…Leaving Lagos Stakeholders groaning, and Abuja weeping!***
The most diligent and most focused Comptroller General of Customs that Nigeria has yet produced, Dikko Inde Abdullahi died on Thursday, throwing Stakeholders in Lagos groaning, even as those in Abuja, weeping.
Dikko died at the age of 61 years, with his integrity intact, despite several mean efforts to the contrary, leaving genuinely distraught mourners, pained to the bone marrow.
A Katsina Prince, born in Musawa, found a Customs Service with image in tatters and corruption at suffocating level, and began a renaissance which not only gave the Service a rebirth but also created a legacy, which is sure to outlive the next few Comptroller Generals that would come after him.
Realising the dangers of Custom’s men living as tenants in houses built by outsiders, some of which were established smugglers, Dikko prioritised the building of Custom’s quarters, nationwide.
The gesture not only buoyed the image of the Service, it also greatly improved productivity and Government revenue, which quadrupled whatever his predecessors recorded.
Dikko was like a father to the Service. He identified some of the personnel with drug problems and refused to sack them.
He proceeded to rehabilitate them, not because many of them were Northerners, but rather because, according to him, they are Nigerians, with families and other dependants.
“We can’t sack them. They have families and dependants. We must rehabilitate them. The country already has enough of miscreants and Area boys. The Service should not add to it” the ex-Comptroller General told the Maritime First, on one occasion.
Humble to a fault, Dikko was always ready to learn. Thus, coupled with his open-minded RSS, Dikko made true friends, who by right, are credible, bold and fearless; and sincerely related Dikko, in their astuteness.
The list is long and it included former National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Custom’s Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam; and also, the Chairman of Nigeria’s National Football Supporters Club, Chief Radius Ladipo.
Another friend of Dikko was former President Jonathan Goodluck.
Dikko had class. When Customs Service organised recruitment under Dikko, it was computerised, objectively pursued and the execution, from Start to finish, was open, unblemished and commendable. The noteworthy recruitment exercise did not go beyond six months.
A similar recruitment exercise undertaken by the Customs Service after Dikko left is yet to produce any result. No body has been recruited, more than two years after it was embarked upon, with fanfare and hit airs.
Dikko read in Eastern Europe. He, therefore, imbibed the Easterners Culture of calculating billions without calculator. The truth was that Dikko was also wonderfully gifted, in Thea of true intelligence!
Dikko’s record cannot be easily equally in the area of infrastructure provision.
First, Dikko’s administration bought several vehicles which gave the officers and men the capacity to bark and bite.
Then, Dikko procured two highly equipped vessels, Customs Pride and the Group of Nine (in memory of officers who perished at sea, pursuing smugglers with engined-powered Canoes, procured by his predecessors) to safeguard the nation’s waters, against smugglers. Sadly, the State of the art vessels were first abandoned until they rusted and the media, knowing its value in billions, protested.
Thereafter, the vessels were rehabilitated and finally, haphazardly put into Service.
The first time they were put to work, the Western Marine Atlantic command recorded stupendously mind-boggling seizures.
Then, Dikko not done, went ahead and procured anti-smuggling helicopters. Dikko had vision. A vision which included a tripartite and unrelenting pursuit of smugglers, by land, sea and even coordinated by air.
With people like Dikko, Nigeria does not need to close her borders to tackle illegal smuggling of arms and ammunitions!
Finally, Dikko conceived, developed and delivered the mind-blowing Customs Regional Centre at Gwagwalada, the first of its kind in Africa!
Now, all these were successfully achieved, at a time, when the Nigeria Customs Service revenue profile was not denominated in trillion!
Reacting to Dikko’s death, a woman importer, who simply identified herself at Apapa Port as Njideka said it was not unlikely that the Ex- CGC was frustrated to death.
She recalled Dikko’s running battle with the EFCC and at a point, the order to arrest and handcuffed him, wherever they sited him, anywhere in the country; or as he entered the country.
She recalled how Dikko entered a plea bargaining with the Attorney General of the Federation; and that notwithstanding, he was still hounded, by the EFCC under Magu, until he legally defeated them.
She then wondered, why shortly after the EFCC was turned back, the ICPC allegedly took him up, over the same issues.
Dikko would probably have one regret: his inability to properly apologise to Buhari…
Dikko was too close to Jonathan, to work for Buhari, even though he saw Buhari as his father.
The first time he visited Katsina to Congratulate Buhari as President-elect in 2015, a cross-section of the Nigerian media mistook it to wanting to lobby for Buhari to retain him. Dikko was extremely embarrassed.
Dikko did not go to Katsina to lobby, but to Congratulate Buhari, as well as explain why except he was specifically retained, he would resign. Needless to say, Dikko Inde Abdullahi voluntarily resigned, shortly thereafter!
However, the ex-CGC younger brother said Dikko died while receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment at a hospital in Abuja.
The former custom’s boss was born in 1960 in Musawa Local Government Area of Katsina State. He joined the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in 1988.
He was appointed comptroller-general of the NCS by former President Umaru Yar’adua in 2009 and served in the office until 2015.
The deceased attended Government College, Kaduna, from 1974 and obtained the West African Senior School Certificate in 1980.
He later obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Master of Science degree in Finance from the University of Dimitrov Apostle Tshenov, Svishtov, Bulgaria.
He served in various customs commands, including Seme Border, Tincan Island Port, Apapa, Imo Command, Kaduna, Badagry Area Command, Investigation and Inspection Headquarters, Abuja.
Go Home Dikko!
A friend of Lagos press!
Go Home, Dikko!
A totally de-tribalized Nigerian!
With head unbowed!
Go Home Dikko!
Erin ku, O re Ile
Ajanaku Sun bii Oke!
Go Home Dikko
Don’t Look …
Except you want to see the Hot tears too!!