Mohammed Jika: A Cerebral Activist, Teacher, and Motivator

Introduction

For close to two decades, he was a regular columnist for many national newspapers in Nigeria.  He was a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communications, University of Maiduguri (UniMaid), Borno State, in the mid-1980s. He co-edited three books on mass communications. During his stay at UniMaid, he was quite eager and energetic about his duties. He was a public relations consultant and owner of Jikaab Associates, with offices in Kano and Abuja. He was a living legend, an accomplished agent and academic. He was a co-author of over 10 books. He is survived by his wife, Safiya, and three daughters.

That is a concise story of Mohammed Abubakar Jika, a renowned newspaper columnist, writer and commentator on public affairs born on Friday, January 15, 1960, in Yola, the capital city of Adamawa state.

In year 1987, in collaboration with the then Head of Mass Communications at the UniMaid,  Jerry Domatob, Jika organised the first International Conference on Communication, attended by mass communications scholars around the country.

He was a Director of the defunct Gongola Broadcasting Corporation, a former Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a former Director, Peoples Bank of Nigeria, and a former Executive Director (Operations) Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, a former Regional Freelancer, Voice of America (VOA) English Service, a former lecturer at the Department of Mass Communications, Bayero University, Kano.

This iconic scholar of many parts was a founder and grand patron of Writers Collective, Bayero University, Kano. He did not only initiate the collective, but helped mass communications students and all those who have skills to write, to engage into the business of writing articles. With the help of Jika’s connection, he secured a 30-minute air time with Abubakar Rimi Television (ARTV), Kano, weekly and a page with the Triumph Publishing Company, Kano, where students’ write-ups are published in the Sunday Triumph, an effort that has immensely helped students to develop their writing skills. 

Jika was mobile library of sorts who conveniently and pragmatically imparted knowledge with ease. He was very hard-working, little short of sophisticated multifunctional “bulldozer” with a strong presence of mind and tenacious penchant. As he was described by one of his students at the Bayero University, he exuded friendship, tolerance, understanding, patience and all the virtues that make human coexistence delectable. His love for intellectual challenges was notable. All through his teaching career in uniMaid and Bayero University. 

Early Life and Education

Abubakar Jika attended Tongo Primary School, Yola, Adamawa, from 1969 to 1975, where he obtained Primary School Leaving Certificate, General Murtala Muhammed College, from 1975 to 1980; Bayero University, from 1980 to 1984, where he graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications, and UniMaid, 1986- 1988 where he obtained his MSc political science.

He was a prolific writer in both academic and journalistic circles and has co-authored several books in mass communications; Mass communication in AfricaA Book of ReadingsMass Media and African Society; African Media Issues; People’s Bank; History and Growth; Mass Media and National Development; A Book of Readings.

He was a recipient of many awards which included; Daily Times’ Babatunde Jose Scholarship award for the best mass communications student in Nigeria, 1981-1984; Federal Government merit award scholarship for best mass communications student 1981-1984. He commenced his PhD programme with the University of Durban, South Africa.

Working Experience

Public Relations Officer, Imo State, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), 1984. Abubakar Jika joined the services of UniMaid in 1984 as a graduate assistant, senior journalist, Daily Times, Lagos, 1985; director Gongola Broadcasting Corporation, Yola, 1985-1988; director, NAN, Lagos, 1988-1989; zonal director, People’s Bank of Nigeria, Kano, Borno and Gongola states; member People’s Bank of Nigeria presidential Implementation Task Force, 1989-1991; executive director Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Lagos, 1991-1992; member Technical committee on the creation of Transport Development Bank, 1991-1992; Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, UniMaid, 1985-1989; Group President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) fombina Group of Companies, Kano 1992; Lecturer, Bayero University, 1999-2003; he initiated the famous Writers Collective, Bayero University, Kano, 1999-2003. 

In an interaction with some of his students at Bayero, Jika was portrayed as one not disposed to unnecessary academic rigours. Balarabe said that Jika’s story would be told over and over again for the impact his life made on many, and his voice on popular struggles and ideologies.

It was difficult to convince Jika on slowing down or pitching tents with those too slow to acknowledge the difference he strived to make: to an academic environment muddled with pedestrian stagnation. He traversed the MassComm department with an eccentric candour that provoked learning experience, grinding indolence almost to a halt.

While in BUK, Jika inched towards fulfilling the yearnings of several generations of students who had passed through it. It only became impossible for Jika to live to see an operational TV and radio stations beaming a signal to the immediate students’ community. Though he did not live long to see to that dream, he however, bequeathed a writers’ collective forum to the department of mass communications at Bayero.

Professor Muhammad Rabiu of the Nasarawa State University, Lafia, one of Jika’s students at UniMaid says Jika joined the university in 1984 as a graduate assistant when they were in 200 level. ‘’He was quite eager and energetic about his duties’’, Rabiu says. 

Another of Jika’s students at Bayero, Adamu Saleh, says the erudite scholar impacted possitively on the lives of his students, adding, ‘’he will forever live to be remembered by all. He was the brain behind most of the successes we are recording today in the field of mass communications. He was simple, tolerant and above all easy going.’’ 

The admirable Mohammed Abubakar Jika departed this world in February 2003 in a motor accident along the busy Zaria –Kaduna Express Road.