People call me Mr Independence, because I was born on Oct 1st, 1960 – AVM Mamu

By Faith Awa Maji

Air Vice Marshall Alkali Mohammed Mamu otherwise shortened for AVM AM Mamu (retired) was born on the same day that Nigeria got her independence from United Kingdom on October 1st, 1960. He became an Air Force Officer and started flying at 20 years of age.

The celebrant holds the traditional title of Barden – Generallismo – of Fika Emirate in Yobe State. He was nicknamed Alkali, literally meaning a Judge – that declared Nigeria independent, some call him Mulki, meaning, Administrator and some call him Mr. Independence.

He said in his goodwill message on the occasion of his birthday and Nigeria’s Independence celebrations,. “it is on record that Nigerians celebrated when the country got her independence on the 1st of October, 1960 and so also did the family of Alhaji Mohammed Mamu, a Prince of Fika Emirate Council in present day Yobe State when Alkali was born to the family, thereby making them, the extended family and well-wishers celebrating double events.

“My father was late Alhaji Mohammad Mamu, who was a traditional title holder of Tinja Fuya, literally meaning Prime Minister. He was a career civil servant who served in different parts of the country. He was District Officer (D.O.) in Yola and later on became an elected Chairman of a Potiskum Local Government Area.

“My father was contemporaries with former presidential aspirant, late Malam Adamu Ciroma, former Head of Service, Malam Adamu Fika, Chairman of National Assembly Service Commission, Dr Adamu Fika amongst others,” he said.

According to him, the name Mamu is short for Muhammad as in Momoh, or Madu amongst others in some parts of the country and beyond.

The veteran Air Force Pilot said that his extended family and dependants who were fostered, adopted or sponsored by the Mamu family bear the name.

According to him, his grandfather and father were strict disciplinarians. They prioritised seeking both Islamic and Western knowledge such that the future Air Force Officer was sent to school at a very tender age then.

AVM Mamu, ” I attended Central Primary School, Potiskum between 1965 to 1971.

“I started primary school at the age of five as the youngest in not just the class, but in the whole set, there were teenagers as my class mates and adults in senior classes.

Air Vice Marshall Alkali Mohammed Mamu recalls that, whenever a reason for him to say or fill any form, from childhood to date, his date of birth aroused curiosity and a second look from people.

He said that during Independence Day, he would receive cards, telephone calls, emails amongst others from superiors, relations and friends.

After primary school, he gained admission into Government Secondary School, Fika, from 1971 to 1976. He was again the youngest in his set.

AVM Mamu said that when he gained admission at the University of Maiduguri in Borno State at the age of 17 in 1977, lecturers and school mates used to wonder how a teenager in those days started school so early.

In the course of his quest to pursue a degree, during the administration of former Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, a military officer visited their school and called on them to volunteer to serve their country by joining the Armed Forces, a development which that propelled him to join the Nigerian Air Force.

Mr. Independence joined the Nigeria Air Force as Cadet in Military Training School, in 1979 and was commissioned as Officer with the rank of Pilot Officer in 1980.

He said that in 1980, he went home to Potiskum and Fika and was shy to wear his uniform as a young officer because he was too “small” for the rank in those days. But he was told by his uncle to wear his uniform to go and seek for blessing from his grand uncle, the late Emir Abali Ibn Idrissa and his uncles and aunts.

He went to the Emir’s palace, and the praise singers started praising his family lineage for training him at a tender age to a role model to youths for them to seek knowledge despite leaving there comfort zone. Indeed, that led others to join the Armed Forces after him.

AVM Mamu passed through different Air Force and commercial airlines training schools within the country and beyond.

AVM Mamu was a certified Captain of different types of airplanes and has flown across Africa, America, Europe and Asia.

His diligence to duty earned him a selection to serve in the prestigious Presidential Air Fleet and with time, he flew the Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo – who had in the past called on them to join the Armed Forces – until the end of his administration as President.

The decorated international pilot calls on the leadership and the people to strive harder for the growth and development of the country to greater heights, for the benefit of future generations.

AVM Mamu is married with four children and he recently became a grandfather.

Since his retirement in 2016, he has ventured into aviation, mining and manufacturing in an effort to establish a foundation for future generations.

One of his children, Mohammed Bashir Mamu said, “most of our family and friends know the birthday of my father because it coincides with the independence of our beloved country, Nigeria. Our family is wishing Nigerians and my father happy Independence and birthday anniversary.”

His message to Nigerians: “We should strive harder towards developing the country to greater heights, as nobody will do it for us.”

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