5 January 2013

Nigeria: All Hail the Ma'ajin Zazzau

He started out as Ma'ajin Lagos for that was where he lived as the state correspondent of the then lone-ranging Weekly Trust. When the Daily Trust was started in January 2001, Aliyu Iliyasu Ma'aji was moved over to Abuja as the first business editor of the paper. He soon became the Ma'ajin Lugbe, because the company had provided him and a host of other young staffers accommodation there.

We couldn't help the change of name because Ali Ma'aji, as he was popularly known was always full of stories about the rustic life of Lugbe dwellers. Unlike now, Lugbe was then less populated, far from where commuters could get transport and a lot less in luxury than what Lagos had to offer.

But soon after Aliyu was catapulted to Ma'ajin London, when a few weeks to his departure from Media Trust, British Airways launched a fleet of new air carriers and invited some business editors for a test flight - to London.

He spent only a few days in London but for the last 11 years some of us have called him nothing other than Ma'ajin London. Not that the Queen ever knew she had such a treasurer.

But at last, in 2013, Aliyu Iliyasu became a Ma'aji for real. This traditional title, which means the treasurer of the Emirate was once held by Aliyu's father, the late Ma'aji Iliyasu. His royal highness the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris. graciously decided to restore the title back to Aliyu's family and the turban fell right on to his befitting head.

While congratulating my Little Brother on this big honour done to him by the Emir, I also wish to advise him to use all the knowledge and resources he gained over the years, as a journalist, a PR man, a tobacco company image-maker and a banker to help industrialise the Zazzau emirate.

Industries are certainly needed, in the emirate, to generate youth employment and fight poverty. For now I wish the new Ma'ajin Zazzau, who is also the general manager, corporate affairs in Unity Bank, the very best in discharging his duties. Zazzau emirate deserves to have a ma'aji who can make a real difference, I pray that you will be that one.

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