“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
Mr. Shuaibu Idris, mni, who is the current Chairman of Board of Governors of IoD, Centre for Corporate Governance, was born almost six decades ago in Dogon Dawa, Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. He shines through the pages of time as a light of hope. His simplicity, albeit a staggering success, unnerves. His life reminds us of the overwhelming potency of courage in the face of daunting odds. From his quiet settlement of Dogon Dawa, he has risen over time to etch upon the soils of remembrance, echoes of possibilities, common with anyone who gives their all to a vision. Indeed, his chapter in time paints the canvass of our shared human experience with the beauty of a fine mind.
He has a BSc in Accountancy from the famous Bayero University, Kano; and an MSc in Banking and Finance from the University of Wales, United Kingdom. As a fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Management, Fellow, Chartered Institute of Credit Administrators, Fellow, Institute of Directors, Nigeria, Fellow, Chartered Institute of Marketing, Fellow, Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria, Member, National Institute (mni) and Member, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, his contributions to corporate organizations and multinationals are spectacular and integral in the conversations that have shaped the private sector in Nigeria.
In the last two decades, he has expanded his relevance, while deepening his expertise through several leadership trainings and courses, locally and internationally. Such self-development expeditions have led him to Harvard Business School, USA, Lagos Business School, Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge, and Howard University, amongst others.
No wonder, his work experiences, spanning stints from the public to the private sectors, have been noted with exceptional feats, which in some of the organizations he served, have remained indelible and unbeaten records to date. From Kaduna State Board of Internal Revenue as an Inspector of Taxes, the defunct Chase Merchant Bank Nigeria PLC, Lagos, later Continental Merchant Bank PLC, as Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Lakeside Investments Limited (non-bank finance company) as its pioneer Deputy Chief Executive Officer, the setting up of Time-Line Consult Limited, where he served as its Managing Consultant, Liberty Bank as Assistant General Manager in charge of Public Sector and Northern Operations, Dangote Group PLC as Group General Manager, Human Resources, Administration, Corporate Affairs and Environment, Group Treasurer, Executive Director, Sales and Marketing (flour), then later Deputy Managing Director of Dangote Flour; to his current stead as the Managing Director/CEO of Time-Line Consult Limited; one finds in Mr. Idris, a professional puzzle of some sort.
His ability to seamlessly move from one organization to another, setting inexpungible records in the history of those organizations, and his sheer ingenuity in managing human and capital resources, typify a colossus of impeccable repute, a conscience empowered by the divine, and a technocrat committed to building viable and effective systems. His diverse experiences and skills in logistics and supply chain, human resources management, treasury and investment banking, lending, sales and marketing, strategy and vision; all build into a crescendo of human wonder.
This explains why his roles on the boards of several companies and corporations have continued to remain a reference point. On many occasions, he has had to take up responsibilities without a structure and a job description. On such occasions, he builds the structures, outlines his terms of reference and delivers a sustainable structure. His dexterity, to say the least, is simply breath-taking! This explains why he is audacious, fearless, down-to-earth and unassuming. As such, when he speaks truth to power, as he always does, it is intended at building a more effective society!
Further to that, as a man who has visited several countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, America and Latin America, for official and private functions, his understanding of life and service is rich, wide and empowering. As a well-travelled man, he ensures that his global exposure rubs off on his unique assignments back home in Nigeria. Even at that, he still calls himself: “a WIP (i.e Work In Progress); notwithstanding the fact that he has undertaken and completed very onerous tasks in the last three decades. That says a lot about his self-effacing personality!
Given such modesty, Mr. Shuaibu Idris has risen across the years to become one of the most notable success stories of his generation, though he lost his father and guardian just immediately after primary school. He had to start taking care of himself at a very young age. That he could have the quality and level of education he has, in spite of his beginning, makes him a miracle child: guided by God!
This man who was once an orphan grew over the years to midwife and nurture, through a position paper he presented, a government policy on managing our country’s external debts from the private sector angle: the Debts Equity Swap Scheme. His involvement with the scheme led to the cancellation of over US$2 billion of Nigeria’s external debts stocks within three years. Those debts were cancelled and the proceeds were invested in the productive sector of the nation’s economy. Through this process, jobs were created, the economy expanded and resources were tapped and utilised.
Thanks to the discipline instilled in him by his late parents, a child who was once without hope has made it to the C level position in Corporate Nigeria without a godfather. He had to sweat it out. He had to toil and struggle for his success. He farmed, cut and sold grasses and firewood to raise money for his education, which augmented his bursary and scholarship awards. Like every great man, he fought the fear of failure, the fear of defeat and above all, make up for the absence of a mentor and/or an executive coach through consistent personal professional development. He sponsored himself to Schools such Harvard University, Cambridge University as well as Pan Atlantic University! This explains why as a regular commentator on financial, economic, business and current affairs, in local and international media outfits, his ideas are held in high regard.
Speaking on the reason he joined ADSI, he says: “The opportunity to add value albeit unsolicited, silently and quietly is the single most important reason I joined ADSI.” Apart from what he does for ADSI, hundreds of lives have benefitted from his humanitarian and philanthropic interventions. His readiness to serve humanity, as much as he can, testifies to the fact that he can never forget about his humble background. His doors and in fact, windows, are wide open and ready to share knowledge, resources and experiences with any one in need. He motivates, inspires and challenges the younger generation to make their lives worthy of emulation just as he has been able to do with his own life. If he can do it, why not you? He believes that since he could make something worthwhile out of his life, anyone else can. From a remote village in Kaduna State to the global stage, Mr. Idris proves that he is indeed a phenomenon and a role model.
This pride of Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State, Arewa, Nigeria, and mankind as a whole, has indeed achieved greatness; even though when asked about his accomplishments, he parried the question and instead chose the phrase: tasks completed, to further exemplify his simplicity and meekness, even when it is a public knowledge that he came, he saw and he conquered. As a very accomplished, big-hearted, thoroughly educated and vastly experienced professional; a mentor to hundreds of young people in Africa, Asia, Europe etc, and an unpretentious humanist, his trails are dotted with bells of inspiration.
He is a consummate professional, a courageous, tolerant, accommodating, and highly detribalised Nigerian. His high sense of moral rectitude, ethical values, and penchant for excellence, dub him as one of the finest gifts of God to humanity. His commitment to ADSI, amongst a litany of many other notable causes, exemplifies the meaning of greatness.
Mikati, as he is popularly known in the political circles, believes that he has a stake in making Arewa great again. He is a local breed with international relevance and coverage; hence a Member of Humanity Club International. His desire is to impact mankind, not just Arewa; though Arewa is the starting point. You too can join him. Together, we can build the Arewa of our dreams. Yes we can! Yes we shall, and yes we must!
This piece is published, a few days after his 58th birthday, being April 23, 2022. Happy belated birthday to a true son of Arewa, a shining example of the grandeur of our people, a loving father and a compassionate husband, an oasis of enviable distinctions, a repertoire of brains and brawn, a touchstone of wisdom, a visionary, an entrepreneur per excellence, a czar in the corporate world and a complete gentleman.