For the larger part of the Second Republic, a political structure code-named ‘Kaduna Mafia,’ resonated across the political divides. Whether it was in the military or civil institutions, Kaduna Mafia rang bell.
It was a force to reckon with till the advent of this present democracy in 1998. The Kaduna Mafia, as a name, was coined by a New Nigerian Newspapers’ (NNN), Political Editor and Columnist, Mvendaga Jibo, in the 60’s.
Jibo was quoted to have said that as the Political editor of the paper, he took him time to come to realise that most of the editorials that the NNN carried then, were written by “Ghost writers,” who are not part of the NNN, but who used the paper to pursue the interest and agenda of the “secret” group, which was codenamed the Kaduna Mafia.
Interestingly, the names of the first two editors of the NNN, Mallam Adamu Ciroma and Mamman Daura, have always featured prominently in the list of the membership of the Kaduna Mafia. Others are: Hamza Zayyad, Shehu Yar’Adua, Mahmud Tukur, (Buhari’s Minister of Commerce and the regime’s Philosopher) Turi Muhammadu, and Ango Abdullahi among several others.
Ciroma first became editor of NNN from 1966-1969 and later became the MD of the paper from 1969 to 1974.
To confirm his strong political leaning and affiliation with the group, it was gathered that the group was behind his aspiration to run for the country’s presidency in 1979 on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). He also gave it a shot in 1992 on the platform of National Republican Convention (NRC). When he first ran for the presidency in 1979, he came third at the primary behind Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who eventually became the president and late Yusuf Maitama Sule. But he was banned alongside other politicians in 1992 by the then military administration.
At the time Ciroma first ran for the presidency, Zayyad, was the head of the New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC). Just as NNN, NNDC is also owned by northern governors.
When Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1998, he was a foundation member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and when the party won the presidency, he was appointed Finance minister by then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
His last major political outing was in 2010 when he served as the chairman of the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF), a group set up purposely to stop Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at the time from securing the presidential ticket of the then ruling PDP, at a time his wife, as the Women Leader of the party was campaigning for Jonathan in the North; for the presidency.
Although the committee eventually chose former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, as the North’s consensus candidate, ahead of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Aliyu Gusau and Dr. Bukola Saraki, Jonathan went ahead to trounce Atiku at the PDP’s presidential primary, with the strong support of persons like Sule Lamido, Murtala Nyako, then governors of Jigawa and Adamawa respectively. He also went ahead to win the presidency in 2011, beating the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Muhammadu Buhari, another northerner, by over 10,000 votes.
After the disastrous outing, Ciroma withdrew from active participation in politics. And, he remained quiet on the political scene until his death in Abuja, yesterday.