LAST Saturday, in Yola the Adamawa State capital, Northern Nigeria’s first professor of mass communications, Umaru Pate, was turbaned as Kaigama of Adamawa. It automatically makes our friend and brother, one of the kingmakers of the Adamawa emirate. The title is akin to chief of defence staff of the emirate and has been a major title from the foundation of the Adamawa emirate by one of the flagbearers of the Jihad of ShehuUsmanu Dan Fodiyo, Modibbo Adama, in 1809. Significantly, the title has been in the Pate family from the 19th Century. Professor Umaru Pate’s father took the title in 1978 after serving as judge following the passing of his own elder brother, Kaigama Bashiru.
Professor Umaru Pate has been my friend for over a decade. He joined the Editorial Board of Daily Trust, when I was the paper’s editor as well as chairman of the Board. He came across as a modest and unassuming intellectual, with a very assured sense of duty. He gets assignments done on time and in the years that I have known Pate, I cannot recall ever seeing him frown his face; on the contrary, he always wears a charming smile. His academic record is as impressive as they come.
When he wrote his WASC examination in 1981, he emerged with the best result that year and would graduate in mass communication in 1987 and was retained by the UNIMAID mass communication department as a youth corps member and was eventually employed a lecturer by the department. He went on to study for a doctorate, subsequently becoming the first professor of mass communication in Northern Nigeria.
We have worked very closely over the years with this outstanding intellectual and gentleman on a couple of assignments. These include the initiative for community broadcasting in Nigeria and he went on to work on the Federal Government Committee that formulated Nigeria’s community broadcasting policy. Presently, we are also working together in the Technical Committee helping to establish a state television for Jigawa State. He has continued to bring to bear on these assignments an admirable dedication and intellect; he is always willing to bear the cross of the most difficult aspects of any job.
His appointment as Kaigama is hereditary, but it is also in appreciation of his level-headedness and ability to serve the community away from the halowed walls of the university. I have no doubts in my mind that Professor Umaru Pate will give his all in his traditional responsibilities as he has always done in academia and other assignments he has been invited to give his considerable intellectual resources. Allah yajazamaninKaigama Adamawa, Professor Umaru Pate.