COOMASIE, Alhaji Ahmadu

FIRST NORTHERN PERMANENT SECRETARY Ahmadu Coomasie was born of Katsina Parentage in 1908. His father was at the time the Chief of the Hausa community in far away Kumasiin Ghana hence the surname- Coomasie. Ahmadu startedhiseducationin Kumasi but was sent back to Katsina ayear later to continue. In 1924, he was admitted into the old Katsina Provincial School into class four but was pushed to class six seeing his level of perception. Threeyears later in 1927 hefinishedthreeyears of formal education and becameaHead TeacherinMani. Ahmadu first tasted official punishment in 1932 when the then Emir of Katsina (Dikko) made him walk atotal of Twenty Two miles from Katsina to Mani for daring to suggest that he was leaving teaching and going back to Kumasi. In 1933,hewas transferred backtoKatsina. Ahmadu's career in the Education Sector received a boost in 1946 when he was appointed the Katsina Local Education Officer. Probably the most impressive performance ofAhmadu Coomasie in his service to theNorth was in the war against ignorance. In 1956, he was transferred to Zaria to work on the Mass Literacy campaign which he did with religious devotion. The campaign under Ahmadu Coomasie and Abubakar Imam was regarded as the most outstanding singular effort of developmentin Northern Region outsidepolitics. Still in the education sector, Alhaji Ahmadu Coomasie became the Deputy Permanent Secretary in theMinistry of Education in 1956. In 1959, preparatory to Independence, Alhaji Ahmadu was promoted Senior Northern Administrative Officer. Referred to as aman of solid character withareputation for conscientiousness andprobity, he became thefirst substantive Northern Permanent Secretary when he was named as such to theMinistry of Welfare and Co-operative in 1960. He was there till 1962 when he was moved to the new Ministry of Establishments and Training in the same capacity. In 1963, he was named Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education. The 'first dean "of the Northern Civil Service had at this time began hinting his intention to retire from service in 1962 but the Sardauna would not have any of it for Ahmadu Coomasie's experience was needed in the transition from a "white" dominated service to an indigenous one. Having been persuaded, he was moved to theMinistry of Economic Planning where AHAkilu had left a vaccum. But havingpaid his dues in 1965, Alhaji Ahmadu Coomasie retried from Civil Service but not from Public Services for he was almost immediately made the Chairman of the Nigerian Tobacco Company Zaria. He served in that capacity till 1971 when he finally retired and returned home to Katsina. It is on record that the trust in this great man by the Sardauna and his men was solid for the nature of special responsibilities placed on his shoulders: He was the one charged with the responsibility ofprobing the riots in Kano in 1953 and the Tiv riots of 1964. Also as ActingPermanent Secretary in theMinistry of Education in 1960, Alhaji Ahamadu launched in Zaria a new coursefor Visiting Teachers to address issues related to educational administration. He was also the master mind of the war against illiteracy in Northern Nigeria. The Reverted gentleman was one of the men of honour called upon to investigate allegations levelled against thefrrst Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji AbdulkadirBalarabe Musa, which led to his impeachment in 1981. Alhaji Ahmadu Coomasie died on the 28th ofApril, 1988. "...Ours is the home of an old culture which we are adapting in our-own way to the needs of the rapidly chaimiw times. We have striven in the past, and en amino times, we nave striven in we vast, ana shau continue to strive in the future, to preserve all thatis bestinwis ancient heritage and to blendit with the new ideas and new techniques which we must also adopt if we are to take our rightful place in the modern world. Among the traditions which we have inherited from our forebears, and which we intend to transmittoourdescendants, thereeis none that are prize more highly than respect for lawful constitutea authority. Because of this. quality in our people, we are confidant that, in the future, asin the past, our evolution will be tranquil and orderly. Our customs and institutions are not artificial creations nor have they been borrowed ready made from others. On we contrary, with their roots deep in the bast,yet changing to meet needs of the future, tHey are living, growing things. The Sardauna, SirAhmadu Bello 15thMay, 1959
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