By Abdul Lauya
In the hallowed halls of the Nigerian National Assembly, an incredible story of distinction, dedication and perseverance unfolds through the life and career of one of the finest legislative aides in the fourth republic – a remarkable journey from cradle to the pinnacle. In the annals of history, there are few tales as inspiring as that of Prof Jake Dan’Azumi, BA (Zimbabwe) BA (South Africa) PGD (Bradford) MSc (Oxford) PhD (London), an erudite scholar who defied all odds and navigate the murky waters of Nigerian success environment through sheer determination and relentless hard work. Born in Damaturu, Yobe state to a Taraba-born federal civil servant, he is of Mumuye extraction from Zing LGA. His early life involved a lot of movement as his itinerant father, Joseph Dan-Azumi, a staff of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), traversed several North Eastern States of the country.
From his early childhood years to his current rise to prominence, he has demonstrated that with passion for learning, dedication and commitment to duty, an individual from a humble background can actually become somebody in life, and leave lasting footprints on the sands of time without necessarily knowing anybody. His story also serves as a source of inspiration to present and future generation, and a signpost to the limitless possibilities of hard work and determination in the pursuit of a brighter future and self-actualization.
With two First Class Honours Degrees and a PhD from foreign universities, Dan’Azumi had the opportunity to teach in the best citadel of leaning within and outside the country, but chose to join the National Assembly service as a legislative aide. In 14 years, he has transitioned from a legislative aide to becoming the Chief of Staff to the number four citizen, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a testament to his patriotic commitment and dedication to duty.
Education as Catalyst
As an individual dedicated to lifelong learning, Dan’Azumi recognized the importance of education not only for himself but also for the betterment of Nigerian society. His academic journey began from Nigeria to Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United Kingdom, where it was evident that he possessed an insatiable hunger for knowledge and a commitment to excellence. He finished top of his class with First Class Honours (B.A degrees) from the University of Zimbabwe and the University of South Africa; holds Master of Science Degree in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University, and a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of Bradford. He later crowned it with a Doctorate Degree in Development Planning & Administration from the University College (UCL), London. A visiting senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Abuja, his research and academic pursuits had become integral in shaping his role within the National Assembly.
While education played a significant role, Prof Dan’Azumi understood that success was not solely about academic achievements. Hence, he cultivated a deep sense of empathy and a desire to give back to the society; volunteering and mentoring others, inspiring those around him with his story, proving that anyone, regardless of their background, could rise to the top through dint of hard work and dedication.
Dan’Azumi developed a deep sense of patriotism and a passion for public service from young age. Outside the shores of Nigeria, he worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Zambia. Upon return to Nigeria, he worked as a governance consultant with the United Nations Development Program UNDP where he served as an officer for the UNDP/DGD Project on Strengthening Key Processes and Committees of the Nigerian National Assembly. He was a faculty member of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja. In 2009, Dr. Dan’Azumi embarked on an exciting career in politics and governance by joining the National Assembly as a legislative aide, marking the beginning of an illustrious career in politics and governance.
He served as Legislative Aide (Special Assistant) to the President of the Senate, 2011- 2014, a role that allowed him to gain firsthand experience in the inner workings of the legislative arm of government, witnessing the nuances of lawmaking process and policymaking. After years of diligent work and personal growth, Dan’Azumi transitioned to a teaching position at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, where he had the opportunity to transfer knowledge and his experiences to future leaders. He was Senior Research Fellow and Head, International Cooperation Division; as well as Assistant Coordinator NILDS-UNIBEN Postgraduate Programmes at the Institute before his recent appointment. A voracious reader and prolific writer with incredible passion for transfer of knowledge, Dan’Azumi combines the highly demanding job of a technical advisor to the DG NILDS with teaching and supervising Masters and PhD students in addition to sundry other incidental responsibilities at NILDS and UNIABUJA.
Driven by relentless pursuit of excellence, Dan’Azumi continued to climb the academic ladder. In recognition of his top-notch teaching and research contributions, he was appointed a Professor of Political Science and Development Studies by the University of Abuja for his pivotal role in shaping UNIABUJA and NILDS’ educational curriculum that would empower the next generation of Nigerian legislators, political scientists and policymakers.
Legacy of Excellence and lesson in Hard Work
Prof Jake Dan’Azumi’s humble beginning first, as legislative aide to former Senate President David Mark, to his appointment as Technical Advisor to the Director General, NILDS, is a testament to his uncommon commitment and dedication to assigned tasks. His story inspires not only career legislative Aides in the National Assembly, but those within the political sphere and individuals from all walks of life to pursue their dreams and goals with a commitment to excellence and lifelong learning.
Prof Dan’Azumi’s journey came full circle with his recent appointment as the Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr Tajudeen Abbas. As he resumes this role 17th October, 2023, he stands at the nexus of legislative power, serving as a trusted advisor to one of the most influential figures in the Nigerian political landscape. An expert in the design and delivery of parliamentary and democratic support programmes, he brings onboard over 14 years cumulative experience in the National Assembly system. His appointment therefore highlights not only his tenacity but also a lesson in excellence, loyalty and leadership.
Today, Prof Dan’Azumi stands as a symbol of resilience, hard work and the unwavering belief that destiny is shaped by one’s actions, not by the circumstances of birth. His remarkable journey serves as testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and reach the pinnacle of success. From cradle of challenges to the pinnacle of achievement, Dan’Azumi’s story reminds us that destiny is substantially what we make of it.