One of the most remarkable political developments in the North in recent times is the emergence of Boss Mustapha as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). It is remarkable also for the political fortunes of Boss Mustapha that the highest attainment of his political career thus far saw him occupying the pinnacle of technocratic hierarchy at the federal level of government in Nigeria.
None of these enviable achievements could have been envisaged or sought for by Boss Mustapha, a humble, down-to-earth politician, uncommonly preoccupied with positively transforming his immediate constituency of North East, where he has been in the forefront of politics for at least three decades. It is indeed as he once aptly described his personal philosophy: “I believe truly that the hand of God is upon everything that happens in a man’s life.”
Soon after commencing his professional career as a lawyer, Mustapha entered politics in the 80s becoming a member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Constituent Assembly in 1988. In 1989 Mustapha was the state chairman of the Peoples Solidarity Party (PSP) in then Gongola State, and in 1990 he was in the Shehu Yaradua-led Patriotic Front that later joined other parties to form the Social Democratic Party. Boss Mustapha became the Adamawa State chairman of SDP and contested for governorship,
He had gathered enough political clout as an effective grassroots mobilizer, when he emerged as the deputy director-general of the Atiku Abubakar’s campaign organization for the 2007 general elections. Thereafter, he was deputy national chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, one of the three major parties that later merged to form the All Progressives Congress in 2013. He was a prominent member of the Buhari presidential campaign team and its transition committee, following the party’s victory in the 2015 election. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the APC.
However, there is much more than such versatile political career behind Boss Mustapha. His professional career was no less illustrious. He began his legal practice under the renown and sagacious legal luminary, Dr. Olu Onagoruwa as a Counsel in Messrs Onagoruwa & Co in Lagos in 1983 before establishing his own law firm, Messrs Mustapha & Associates, in 1994. He served as its Principal Counsel until 2000, when he worked in the law firm Adriot Lex & Co. as Principal Consultant from 2000 to 2006. Boss Mustapha has been elected and appointed member of several boards of companies in the manufacturing, financial services and oil and gas sectors, both in Nigeria and abroad. He is a member of several professional bodies including the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, African Bar Association, International Bar Association and Human Rights Institute. He also served as Managing Director, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority until his appointment as SGF by President Muhammad Buhari in 2017.
As millions of his political followers, associates and well-wishers across the country regale in the progressive course of the life of Boss Mustapha, it is time for him to go beyond merely being proud to be associated with such an illustrious personality. Now, he is being variously described as “a lawyer, businessman, boardroom guru, management consultant, politician, and technocrat par excellence”, especially in the North where the dearth of experience leaders is so pathetic. It is time to plot the next level in the God-ordained rise to greater positions of responsibility that has characterised his life.
This submission is necessitated by the predictable tendency for Boss Mustapha to be content with the blessings that have come his way so far, and with good reason. What is clearly beyond the realm of speculation or wishful thinking is that the attainment of the exalted and highly strategic national public office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was the last thing in the humble mind of Boss Mustapha when it came. Yet, as with all genuinely destined events, his performance did not only earn him re-appointment but has become a reference point in the context of the unexplored but resourceful potentials of the upcoming generation of Northerners in particular, where the elders seem to insist on being also leaders of tomorrow.
Without doubt, the appointment of Boss Mustapha as SGF has marvellously revealed his capacity for leadership even at such a onerous multi-tasking position of national public service responsibility that was once thought to be the exclusive preserve of veteran top civil servants. He has exhibited the rare quality of combining leadership with humility, getting along with his fellow “movers and shakers”, while being comradely and accessible to his staff and other subordinate class of people. His professional and political antecedents have blended so well in producing such an outstanding public servant, people-oriented leader and competent technocrat, eminently suitable for higher national service.
One need not say more at this stage, especially in the firm belief that God is in charge and will surely complete the destined elevation of Boss Mustapha to the rightful pedestal where he can go further in contributing his valuable quota to the dire need for responsible, compassionate and effective leadership in Nigeria. It is enough to bring to the fore his personal, professional and providential endowments for public appreciation and necessary initiatives to fulfil the ultimate desirable purpose of his life and times.
Musa Magaji wrote from Kano