Alhaji Ndagi Mahmud (1924-2013)
Alhaji Ndagi Mahmud started out as a laboratory scientist in the quality control and treatment unit of the then Northern Nigeria Water Works in Kaduna.
He was born and brought in Agaie, present day Agaie Local Government Area of Niger state and had the rare privilege of, after going through the traditional Karatun Katamba in the first ten years of development as a child being enrolled into the elementary school, a decision that would later have great impact on his career in the civil service and politics.
Alhaji Ndagi Mahmud speaking to journalists in his Minna residence long after retirement
As the son of the Alkali Agaie, access to education was best for him considering his father’s exposure and influence being the Alkali Agaie, no two ways about it. Western education was considered an important part of development for those who had the orientation and were close to the royals in those days. Alhaji Ndagi Mahmud enrolled at Agaie Elementary School where he was taught the basics in elementary studies, leaving in 1935.
After performing excellently at Agaie, he was among the few who passed their exams, proceeding to Bida Middle School. He was at Bida Middle School for five years between 1936 and 1940. For Ndagi Mahmud, passing his exams in flying colors was of paramount importance to actualising his dream of joining the civil service and doing great exploits. He did live up to his billing by doing great in his papers when the results were announced in 1940. A focused and determined young chap he was.
The late Wazirin Agaie was a product of the famous Barewa College, Zaria. He proceeded to the ivory tower in 1941 where he met future Nigerian President, Aliyu Usman Shehu Shagari who he would later appoint as a Minister of the Federal Republic and a host of other leaders too numerous to mention. At that time, Barewa College had just been moved from Northern Nigeria’s cradle of civilisation, Katsina to Kaduna. He spent the next three years at Barewa College between 1941-1943 going through a rigorous training in science and arithmetic.
After a thorough examination and training in basic sciences, his name was forward to the Government’s Chemist in Lagos who wrote the Principal, in search of a student with backgrounds in science. Ndagi Mahmud was selected and the government immediately arranged for his travels and welfare in Lagos.
Alhaji Ndagi Mahmud resumed work with Government Chief Laboratory Technologist in 1944 and spent the next six months studying laboratory techniques. He did exceptional things during this period and earned himself self respect and changed the warped perception of southerners about their northerner counterparts. The southern part of the country then has an education advantage over the north and at every opportunity, the southerners would make mockery of their less privileged northerners to the chagrin of the northerners.
He would later be deployed back to Kaduna, where it all started after the government office in Kaduna in dire need of a Northerner. He joined the Northern Nigeria Government where he worked as a Quality Control and Treatment Officer. The ex-water resources minister worked with the Water Works in Kaduna for thirty two incredible years rising through the ranks from the position of a First Class Technical Assistant to Superintendent Officer.
Wazirin Agaie after working for many years as laboratory superintendent later went on attachment to the UK chemical, water and industrial waste and effluent laboratories to garner more experience from 1960-1961.
The crescendo of an illustrious and meritorious career in civil service after retiring in 1976 came when he was called upon by the then Military Administration in Niger state to guide the newly created local governments.
The country’s return to democratic rule marked the peak of Alhaji Ndagi Mahmud’s career when his friend at Barewa College, Aliyu Usman Shehu Shagari contested the 1979 general elections under the platform of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and won the Presidential elections. He had played a prominent role during the electioneering campaigns and would rightly be appointed as a member of the federal cabinet as minister in charge of water resources.
After two years in office as Minister for Water Resources, there was a major shakeup of the federal cabinet with Alhaji Ndagi Mahmud being redeployed to the Ministry of Police Affairs.
The late Wazirin Agaie led a life of fulfillment and that of meritorious service to his immediate community and father land. A man of humble background who proved his mettle at every stage of a career spanning civil service, politics and community development.
A thorough Nupe breed through and through who contributed immensely to the development of his people and nation with all sense of responsibility and sincerity.
Until his death in 2013, he was the Wazirin Agaie.