Zainab Kuchi, Isah Dobi: Where are they now?

When the accounts of past public officers are to be given for posterity to judge, these individuals would make the list because of their contributions to the Nigerian project. However, long after they left public office, not much has been heard about them again; SUNNY IDACHABA writes.

Zainab Kuchi  

Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi was at the minister of state for power and later as Niger Delta Affairs, respectively, between 2011 and 2013 under former President Goodluck Jonathan. A lawyer-trained turned entrepreneur, after her mandatory national youth service at the Niger State Judiciary Council, she was retained for eight years.

In May 1989 and in furtherance of her career, she transferred her services to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where she served in various managerial capacities and was said to be change champion for the implementation of the CBN change process by PWC/ACCENTURE until December 2004, when she retired voluntarily and set up a private legal/consultancy firm that sues for conciliation and peace development with her associates nationally and globally.

Hajiya Zainab was in that capacity in the private sector until former President Jonathan appointed her as minister to represent Niger state in his cabinet. Just few weeks in that position, she announced a major project to address Nigeria’s chronic power shortfall. This was in early November 2011, when she announced the signing of an agreement with Sinohydro Corporation, a Chinese state-owned company, to build a 3,050-megawatt hydropower plant in the Mambilla Plateau, Taraba state. She, however, stirred a controversy when was quoted as recommending exorcism to resolve the country’s power problem because, in her thinking, the challenge in the power sector was being caused by evil spirits.

She was quoted as telling a South African delegation in Abuja that, “We must resolve to jointly exorcise the evil spirit behind this darkness.” Whatever that meant, she alone is in a better position to explain, but events surrounding the sector till now may have proved her right, after all. On October 30, 2012, after a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, President Jonathan directed that she swapped her role with the former minister of state for Niger Delta Affairs, Dairus Ishaku.

The swap, President Jonathan said, was geared toward strengthening the sectors in order to meet the expectations of Nigerians. Somehow, on September 11, 2013, she along eight others was relieved of their positions as minister during a FEC meeting. After that incident, many thought that would mark her final exit from politics, but she staged a come-back in late 2014, when she was appointed as Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign coordinator for Niger state. However, since President Muhammadu Buhari defeated Jonathan in that election, no one has heard anything about her again. One then wonders what she is doing presently or where she could be.

Isah Dobi

Isah Egah Dobi was a two-term chairman of Gwagwalada area council in the FCT after which he contested and won election to become a member, House of Representatives, representing  Abuja-south constituency comprising Gwagwalada, Kuje, Kwali and Abaji area councils for two terms, all on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

As a lawmaker, he was widely commended for sponsoring the construction of two dams at Kwali and Dobi communities. The widespread dry season farming in the areas informed the construction of those dams.

According to a farmer who spoke to Blueprint in Kwali, “The water we use in irrigating our crops comes from the dam Honourable Isah Egah Dobi constructed in Kwali. It was constructed a long ago but it is still serving us.” He is no doubt a lover of his people, but his bid to return to the National Assembly for the third term ended at the primary election as he was defeated by Danladi Etsu Zhin, who was then the chairman of Kuje area council. Ever since that time to date, his whereabouts has been unknown and to that extent, no one knows what he is doing presently.

Ahmad Abdullah

Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah was the minister of agriculture appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan on April 6, 2010. This was shortly after Jonathan took over from the late Musa Yar’Adua following the latter’s death. This fiery and popular Islamic cleric spent most of his working career at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in the area of human resources and management development.

In 1990, he was awarded a Doctorate Degree by the same university. The late Gen. Sani Abacha appointed him in 1995 into the Vision 2010 Committee and also made him to serve as a federal commissioner on the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC). Between 2003 and 2008, he served as the director-general of Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) in Badagry, an institution that trains people in public administration.

In August 2008, he was appointed into the Abuja City University steering committee which developed the master plan of that institution. He was later appointed as the chairperson of the African Management Development Institutes Network in Pretoria, South Africa. As minister, Abdullah’s main focus was leading Nigeria into achieving food sufficiency. According to him, “Self-sufficiency is a goal and the thing about a goal is that when it is not achieved, we would be searching first to achieve it. We as a nation are not food sufficient but that does not mean we cannot be. Giving what we have in our environment in terms of natural endowment, even the peace that we enjoy in this country is enough to say we have what it takes to be self-sufficient in food production. If we are so endowed, it becomes an aberration for us not being able to feed ourselves, but we would get there.”

However, as agriculture minister, he faced huge challenges in a sector that is supposed to employ 70 per cent of Nigerians because despite massive injections of subsidies and improvement in technologies, productivity remained low with many concerns about the effectiveness of his programmes. Upon President Jonathan’s election in 2011, Sheikh Abdullah was not re-appointed. Ever since then, his whereabouts remained unknown.

This Niger state-born academic earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from ABU in 1974 and an MBA from Syracuse University in the US in 1977, but where has he been since his last appointment and what he does presently is unknown.