Ahmadu Adah Ali is a trained physician who served in the Nigerian Army and rose to become the deputy director of army medical services and Chief Consulting Physician of the Military Hospital, Kaduna. In 1973, he was selected to become the first director of the National Youth Service Corps and two years later he was made the minister of Education. Recently, he served as the chairman of the People's Democratic Party from 2005-2007.
Early life and Education
Ali was born on March 1, 1936, in Gbobe, Kogi State. He attended Dekina Higher Elementary School, (1943-1948), Okene Middle School, and Barewa College, Zaria, (1950-1954), while at the college, he attended the Man-O-War leadership course. He then spent a few years at the Nigerian Colleges of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria, (1955-1957) before entering the University of Ibadan Medical School in 1957. While at the university, he was national secretary of the Nigerian Union of Students, (NUNS).
Before his graduation from University of Ibadan, he enrolled in the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1963, later in the year he was the house physician and surgeon at the University of Ibadan. He then spent some stints as a medical officer at the Armed Forces Hospital, Yaba. In 1965, he became a captain of the Nigerian Army Medical Corps. He then served in the following capacities as the regimental medical officer, 1 Battalion, Enugu, (1965), medical specialist, 68 Armed Forces hospital, Yaba, (1968), specialist physician, 44 Armed Forces Hospital, Kaduna, (1968-1970) and later became the commanding officer and consultant physician of the Kaduna hospital in 1971. A year later, he was the deputy director of the Armed Forces Medical Service.
Ali must go
In 1975, after spending two years as director of NYSC, he was appointed as the Federal Commissioner of Education. Though, his time in office was a period when interesting ideas in policy were initiated including the Universal Primary Education, creation of new unity schools and more teachers training colleges, and the establishment of JAMB, NUC and the NBTE, it was his last year in office in the famous Ali Must Go protests which led to the tragic death of many students that his position his remembered for. At the time, the students were demonstrating against the introduction of fees and the removal of the Ahmadu Ali as the minister.
In 1978, he relinquished his ministerial office and became a chief consulting officer at the military hospital in kaduna. He retired the following year, contested and won a seat to the Nigerian senate where he was chairman of the senate's committee on petroleum and energy. While serving as chairman he once canvassed for an independent OPEC.(1) However, in December, 1983, he was made the chairman of the senate's Internal Affairs committee.
Since 1999, he has been a member of the People's Democratic Party, he served as a special assistant on South South cooperation, (G77) and was appointed to head the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Board.(3) In 2002, he was a campaign coordinator, North Central for the Obasanjo/Atiku re-election campaign. He was elected chairman of the party in 2005 as a replacement of Audu Ogbeh. Though, Ali himself contested the chairmanship in 1999, but was beaten by Barnabas Gemade. His arrival as chairman was during a period of graft accusations against the former Plateau governor, Joshua Dariye, the then senate president and the minister of Housing. Also the party was engulfed in the crisis in Anambra State.
During the run-up to the 2007 election, his wife was defeated, he also lost a house in Abuja (2) which was demolished as part of the territory's approach to respect the original master plan for the city.
Ali holds the title of Ochada Ata of Igala.
- (1)Nigeria and OPEC, BBC, October 6, 1981
- (2)"Ahmadu Ali's House Set for Demolition", Daily Trust, May 17, 2007
- (3)Kola AMrtins, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF PDP IN KOGI STATE?, Thisday, May 24, 2002.
- "Ahmadu Ali: Profile in Patriotism", Thisday, March 12, 2005