As a junior student in Barewa College, Zaria in the early 70’s, I often wondered how big international celebrities such as the likes of Tina Turner, Chubby Checker; etc came about having such beautiful names. It was much later in the college, that I learnt that these celebrities actually had change of names and in the case of the two examples cited, one was actually born Anna Mae Bullock and the other, Ernest Evans.
Coming to Nigeria, the names Mallam Adamu Liman Ciroma, CFR (B.514) (1930 – 2004); Mallam Adamu Ciroma, CFR (B. 853) (1934 – 2018) and Mallam Adamu Fika (B.653) (1933 – to date), all members of the Barewa Old Boys’ Association (BOBA) were their given names at birth and all rose to prominence, nationally and internationally after having been trained in Barewa College, Zaria for their secondary school education. More to the point, they were all from Fika Emirate, in the defunct Borno Province at the time of their admission into Barewa College, Zaria, then as Kaduna College, Kaduna.
This tribute is about the life and times of the late Mallam Adamu Ciroma, CFR (Madakin Fika) (B853) from the perspectives of the Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA).
The three Adamus were to personify the culture, training, breeding that came to be known as the Barewa Tradition. This term simply connotes integrity, dignity, respect for constituted authority and above all, incorruptibility. These were and still are the hallmark of many a Barewa College, Zaria graduate. To a graduate of Barewa College, Zaria, his integrity was sacrosanct. The appellation of “Mr Integrity” referring to the late Mallam Adamu Ciroma, is such a model personified.
Mallam Mamman Daura, a distinguished Nigerian and a close associate of the late Adamu Ciroma, himself, also cut in the same integrity mould, had written extensively, as should be expected, a befitting tribute in respect of a departed comrade. I was old enough to have read the New Nigerian Newspaper at its time of glory when both the late Adamu Ciroma and Mallam Mamman Daura, edited the Al-Ahram of Northern Nigeria at different times.
The integrity personified toga, worn by the late Mallam Adamu Ciroma, and rightly so, was not altogether unrelated to his upbringing and indeed the disposition of the people of Fika Emirate, which is in present day Yobe State.
It was only the likes of the late Mallam Adamu Ciroma, who would resign an appointment such as governorship of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); with three or more years to go, in order to represent his people in 1977 in the Constituent Assembly. Similarly, he resigned his ministerial appointment in the mid 90s, as well as pro-chancellor and chairman of Council of first generation University of Nigeria out of virtues and conviction of doing what he felt was right in each case.
The same type of conviction took place in the case of Mallam Adamu Fika, who resigned his high profile appointment as the head of the Civil Service of the Federation in the late 80’s because he did not believe in a non-professional policy shift in the Civil Service at that time. He had about five years to officially retire when he voluntarily left service later. He has since been vindicated.
Still on resignations as acts of honour when it is indeed, the late Mallam Adamu Liman Ciroma of blessed memory, resigned his appointment at the age of 49 years, when he had 11 or so more years before reaching official retirement age. He did this out of conviction of what he felt was right at that time.
Such acts of gallantry and honour by many an indigene of Fika and undoubtedly from those who drank from the fountain of knowledge in Barewa College, Zaria is legendary.
On a personal note, I am familiar with Fika Emirate, as I was posted to Potiskum, in the then Borno State for my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) primary assignment in 1979/80; and as a young pharmacist then, was made the head of the Pharmacy Department, General Hospital, Potiskum, which was at that time, the second largest in the Old Borno State. It was while in Potsikum as a Youth Corper that I came face-to-face with the very rich culture and stranger-friendly disposition of the people of Fika Emirate. Here was I, as a Youth Corper and periodically, a beneficiary of kolanuts and sweets wrapped in transparent cellphone bags sent almost fortnightly to the hospital, mostly on Thursdays for the Medical Doctor In-Charge, the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) and myself, the Pharmacist for wedding fatihah in the Palace, the following day after Jumma’at prayers. Most people in town did not for once, think I was on an NYSC assignment; and some even said to me later that they thought I was an indigene of Borno State from Nguru, posted to work in the hospital, when they realised that I could only speak the Hausa language and had no knowledge of Kanuri or the Bolewa languages.
All this happened during the time of the then Emir of Fika, the late HRH, Alhaji Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idrissa, the father of the present Emir, HRH, Alhaji Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idrissa, CON (B.2484), my former classmate in Barewa College, Zaria from 1970 and 1974, (then addressed as Alkali Adamu Fika), and who never carried himself with an air of member of the Fika Royal Family throughout our stay in the College, despite the fact that his grandfather was Emir. Such was the carriage and humility of many an indigene of Fika Emirate.
It was in the General Hospital that I was entrusted with the entire drug store of the hospital. Several times, I would drive my brand new Peugeot 504, alone, to Maiduguri, the state capital, and to the State Medical Stores, would have the boot of my car and the back seat all packed full with drugs for the General Hospital, Potiskum, and drive all the way through towns and villages such as Benisheikh, Ngamdu, Ngelzarma, Damaturu, Ngamdu, Damagum, Mamudo and to the General Hospital and would offload the drugs consignment, before going to my house. Not a tablet ever got missing. I am however not being immodest about this, rather, it is about the trust, the officers both in Potiskum and Maiduguri had for me. I will forever cherish this trust, which is the character of many an indigene of Fika Emirate. The Chief Pharmacist of Borno State, at that time was our father, Alhaji Garba Daya, an indigene, and presently the District Head of Goya in Fika Emirate.
It pleases almighty Allah (SWT) that Barewa College, Zaria further shaped the characters of many students from Fika Emirate in the mould of the likes of Mallam Adamu Ciroma for leadership, as it did others too, from other provinces in the former Northern Region.
May the gentle soul of the late Mallam Adamu Ciroma, (Madakin Fika), CFR (B.853) and a patron of BOBA rest in perfect peace, amin.
Mora (B2511) is the secretary general of Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA).