BAJ@71: Ode To The Oracle

By: Inuwa Bwala
The name Baba Ahmed Jidda connotes different things to different people, yet the same thing to everybody.
To some he is a technocrat, to others he is a journalist, some see him as a politician, others as a diplomat and a public officer.

In whatever light he is seen, Baba Ahmed Jidda is an all rounder, and a solution finder.
At 71 he neither looks his age nor betray such weaknesses associated with the age. Some call him ageless, others the man for all ages. He blends with the old and young, yet exudes the candour of a statesman.
When I wrote about Baba Ahmad Jidda in 1998 when he sought to be the Governor of Borno State, I had not met him personally: I only perused his manifesto from one of his friends.
I tagged that piece”Baba Ahmed Jidda: The Reluctant Bride”: published in one of “The Punch” editions of that era.
I knew very little about the politics of Borno then, but I knew as a matter of fact that, he joined the political fray more out of persuasion by others, much more than out of his own personal ambition.
Away in my base in Kaduna at that time, I monitored developments in the State, and I must confess that I was pained when another person was announced as the winner of that election. I was an eventual beneficiary of that loss, but that did not still make up for what Borno might have lost without his leadership.
The way he handled the aftermath of that election , which subsequently endeared him to subsequent governments brought out the statesman in him.
The way he handled his duties and manage people exposed him as an intellectual, a technocrat and a reservoir of knowledge.. The manner Baba Ahmed Jidda handles interpersonal relationships depicts him as a leader. But above all, his comportment, mannerisms and courtesy towards people whose paths crossed his,are seen as the hallmarks of a diplomat.
Whether by coincidence or by design, the coincidence of his birthday with Nigeria’s independence as well as that of his country of deployment: China, brings out the positivity surrounding his personality and it is not surprising that, after so many years of leaving the Executive Council of Borno State, he is still held in reverence.
He earned my personal respect with the manner he counsels members of the council without having to sprain neck muscles and channel presentations with such diplomatic candour: such that he can shoot down ones memo without causing one to feel offended.
He may be short in stature, like me, but he is a giant intellectual: with a CV taller than the tallest person in Borno.
Amongst other diplomats in China, feelers indicate that Baba Ahmed Jidda is the virtual oracle, around whom the fortunes of other diplomats oscilliate. He is the cynosure of attention every where he makes public appearances and he has transformed diplomacy into an art of advocacy for the dignity of the Blackman everywhere.
I wish I had known about his birthday a little earlier, I would have gone deeper. But before I pause, this is wishing Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China a happy 71st birthday.

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