Every day, for the past 3 months his face has been on TV. As the Chairman of the Covid-19 Taskforce, he usually leads other members to appear on TV to give Nigerians a daily briefing about their activities. As the leader of the team, he is usually the first to speak, after which he will allow others to take their turns to address all the issues which are usually raised by the print and electronic journalists who gather to listen to them.
Many people usually enjoy the gentlemanly manner with which he delivers his lines. Not a few admire his composure. He is always dressed in a well-tailored Kaftan. The Adamawa born politician usually looks statesmanly and well-composed. Each time, he carefully chooses his words and when he reads he does so superbly, so much so that you would love to listen to him speak on and on. From his looks and composure, the tendency is there for you to want to believe whatever he says. He is always very diplomatic. And he loves to choose his words. Though he is a politician, he does not look like your run of the mill politician. He looks too refined to be one. He cuts the picture of someone who is deep and philosophical. He also looks decent and he could pass as a technocrat who is more concerned about policy and strategic issues. His bearing commands respect and maybe that is why all those who work with him treat him with the utmost respect.
So accomplished has he become that even President Muhammadu Buhari holds him in high regard. The general belief is that most times anything Boss Mustapha says or advises is what the President does. This is because the President takes him seriously and likes to listen to him on policy matters.
That President Muhammadu Buhari believes in him can be seen in how he has practically handed over to him the running of government. He is the one all the Ministers report to. He is the one all the governors also report to. As SGF his office is the clearinghouse for all the major activities of the government. There is a general understanding in government among top government officials that for you to get prompt approval for your proposal from the President your best bet is to go through the SGF.
One other thing many people like about him is his humility. He is not only humble, he is forever calm in whatever situation he finds himself. For him, easy does it, all the time.
The big news is that pressure is mounting on him to run for Presidency, come 2023. We hear powerful forces are mounting pressure on him to build on his existing high profile and visibility. They feel he has a good reputation and the competence that the office requires. They argue that right now he is one of the few Northerners who have the requisite qualification to run for the job. He is also said to have the political experience needed for the job. He is from the North East.
They argue that if Boss Mustapha accepts to run he will get the support of President Muhammadu Buhari since the President likes him a lot. The President feels he is hardworking and trustworthy. And unlike most other politicians he believes he is a decent gentleman. They feel he should build on his current high profile job as the Chairman of the Covid-19 Taskforce. They feel the Taskforce Chairmanship job has made his profile shoot up and made him popular.
So, many of his associates have been quietly promoting his candidacy. But we hear Boss Mustapha has ignored all the talk about him running for office. A close associate of his explained that although Boss Mustapha is able and capable of running for office, he is not the kind of person that will go ahead without getting clearance from his current boss who places a high premium on loyalty.
They argue that the SGF would not run without getting clearance and anointing from the President and his kitchen cabinet. Analysts predict a seamless transition for him since the passing away of Mallam Abba Kyari, the President’s Chief of Staff. Until his death, Kyari was the one being tipped to run for Presidency from the inner caucus (a team close to Mr President). It is the desire and wish of those around the President that whoever will replace President Buhari should come from within so as to keep the legacy of President alive.
Boss Gidahyelda Mustapha is a lawyer, businessman, management consultant, politician, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). He was previously Managing Director, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority until his appointment as SGF by President Muhammad Buhari on 30 October 2017. Mustapha was born in the North-Eastern Nigerian State of Adamawa.
He attended primary school in Hong, Adamawa and proceeded to North East College of Arts and Sciences in Maiduguri, Borno State for his high school education. He graduated in 1976. He attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he received Bachelor of Law (LL.B) in 1979. He proceeded to Nigeria Law School, Lagos for mandatory one-year law class and graduated in 1980. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in the same year. He did his one-year mandatory national service between 1980 and 1981.
He started his legal practice in Messrs Onagoruwa & Co in Lagos as a Counsel in 1983. He had a stint at an Italian consultancy firm Sotesa Nigeria Limited earlier. In 1994 he established his own law practice firm Messrs Mustapha & Associates and served as its Principal Counsel until 2000. He later worked in another law firm Adroit Lex & Co. serving as Principal Consultant from 2000 to 2006.
Mustapha has been elected and appointed member of several boards of companies in the manufacturing, financial services and oil and gas sectors both in Nigeria and international scene. He is a member of several professional bodies including the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, African Bar Association, International Bar Association and Human Rights Institute. He has been described by many media reports as a “boardroom guru”.
Let’s talk about his political career. Many don’t know he is a seasoned politician. He entered politics in the 1980s after law graduation. Between 1988 and 1989 he was a member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Constituent Assembly, the body that drafted Nigeria’s 1989 constitution. The constitution was only partially used in running Nigeria’s third republic between 1993 and 1999. In 1989 Mustapha was the state chairman of the Peoples Solidarity Party (PSP) in defunct Gongola State but the party was among the several political parties disbanded by Babangida because they failed government’s “litmus test”
Between 1990 and 1991 Mustapha was Adamawa state chairman of the Social Democratic Party, one of the two state-created political parties during Ibrahim Babangida’s regime. He ran unsuccessfully for Adamawa State governorship in 1991 under the party but lost to Abubakar Saleh Michika of National Republican Convention.
He was among the 7-man committee tasked by President Obasanjo to probe Muhammadu Buhari-led Petroleum Trust Fund in 2000. The committee, Interim Management Committee, did their work but the report was never made public. Buhari resigned his position as executive chairman of the body earlier.
He served as the Deputy Director-General of the campaign organisation of Atiku Abubakar’s failed presidential bid in 2007 general elections.
He was deputy national chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria. The party was among the 3 major parties that were merged to form the All Progressives Congress on 6 February 2013 in anticipation of Nigeria’s 2015 general elections.
After the merger of their party, he served in the presidential campaigns and was among the members of its transition committee in Nigeria’s 2015 election that brought Muhammadu Buhari into power. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the party.
He ran unsuccessfully for Adamawa State governorship in 2014
He was appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation on 30 October 2017 following the sack of Babachir David Lawal who has been on suspension six months earlier for misappropriating public funds. He took the oath of office on 1 November 2017 during a meeting of the Federal Executive Council, in the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja.