or infraction on his duties as the ES. Moreover, Baffah was also economical with trust when he told the BBC that he did not have any regrets over what transpired between him and his former boss because he did not betray the trust and confidence Mr. President reposed in him. The truth which Baffah will not like to hear is very bitter. The president did not have any confidence in the deposed ES. If President Muhammadu Buhari had confidence in Baffah, he would definitely not have approved his sack. Whatever Baffah says now against Adamu will expose him as a hypocritical, over ambitious and ungrateful person who returns good with evil.
The attempt to bring the name of Malam Adamu Adamu to disrepute will end in fiasco. There is nothing Baffah can do now or in the future to smear the good name which Adamu has been able protect throughout his long fruitful career as a consummate and celebrated journalist and as Honorable minister in PMB’s government.
And to his sidekicks and bootlickers who protect him against the flagrant abuse of office, how can any sensible person defend Baffah as a spotless person who just “discharged his duties with all sense of responsibility”. The list of victims who suffered from authoritarian leadership and high handedness is endless. If he was the kind hearted boss as his lackeys would want us to believe, staff at TETFund would not have jubilated in euphoria over his dethronement. For instance, my former boss at the National Gallery of Art, Dr. Paul Chike Dike was forced to retire by Femi Fani Kayode, the former Minister of Tourism, Culture & National Orientation over a disagreement in 2006. When the DG was addressing staff at a valedictory meeting, the old man had to stop midway in an emotionally laden speech with tears dropping on his cheeks. Almost every staff at the occasion shed tears. To staff of TETFund, Baffa’s exit was good riddance. Nobody at the agency where he suprintended for over 3 years missed him. So Baffah will go down in history as a bad example of a leader and a lost opportunity.
No government functionary in this dispensation has been so politically exposed. Every where one looks at in Kano, one will be greeted with the posters of Dr. Bichi and President Muhammadu Buhari. The minister was also on the poster before the fall out with Baffah. It is curious as to where Baffah got the millions he recklessly spend on his “one to tell ten” campaign.
My advice to Dr. Abdullahi Baffah Bichi is to show circumspection in his imbecilic tantrums on the Minister of Education. He should not bite the fingers that fed him. The earlier he understands the reality that this is a war he cannot win, the better.