Maitama Sule

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Dr. Yusuf Maitama Sule
Dan Masanin Kano
Federal Commissioner of Public Complaints
Assumed office
Nigeria's Representative to the United Nations
Assumed office
Minister for National Guidance
Assumed office
Personal details
Born Kano State, Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Children Bashir Maitama Sule, Umma Maitama Sule, Ahmed Maitama Sule, Abdulqadir Maitama Sule, Zainab Maitama Sule
Residence Kano, Abuja
Occupation Legislature
Profession Politician, Businessman
Religion Islam

Yusuf Maitama Sule is a Nigerian politician, acclaimed orator and diplomat. In 1976, he became the Federal Commissioner of public complaints, a position that made him the nation's pioneer ombudsman. In early 1979, he was a presidential candidate of the National Party of Nigeria but lost to Shehu Shagari. He was appointed Nigeria's representative to the United Nations after the coming of civilian rule in September 1979. While there he was chairman of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid.[1]

After, the re-election of President Shagari in 1983, Maitama Sule was made the Minister for National Guidance, a portfolio designed to assist the president in tackling corruption.[2]

Public career[edit]

Public Complaints Commission[edit]

The rise of economic nationalism during the 1970s led to the enactment of a decree stipulating minimum requirements for local content in many companies doing business in Nigeria. To capitalize on the benefits of indigenous control of the economy, many permanent secretaries, federal commissioners, state governors and their cronies established firms to conduct business with the government.[3] It was with the intent of patching the revolving door and to stem small-time corruption that the Public Complaints Commission was created in 1975. It was meant to hear and tackle complaints fielded by the common man in a simple and efficient manner. Maitama Sule, as head of the commission was known to have taken his job seriously, partly because he was a potent political commodity and had a lot to gain from the good will of the people when a transition to civilian rule was in place.[4] As a result of the commission's effort, corruption during the period was temporarily curtailed

National guidance[edit]

In 1983, he returned to a familiar role, this time under a democratic government as the head of a ministry to tackle corruption. The new but short-lived ministry was created solely to invest time in an ethical re-orientation of Nigerians. Maitama, who had acquired a solid reputation as a tough U.N representative, when he was chairman of a U.N. special committee on apartheid was asked to lead the ministry. However, his appointment was not satisfactory to critics. Shagari's administration was removed by a coup, with the coupists citing corruption as a major reason for the incursion.

Polemical statement[edit]

Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule was quoted to have said,

The statement has been used by some to stir up fears of northern political domination in the country. The fear of northern dominance can however not be dismissed.[5]


  1. ^ "UN launches anti-apartheid year," The Globe and Mail (Canada). January 12, 1982
  2. ^ Peter Blackburn, "Corruption in Nigeria: can it be ended in land of greased palms,"? Christian Science Monitor. December 5, 1983
  3. ^ Simone K. Panter-Brick, Soldiers and Oil: The Political Transformation of Nigeria. Frank Cass, 1978. p 123. ISBN 0-7146-3098-5
  4. ^ Simone K. Panter-Brick, Soldiers and Oil: The Political Transformation of Nigeria. Frank Cass, 1978. p 124. ISBN 0-7146-3098-5
  5. ^ David C. L. Lim, The Infinite Longing for Home: desire and the nation in selected writings of Ben Okri and K.S. Rodopi, 2005. p 24. ISBN 90-420-1677-9