Shinkafi: Exit of a colourful technocrat, politician

By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos 

Born in Shinkafi village, he was named Umaru Aliyu but soon adopted his town’s name as his surname. 

Upon the completion of his primary and secondary education, the young Umaru against all odds opted to join the then fledging Nigeria Police Force as a cadet in 1959. 

He soon enrolled at the University of Lagos where he bagged his LLB degree in Law in 1973. 

Respected for his specialization in intelligence gathering, Shinkafi was appointed Federal Commissioner (Minister) of Internal Affairs (now Interior Ministry) in 1975 before he was made the DG of the newly formed yet shadowy security outfit the National Security Organisation (NSO). 

But as the Director-General of the NSO, he ran into storm over the deportation of a former Majority Leader of the Borno State, Alhaji Abdurrahman Shugaba Darman in 1981. 

Shugaba, who was of the defunct Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP)  was accused of hatching an “assassination plot against ex-President Shehu Shagari, of the ruling National Party of Nigeria(NPN).

The embattled Shugaba was later pronounced to be a Nigerian by a High Court after his aged mother ucceeded in identifying his voice in a testimony which shaped the nation’s legal history. 

His foray into politics almost overshadowed his police cum secret service career.

He was a leading presidential aspirant of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in 1992 before the Military regime of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida aborted the primaries. 

He however succeeded in being the vice-presidential candidate of Olu Falae in the APP/AD alliance in 1999.

The alliance was defeated at the poll in 1999 by the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) which fielded Olusegun Obasanjo/Atiku Abubakar. Since then he had remained incommunicado by restricting his activities to the Sokoto, Kebbi axis of the country.

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