Tribute To Goni Fika: A great public servant and self-effacingly humble man, by Suleiman Dauda
Late Alhaji Goni Fika, who died on Thursday 25th November 2021, was a respected community leader and statesman. He was a graduate of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with uncommon intellectual gifts and outstanding public service accomplishments; a vast public servant, journalist, administrator and a decent politician.
Born on the 4th of April 1944 in Fika Town of Yobe State, he started his early education in 1952 at Fika Central primary school and completed his primary school in the then Potiskum Senior Primary School, now Kara Primary School, in 1958. Upon completion of his primary education, he immediately moved to Government College Maiduguri between 1959 and1964 for his secondary school education. In 1965, the late Alhaji Goni Fika was admitted into Advanced Teachers College, now College of Education, Zaria, for his National Certificate in Education and completed in 1968 with distinction in all subjects. Because of his noticeable brilliance and foresight, he was immediately offered scholarship to study Certificate in Guidance and Counselling with special courses in communication from Lethbridge College, Alberta, Canada, in 1972. He was thereafteradmitted into Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1975 and graduated in 1978 with Bachelor of Arts (Education/Economics).
Late Alhaji Goni started his civil service career in 1968 as Assistant Education Officer II in Borno State Ministry of Education and within a short time he came to the fore as a brilliant and industrious officer in the ministry until in 1973 when he moved to New Nigerian Newspaper, Kaduna, and started a journalism career as Trainee Sub-editor and rose rapidly by catching the eyes of his superiors whilst serving in New Nigeria to become Chief Sub-editor in 1978. While in New Nigeria he was mentored by the likes of Yakubu Ali, Rasak Aremu and Turi Muhammadu all of now blessed memory. Between 1980 and 1991, he served the Borno State Radio and television starting in 1980 as Principal Editor and rose to the position of Director News until in 1991 when Yobe State was created.
Immediately upon creation of Yobe State on 27th August 1991, due to his forthrightness, experience and commitment, the late Goni Fika was appointed the first sole administrator of Machina Local Government on the 4th of September 1991 and served until 24th December 1991 when he was appointed as pioneer General Manager of Yobe Broadcasting Corporation (YBC) after the establishment of the radio station.
He laid a solid foundation for the station and made it ahousehold name. He served in various positions in the state broadcasting industry and ended as Director in the State Ministry of Information and later elevated to the position of Permanent Secretary in the same ministry in 1999.
While serving as Permanent Secretary, he initiated the production of Yobe State owned newspaper, ‘The Guide’, and served as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief. He was also responsible for initiating the establishment of Yobe Printing Corporation while serving as permanent secretary in Yobe State Ministry of Information.
Following his successful retirement from active service on the 31st December 2003, late Goni Fika was recognized and appointed in 2004 by the then Executive Governor of Yobe State, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, as permanent member of Yobe State Independent Electoral Commission and promoted in 2005 as the commission’s executive chairman.
In 2011, His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Gaidam appointed him as Honorable Commissioner, Yobe State Ministry of Information and served diligently till 27th May 2015 when the state executive council was dissolved
In all these positions, Late Alhaji Goni gave his very best for the service and he strongly believed in the Nigerian project.
Among his closest friends was late Alhaji Auwali Gwio-Kura, whom he many times told us about their friendship and family ties that he named his first male child after him. Others were late Alhaji Haruna Dawaki, late Bomoi Jaji, Ibrahim Jauro Gwio-Kura whom you will always find him at his residence in the evenings among others.
Late Alhaji Goni Fika was a thorough intellectual and elegant public speaker with a very rich media exposure and background, accomplished public servant, politically experienced personality with deep knowledge on societal issues and total devotion to religious practices and community service. He was a good listener, deeply humane and caring person.
Also, he was a simple man to the core, never run away from enforcing the rules and maintained a respectfully cordial relationship with everyone, both young and old, that crossedpath with him during his life time.
He was a recipient of 2006 Federal Government National Honours Award of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), a traditional title holder of Dan Masanin Machina by Machina Emirate, Gwanin Shani from Shani Emriate in Borno State and Turakin Ngalda by Ngalda district of Fika emirate.
Until his death, late Goni Fika was the chairman of Fika Local Government Critical Stakeholders Forum and Chairman, Ben-Kalio Housing Estate Occupants from 1997 till his death.
All in all, he was a man of good character and accomplished public servant. For leisure, you will always find late Alhaji Goni Fika in his farm or reading.
MAY ALLAH REWARD HIM WITH ETERNAL REST IN ALJANNAT.
Suleiman Dauda writes from Damaturu.