Amosa Saidu: The glorious "retirement" of a true son of Ilorin
By Abubakar Imam
A very close friend of mine,who was once described by the Emir of Ilorin,Alhaji (Dr)Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari,CFR, as a promising son of Ilorin, went through two years of trying and troubling experiences courtesy of an undeserved disengagement from the services of a firm. His disengagement, which was unwisely instigated by a mindless top executive of the firm he hitherto worked for,was effected in spite of his profound industry, exciting academic qualifications and exceptional cognate experience as well as unblemished records of service. The travails of that friend of mine informed those of us who knew what happened to him and how he endured the discomfort of the period that nothing could be more befitting for a person who started a "journey" joyously than rounding it off excitingly.
Notwithstanding the fact that the guy eventually picked up again and has been doing well since overcoming the travails, the period and the experiences associated with being undeservedly and unceremoniously shown the exit from one's employment confirmed the fact that "oju apa ki jo oju ara"(nothing can absolutely restitutes the physical and emotional suffering of a man).
Ever since,I always felt compelled to rejoice with anyone who retired meritoriously from the services of either a state or federal government not to talk of a private corporate organisation, which takes joy in "hiring and firing" based on what many would considered as inconsequential labour matter(s) as if they are buying "kulikuli" from Oja-Oba. Retiring from service with full benefits and compliment of a sound mind can simply be liken to the return of a sheep from a jungle of cannibals.
This piece is,therefore, a tribute or celebration of the quality career and glorious retirement of Alhaji Idris Amosa Oladipo Saidu, whose glamorous exit from active public service takes effect on September 30,2021.By the time you are reading this piece, he would have effectively retired from the regular services of the federal government after about 35 years of meritorious services as a financial technocrat and administrator.
Let me say that the subject of this piece cannot pick me from a crowd. If I must add, I would also opine that I have neither set my eyes on him too. Yet, we are brothers and compatriots who have interacted with each other on several issues and at different occasions most especially on community development.
Since the crossing of our paths due to commonality of patriotic services, Alhaji Saidu is one of those I always feel free to ask questions on issues, events and personalities,particularly concerning his contemporaries. I have also benefitted from his deep wealth of experience through confirmation of doubts. He has as well, and more importantly, being an enduring admirer and objective critic of my periodic pieces on Ilorin Emirate and her illustrious indigenes. I must confess that I felt elated,humbled and honoured when he told me that he often found time to read my "junks" no matter how long they are.
Understandably, I asked him directly for confirmation when his then pending retirement found its way into public domain. He responded in affirmation. I subsequently told myself that I must tell the reading public what I have gathered about him so far for those who don't have such access to know and for those who are still in service to emulate.
Alhaji Idris Amosa Oladipo Saidu,a chartered Accountant, seasoned Banker and distinguished technocrat, was born in Ilorin on October 28,1961.He hails from the Akinale lineage of the Magaji Nda chieftaincy family of Ile Nda within the precinct of the ancient palace of the Emir of Ilorin. His father was late Alhaji Saidu Kawu(not the famous jurist).He has a rich ancestry. His grandfather, Mohammad Oladipo, was the Magaji Nda of Ilorin between 1943 and 1974. His dad also served as the Magaji Nda of Ilorin from 1995 to 1998. Alhaji Saidu's mother, late Alhaja Aminat Adepate Oseni, hailed from Erubu Quarters, Ilorin. This versatile financial technocrat is, in fact, the only surviving of the nine children that came from the womb of his mum. Hence, the Yoruba mythologically inspired cognomen of "Amosa" given to him. His beloved mother unfortunately gave up the ghost at the University College Hospital, Ibadan,in 1972.
As it was and still very prevalent among the good people of Ilorin Emirate, young Idris started real life as a pupil of a traditional Quranic school. He was trained in the arts and science of Quranic recitation at the famous Ile Kewu Ile Gbagba in the Ita-Ajia area of Ilorin. He was also exposed to the rudimentary knowledge of Islam and traditional education, which were targeted at raising him as a good Muslim and a distinguished member of the human community that he has turned out to be.
While still pursuing his Qur'anic training, Alhaji Saidu was enrolled as a pupil of the then Baboko Local Schools' Board, Baboko,Ilorin. He was trained at the school between 1968 and 1973 at the end of which he received his First School Leaving Certificate as among the best of his set. His mates at the primary school level were a journalist and former Majority Leader of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Honourable Abdulwahab Kayode Omotose; a former Vice-Chairman of Ilorin West Local Government Council,Alhaji Jimoh Kabido Gegele; and a former Commissioner in the National Population Commission, Alhaji Saadu Koroagba Alanamu.
In September ,1973,Alhaji Saidu was admitted into the then Ilorin Teachers College (now Sheikh Abdulkadir College), Ilorin. He was in the secondary school section of the famous College from 1973 to 1978 when he sat for, and passed the West African School Certificate in flying colours. At the College, he was a contemporary to a retired Deputy Director at Nigerian Maritime Safety and Administration Agency (NIMASA), Prince Aliyu Kolapo Aliyu Abdulkadir; a security expert with KWASU, Alhaji Hambali Taiwo AbdulRaheem , a veteran journalist, Abdulateef Ottan; a Chief Lecturer at Kaduna Polytechnic, Dr Salamat Idris Attahiru; a Lecturer at the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Dr Oba Baba Ayoku; a topnotch of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Alhaji Atolagbe Saka Jimoh; a former Principal of the College, Alhaji Toyin Saliu and Mallam Abubakar Salau, who is an high ranking civil servant in Kwara State.
In preparation for university education, Alhaji Saidu was trained at the then School of Basic Studies of the Old Kwara State College of Technology (now Kwara State Polytechnic), Ilorin,where he did and obtained his "A"Level GCE Cambridge Moderated Examinations in Economics, Geography and Mathematics. At the institution,he was a contemporary to the Chief of Staff to former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed , Alhaji Yusuf Baba Abdulwahab; a retired Director, NAFDAC, Pharm. Bolakale S.Ayinde; a topnotch at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Engr.Yinusa Yakubu Mustspha; and the Magaji of the famous Agbabiaka family of Ilorin, Brigadier-General Ibrahim Kale Agbab (rtd).Other contemporaries of his at Kwara Tech were an high-ranking academic staff of the Kwara State University, Malete, Dr. AbdulRahman Mustapha; a Lagos-Based Businessman and Public Relations Officer,Third Estate, Alhaji Shuaib Ibrahim; a retired Director in the Federal Civil Service, Alhaji Funsho Isiaka AbdulKareem; the Chief Press Secretary to late Governor Muhammad Alabi Lawal and current Commissioner in charge of the National Population Commission in Kwara State, Alhaji Rasak Gidado; and a retired Banker, top Lagos-Based Business Executive and first President of the Third Estate, Salihu Haji Belgore.
His exciting successes in his West African School Certificate programme coupled with his exceptional passes in Advanced Level papers accounted for his admission into the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1981.He was admitted into the institution's Department of Accounting, Faculty of Administration from which he eventually graduated with a First Class degree in Accounting in 1984. Among those who were students at the prestigious University with him were the immediate past Bursar, University of Ilorin, Alhaji Saka Abiodun Yusuf; the Director-General,National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Alhaji Ahmed Bolaji Nagode; a former Commissioner in Kwara State and currently top management staff of Dangote Business Empire, Alhaji Ahmed Ladan Gobir; a former Member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Alhaji Fatai Salman Bakini; a topnotch of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Alhaji Issa king Suleiman Agaka; a Director at the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Alhaji Toyin Alaya and ,of course, Barrister Isiaka Amode.
Not satisfied with his first degree and exciting knowledge of accountancy as a profession, Alhaji Saidu attended the Lagos State University(LASU), where he pursued and earned a Master's degree in Legal Studies( International Law and Diplomacy) between 1996 and 1998.
Much earlier and In 1986 to be specific , this renowned financial technocrat had passed the Final II Qualifying Examinations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria(ICAN). His success in the examinations made him a Chartered Accountant at the impressionistic age of 25.
This illustrious son of Ilorin Emirate started his exciting working career as an NYSC Accountant. He offered his mandatory national youth service at the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru,near Jos. He did his primary assignment as a Member of the National Youth Service Corps between 1984 and 1985.
As a brilliant Accountant, Alhaji Saidu's services were quickly engaged by the then International Merchant Bank as an Analyst in its Accounts and Reconciliation Unit in 1985.He left the Bank as the Head of its Kano Branch Operations in 1989.
Between 1989 and 1995, he was a Senior Manager with the rested Citi Trust Merchant Bank. He served in various units of the Bank becoming the Senior Manager, Finance, before leaving the services of the financial institution. In between, he also worked for B. T. Samuel and Co. from 1992 to 1999.
In 1995, Alhaji Saidu joined the Union Merchant Bank as a Senior Manager (Finance). He left the Bank in 1998. He also served as a Fellow Consultant at Toyin Ogunaike and Co., a firm of Chartered Accountants between 1999 and 2000.
This glamorous financial technocrat joined the services of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) as Assistant Director, Finance and Control in year 2000.Between 2005 and 2011, he was the Deputy Director, Finance and Investment of the same establishment. In 2011, he was deservedly promoted to the rank of Director, Finance and Investment of TETFUND, a position he maintained till his well-deserved "retirement".
While in service, Alhaji Saidu was not an armchair financial technocrat. He broadened his knowledge and professional wherewithal with attendance of no fewer than 40 scholarly conferences, seminars and workshops held within and outside Nigeria.
Apart from being a Fellow of the globally-respected Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Alhaji Saidu is also Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) as well as the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CITN).He is as well a Member of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).
An accomplished professional, Alhaji Saidu also received many prizes and commendations for his industry and brilliance. He is a recipient of countless Letters of Commendation from his employers, just as he was so decorated during the course of his studentship at the famous Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he received series of prizes such as the Union Bank's Prize for Best Performance in Management Accounting for the 1983/1984 session. He was also the recipient of the Dean's Annual Prize as the Overall Best Student in the institution's Faculty of Administration in 1981 and 1983.He also received the Isa Dutse's Prize for his Outstanding Performance as a Part 1 Student of the Faculty of Administration,Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1981.
Alhaji Saidu, notwithstanding his alluring professional accomplishments in both the private and public sectors, remains a grassroot man who has been part of several developmental processes of Ilorin Emirate over the years. His close friends are mostly from Ilorin and consisted of his school mates earlier mentioned and members of sociocultural organisations he belongs to including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Alhaji AbdulAkeem Usman Mustapha; a retired Director of Finance, Police Service Commission, Alhaji Aliyu Oba Ajikobi; a Director at the Federal Character Commission, Alhaji AbdulBaqi Jimoh; a Director with JAMB; Dr Yusuf Lawal and an Abuja-Based top Businessman, Alhaji Lukmam Atanda, to mention a few.
Alhaji Saidu is a distinguished Member of organisations like Third Estate, Ilorin Like-Minds as well as Ilorin Anchor Men and Women. He is also a member of the Ilorin Emirate Stakeholders Forum and many others through which he exerts his influence and contacts to assist in the progress and development of Ilorin Emirate in so many ways.
This newest member of the unregistered "Association of Senior Citizens of Nigeria" (ASCN) is also a philanthropist of note. Available evidences show that he inherited the act of giving from his parents who were notable philanthropists of their times. Alhaji Saidu has evidently, extensively and continuously undertaken several educational, economic and religious empowerment programmes from which hundreds of less-privileged individuals and communities from across the five Local Government Areas constituting his beloved Ilorin Emirate benefited. He found the groundbreaking and hyperactive Abdullahi Babatunde Salaudeen and Uthman Jaguma's inspired Ilorin Emirate Youth Development Association(IEYDA) useful in reaching-out to the underprivileged.
Those empowerment initiatives ,which were undertaken over the years, saw many indigent but brilliant youths of Ilorin Emirate origin pursuing and completing their education at various levels with many others granted economic potency and occupational wherewithal through entrepreneurial support services offered them by this great son of Ilorin Emirate. Alhaji Saidu would also remain celebrated for the building and support of renovations of several Mosques at different places across Ilorin Emirate. Most importantly, he is a deliberate silent giver.
The culmination of "Iwo nu,Olohun nun"(we leave you to Allah for appropriate compensations) often uttered by Ilorin people must have eventuated in the appointment offered him by the Inspector General of Police,Mr Usman Alikali Baba, as his Technical Assistant,Finance and Investment, exactly a month to his retirement. While those who have no belief in the efficacy of prayers and the fact that "Olohun ko kin je eniyan gbe" (no action of a man would ever go unrewarded) would think that he was offered the appointment because he simply merited it, his Ilorin compatriots are of the conviction that his "peaceful landing" and the subsequent offer of appointment was informed by the supplications of those he had assisted over the years. I hold on to the latter because he is not the most brilliant accountant in the land. He is also not the first to retire. But what is very clear is that he is one of those who will have another job and on the platter of gold waiting for them before retirement. Those who don't believe in prayers should ask people to curse them or act in a way that would attract curses . They should wait for the consequences!
This brilliant son of Ilorin is not an apostle of celibacy. He is happily married to Alhaja Bilikisu Bukola Saidu. His wife is the eldest daughter of Shaykh Ibrahim Abdullahi Olohungbebe of Abidogun Compound, Ode-Alfa Nda area,Off Pakata Road,Ilorin. His illustrious father-in-law,who lived between 1927 and August 2, 1997, was a renowned cleric, scholar,patriot and community leader who adopted Otta, Ogun State, as his base. Alhaja Saidu,who is famously known as Hajia Indomie, is a successful multidisciplinary Businesswoman and Proprietor of Smarbrim International School,G.R.A,Ilorin. The two love birds are blessed with children who are doing very well in their chosen professions.
I was on the delegation of the Ilorin Emirate Staff Association, University of Ilorin, which paid the Emir of Ilorin a courtesy visit at his palace a few hours after Alhaji Saidu departed the presence of the Emir on his return to Ilorin on Wednesday, September 29,2021.Flowing from what he had heard about his patriotism, Alhaji Sulu-Gambari had to recommend the patriotic dispositions of the retired financial technocrat to members of the Association. What a great endorsement from a respected statesman and monarch!
May I, therefore, congratulate Alhaji Saidu for retiring gloriously and in sound health and with his integrity unsoiled. I also felicitate with him and his wife and children as well as with his friends, colleagues and relations for a career that enjoyed total divine guidance .It is my prayer that his life in retirement be more enviable, pleasant and rewarding and may he also live long to enjoy his pension to the fullest and reap other fruits of his labour.
Imam is National Publicity Secretary, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union.