|Birth||20 May 1951|
Adamu Bello (born May 20, 1951) is a Nigerian technocrat who headed his country’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2001 to 2007. He also headed the consolidated Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources from January to May 2007.
Biography and Background
Mallam Adamu Bello was born on 20 May 1951 in Numan, Adamawa State. Born to Justice Mohammed Bello, he had a comfortable childhood with a complete education. Justice Bello died in 1956 leaving young Adamu to be taken care of by his oldest brother, Justice Aminu Bello. Mallam Adamu Bello is married to a pharmacist, Mrs Lubabatu Bello and has six children.
Mallam Bello holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1975). He also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from University of Pittsburgh (1982) where he was invited to the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Fraternity. He also proceeded to the famous Harvard Business School to earn a Certificate in the Advanced Management Program (AMP) in 1990.
An accomplished banker, Mallam Bello started his career in 1976 as an Investment Executive with the New Nigerian Development Company (NNDC). Between 1976 and 1981, he rose to become the General Manager of New-Devco Finance, a subsidiary of NNDC. In 1983, Mallam Bello joined Habib Bank as Deputy Managing Director and rose to become Managing Director and Chief Executive in 1988. He held the position until 1994. During his time at Habib Bank, the bank rose to become the best rated private bank in the country and ninth overall. He then proceeded to become a financial adviser, a real estate mogul and major shareholder in numerous ventures until his nomination as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Intercity Bank Plc in 1998. This was then followed by his appointment as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Habib Nigeria Bank Ltd in 1999. Having been the first indigenous Chief Executive Officer of the company, he knew the direction of the bank and served to his full capacity. It was from this position that he received his nomination as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in January 2001. Having reached the pinnacle of his banking career, he accepted the national assignment. Habib Bank merged with Platinum Bank in December 2005 to form Bank PHB. Intercity Bank also merged to become Unity Bank Plc under the banking industry consolidation exercise.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
Mallam Adamu Bello became the honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in February 2001. During Mallam Bello’s tenure, the Ministry become a true force in regulating and ensuring the attractiveness of the Nigerian agricultural sector. There has also been the invitation of numerous agricultural experts to improve the operation of the sector in general. The general positive direction of the agricultural sector reinforced President Obasanjo’s renomination of Mallam Bello to retain his position after being re-elected in May 2003.
With the support of the president, also a farmer, Mallam Bello has been able to accomplish many initiatives to better the conditions of the Nigerian farmer. They include cassava, cocoa and many others. The growth rate of the agriculture sector has moved from 4% in 2001 to 14% in 2006. In the area of rural development, the ministry has been able to improve conditions of rural areas, where most of the agriculture occurs. This is through improving their road network to urban markets and also through the provision of water facilities to aid the irrigation of farmlands. This was done independently or sometimes, in conjunction with the Ministry of Water Resources and also with the United Nations.
His effectiveness in his portfolio has made him the longest-serving Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria ever. It has also seen him become the longest-serving member of the Federal Cabinet along with Chief Babalola Borishade and Prof. Turner Isoun.
The Water Resources Portfolio
In January 2007, the number of ministries was decreased to 19 from the previous number of 34. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development AND the Ministry of Water Resources were merged to become the largest project ministry. Mallam Adamu Bello now became the substantive minister of Agriculture and Water Resources with two Ministers of State.
Barely four months after his assumption of office when he decided along with the Federal Cabinet that Nigeria must import a few million tons of Beans from the country of Burkina Faso. The reasons were well founded but were harshly taken by the media who called for his resignation. Reasons for Beans import from Burkina Faso http://www.nigerdeltacongress.com/oarticles/obasanjo_declares_a.htm
Another controversy was faced when the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Bode Olowoporoku alleged that the minister connived with foreigners to dupe the country in a 3.4 Billion Naira scandal over fertilizer imports. A bag of fertilizer was said to cost N1500 in Ukraine, the main import country and was said to be sold by the ministry for N2800 with a margin on each taken by the minister. He explained to the Federal Cabinet the reasons for the disparity to include transport and duties cost of the process of moving fertilizer from the Ukraine to Nigeria. They accepted his explanation with his presentation of documentation to that effect. The case was dismissed by both the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) and ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices Commission).
Senator Olowoporoku still continued with his proceedings against the minister even walking out the Minister of State of Agriculture, Chief Bamidele Dada from the Senate chambers when he came to explain. Mallam Bello expressed that Olowoporoku must have a vendetta against him over not being awarded fertilizer contracts during the process that may have earned him N200 million. The senator denied this saying “I have never requested contracts from the Ministry in my position as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Evidence was presented of his two letter-headed requests with his signature. He dismissed the evidence as his attempt of helping some of associates of his. The Corporate Affairs Commission however disclosed that he registered both companies and his wife was listed as the CEO and Managing Director. This exposed the vendetta. The Senate relieved Chief Olowoporoku of his position as the Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture. He was also excluded from membership in all committees. This was subsequent to his eventual dismissal from the ruling political party, the Peoples Democratic Party. The media capitalized on making an opera of the situation. Details of the alleged scandal: https://web.archive.org/web/20070927035541/http://www.gamji.com/article4000/NEWS4715.htm
Titles and conferment
Mallam Adamu Bello was conferred with the chieftaincy title of the “Dan Iyan Adamawa” in 1989 by the chieftaincy council of his native Gongola State (Adamawa and Taraba States) at the time. In 2003, he also received another chieftaincy title; “Otun Babalakin” in Ekiti State. Mallam Adamu Bello was made a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (FCIB) in 1991. He was also conferred with an Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa) by the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (Lautech) of Oyo State. Mallam Bello was conferred with the national honour of CFR (Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic) becoming the first serving member of the Federal Cabinet to ever be decorated in December 2006. Mallam Bello is a recipient of numerous leadership awards. He has also distinguished himself in receiving numerous nominations for Minister of the Year Awards by numerous media bodies in Nigeria.