The Late Galadiman Lafiagi

Fondly called Daddy, Nasara, or J.O., Alhaji Jimada Omar, the late Galadiman Lafiagi, was a brilliant, pragmatic, and honest man. He was the first university graduate from Lafiagi Emirate, an erudite scholar, and a strong proponent of education. He was known to be very sincere, reliable, simple, generous, accommodating, hardworking, family-oriented, a community-builder, and a great mentor to many. He was a man of integrity, highly principled, and committed to doing things the right way.

Alhaji Omar, of blessed memory, was born on the 16th of July, 1942 at Emi Mansidi, Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State, to Abdulsalami and Fatima. At a very young age, his father, Abdulsalami, passed away. He started his primary education at Lafiagi Elementary School from 1950 to 1954, and attended Patigi Primary School from 1955 to 1957.

He proceeded to Government Secondary School, Ilorin (known then as Provincial Secondary School) in 1958 and graduated in 1962 with a West African School Certificate. To advance his quest for more knowledge about agriculture, he got admitted to Samaru School of Agriculture, Zaria, and was there from 1963 to 1964. During this period, he exhibited outstanding brilliance, which merited him a Northern Nigerian scholarship award to study in the United States of America, making him the first indigene of Lafiagi to make a sojourn to the USA. He resumed at University of Columbia, Missouri, in September 1964 and was awarded a B.Sc. in Agric. Economics in June 1968.

After completing his studies, he started his career as a Divisional Agric. Officer in Idah, from 1968 to 1972; then he proceeded to Dekina in 1972 and was there till 1974. He was an overall supervisor of all agricultural activities at these places, including supervision of irrigation schemes, seed multiplication and distribution, production and distribution of budded seedlings to farmers, running of a Home Economics Centre, amongst others. He attended various workshops, including a Project Appraisal course at the Institute of Admin., Ife, in 1970, and Rice Production Technology course at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, in 1973, amongst others.

Between 1974 to 1977, he was in charge of the Tada/Shonga Rice Project as a Project Manager. He was also a Divisional Agric. Officer in Ilorin from 1977 to 1978, supervising various agricultural activities and conducting field experiments on behalf of the Regional Research Station in Zaria and the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research. He proceeded to Edinburgh University in Scotland, United Kingdom, from September 1978 to June 1979, where he obtained his post graduate diploma in Seed Technology.

After returning from Scotland, he became the Seed Multiplication Officer in charge of producing, processing, and distributing improved seed on projects and farmers’ farms for the Ilorin Agricultural Development Project (IADP), from 1979 to 1983. Then, he served as the Principal Extension Officer for IADP from September to December 1983, focusing on transferring improved and appropriate technology to farmers.

After completing a course on Man-Management at the Agricultural & Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin, in 1982, his next promotion came the following year with the position of Chief Administrative Officer of IADP, from December 1983 to 1988. In this capacity, he was the secretary of the Project Tenders Board, Project Management Unit, and Project Executive Committee. As an administrator, he supervised personnel matters, including records, staff recruitment, discipline, welfare, and staff promotion.

In recognition of his managerial skills and leadership traits, he got nominated and attended a course on Organizational and Development Management at George Washington University, USA, from May 5th to June 13th, 1986, under the sponsorship of United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A) and the World Bank. Furthermore, he attended a workshop for Chief Executive, organized by ARMTI, at Calabar from 2nd to 6th March, 1987. He served as Chief Administrative Officer of Kwara ADP from 1988 to May 1993, taking on more responsibilities, such as becoming the Chairman of the Personnel Management Board. He travelled to India in November 1989, to study the T and V system input and marketing, agencies’ irrigation scheme research, and visited different agricultural establishments.

A versatile administrator with an insatiable quest for knowledge, he attended a Regional Workshop on Rural Development held at the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Nigeria from 24th to 29th of June, 1990, to advance research on how to provide support services to poultry and livestock farmers. He attended and participated at a workshop on Civil Service Reforms, held by the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, Topo, Badagry, from 9th to 11th of August, 1990. Additionally, he was trained by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, from 21st to 22nd August, 1991, on enhancing the quality of life of rural dwellers through productivity improvement. He served as the Deputy Director (Agric), of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources from January 1990 to May 1993, a role he performed with diligence and utmost commitment until his retirement in May 1993.

Alhaji Jimada Omar was very hardworking; he executed assigned projects effectively and efficiently. These virtues earned him an appointment to serve as a Vice Chairman and Supervisory Councilor for Agriculture at Edu LGA of Kwara State, from April 1994 to March 1996. He was appointed as the Personnel Manager of the Nigerian Sugar Company, Bacita, serving from February 2001 to 2003.

With a genuine passion for human development and empowerment, he was deeply and actively involved in community activities. He was one of the pioneer members of Lafiagi Descendant Development Union (LADDU), serving as the Union’s president from 1990 to 1999. In concert with other colleagues, he participated in various activities to advance the development of Lafiagi. He spoke fluent Nupe, Hausa, and English.

He passed away peacefully on June 15th, 2019 at his Fate-G.R.A. residence in Ilorin. He lived a great life and was always thankful to Allah for all the blessings granted to him. He is survived by his wife, Hajia Adama Iye; four children; a deputy director, Mr. Abdulsalam, Ass. Prof. Ayishat, Dr. Memunat, and Engr. Mohammed Kudu, and other relatives. May Almighty Allah make his grave spacious and full of light. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him Jannatul-Firdaus.

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