Alhaja Sherifat Omolara Ahmed that I know

By Taoreed O. Abdullahi


As you are bowing out of the service of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria as a Director, Abuja Operations. You have come, you have seen and you have conquered. Your legacy will remain indelible in our memories. You are a leading example of broadcast journalism. You led with passion, love, and dedication to duty. You trained us to be thoroughbred journalists. You trained us to confront any challenge with boldness. You’re a champion. You’re a winner. Alhaja Sherifat Ahmed. Thank you for your leadership role in transforming News and Current Affairs Department, Lagos Operations, and thank you ma for your motherly roles in adding value to Bond 92.9FM’s reputation. Ore ara ilu.

My Encounter with Alhaja Sherifat Ahmed.

Sometime around mid-June 2011, I was introduced to Alhaja Sherifat Ahmed. Being a newly employed staff of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Lagos Operations. The atmosphere was tense to the extent of contemplating either redeployment to the Programmes Department or seeking a transfer to Ibadan, Oyo State to start a journalism career. The reason was not far-fetched. I noticed some seriousness and everyone minded his or her business. The environment was too charged for a newcomer like me.

The information available to us was not that palatable. News and Current Affairs Department was portrayed as a true madhouse. Everyone seemed to be busy. Nobody was readily available to mentor greenhorn and cub reporters.

As a greenhorn in the profession, I was like how do I start in this environment. I summoned the courage to face the eventuality. Other leaders of the Department. Mr. Ogunwale looked approachable but at that time he was planning to travel for official engagement outside the country. The next person, Alhaja Sherifat Ahmed used to be a meticulous and serious personality who only showed up for Mondays and Fridays Editorial Meeting. The Issue at hand required me to speak or get authorization to proceed on the postgraduate programme that I had started before employment came. No choice, I approached Alhaja Sherifat Ahmed for support because as a newcomer I did not know how to go about it. I knocked on her office and explained the situation at hand to her. Her response was full of motivation and encouragement. Alhaja Ahmed asked some questions about my professional background. I quickly explained that I studied Mass Communication. I had HND from the Polytechnic Ibadan but currently running a Postgraduate Diploma in Mass Communication at Ahmadu Bello University and that’s why I came to you to seek your permission to go and write examinations. In the beginning, I noticed that she was not interested in what I said, should I say, she didn’t want me to be seen as awon eleyi wa gba owo ijoba ni. She quickly responded that Ise lowa se ni bi oooo. “You come and work here” but I don’t have time for that, you just resumed and you’re begging for permission. Have you discussed this with you team that you’re working with? I told her that I would use just two weeks, and I just finished the night shift, so I had some days to rest. She responded, “It was not done like that, fortunately, after some time, she guided me and asked me to put my intention in writing. After that she took the matter up, She contacted an admin man, Peter Osoworu, Alhaja Ahmed called him, and he assisted me in getting the necessary documentation to notify management of running a course. Unfortunately, before I came back from the examination, the man died. I learned that he fell while climbing the administration block staircase due to stress and died while rushing him to a nearby hospital. May his soul rest in peace.
That’s the first favour I got from Alhaja Sherifat Ahmed. Ever since then, I became Alhaja’s child. She would be advising and cautioning me. I learned a lot from her.

I remember when I started hanging around with Ebere Obike, AlhajaAhmed didn’t hide her feelings, she told me to point blank. You’re not serious, are you guys trying to do love here. She said omo Igbo lon tele, ma se ara e, you better look elsewhere, up till today, I and Ebere still joke about the matter. My former girlfriend.

Alhaja Ahmed is a realistic person. Alhaja Ahmed is a blunt person. She said things as she sees it. She didn’t have room to hide the fact of the situation. She is interested in the well-being of everyone working under her. She is passionate. She is a lovely mother. She hates laziness but she can be of help when it comes to the health and wellbeing of staff. She granted people concessions on circumstances.


Being a disciplinarian, Alhaja Sherifat Ahmed would always want anyone under her to follow due process in doing things. She has a habit of saying it as it is. If you do not have enough facts of the situation or matter. Don’t go near her. She is a woman with details. If Alhaja called you, you must have two things at the back of your mind, you must have done woefully in your duty or you must have done excellently well or your action must have impressed her. I was always scared of her calls as one of the Producers of Koko Inu Iwe Iroyin. If she calls during or after the programme, be rest assured, she may want to seek clarifications or you have goofed. She is a good listener of Radio. She understands her responsibilities. She doesn’t tolerate laxity, laziness, and idleness while on duty. I have had several encounters with her and I know that she would applaud my boldness behind me. She is a thorough professional, and administrator per excellent, she will be teaching while trying to explain the situation to you. She doesn’t have room for no sense.


Punctuality is the sole of the business, For Alhaja Sherifat Ahmed, I can say, she is madam punctual. 8am is 8am. I have never seen her coming to the office late. She has enough time for it. When I just joined, I didn’t know where she was living but she would be in the office around 6:30 am to 7 o’clock in the morning. Network News at seven o’clock in the morning will start in her office and she will not leave her duty post until after Network News at four o’clock. When I got to know her location, Mowe Ibafo axis, I began to wonder when she must have left her home for the office or when would she return home. For someone to be in the office around seven o’clock in the morning, she must have left her home before six or around six o’clock. As a leader, she demonstrated that you must lead by example. That’s one of the lessons I learned from her. You don’t have an excuse to give when your boss was in the office before you, you must be ready to get a query. Everyone has to sit up and brace up. Another beautiful side of Alhaja is that she will not leave until after four o’clock in the evening or after Network news has been sorted.

Thoroughbred journalist

Professional per excellent. Alhaja Sherifat understands the job. You can’t call black blue for Alhaja. I remember her days as General Manager Bond FM, she instilled discipline in everyone. She reset the brains of everyone. Before you move closer to the microphone, you must have prepared what to say. No ridi ridi. She brought sanity and decorum to the early morning Newspaper Review. Koko Inu Iwe Iroyin. She has time for every detail. Fortunately, Alhaja Ahmed is a linguist. She understands the Yoruba Language. You can’t hide under anything to try anything sinister. As General Manager, she managed everything with caution and knew what’s going on in each department. She is readily available for everything.

Religious Consciousness

As a devoted Muslim. Alhaja Sheriat Ahmed is a core and thoroughbred Muslim who understands the religion. Alhaja Ahmed is an example of a good Muslim. By merely seeing her, you will notice that she is a Muslim. Her dress sense is perfect. Simple but attractive. The dress is moderate and she wants everyone around her to practice the religion according to her understanding and dictate of the Holy Quran and Hadith of Prophet Mohammed. She has a dislike for Muslim women wearing trousers and not covering her head. She will not hide her feelings. She will tell you no matter how big you may be, your dress is not ideal. That makes me add that she dislikes indecent dressing. If you don’t dress well, Alhaja Sherifat will send you back home. She will tell you point blank that this is an office, not a beauty pageant arena.


Perceived harshness.

Alhaja Sherifat means a lot to many people. it’s like figures 6 and 9. The angle you stand will determine what you see. That’s what I see in Alhaja. We have our disagreement on the job. She wants details. She needs you to defend your actions. You must exhibit that dexterity to Alhaja to earn her trust and reliability. You must have concrete evidence, facts, and explanations to prove your worth. To some people, Alhaja no like me, but she is always passionate because if you offend Alhaja Sherifat, it’s like you offended the whole world. If you do bad or you have bad characters, forget it, you’re not Alhaja’s good book. No matter the impressive performance you may exhibit, that doesn’t change or move her. She doesn’t hide her annoyance with anyone. If you do well, well done, if you didn’t perform well, you have your results immediately. Professionalism is what concerned her. No room for either my personal person or my friend. You have your results as you do your work.

Monitoring spirit. Alhaja has a passion for radio. I am sure, she must have the radio in her sitting room, kitchen and bedrooms. She will be there at home making corrections in the news bulletin, and programs. She is always on top of her situation. Hardly you will see her without knowing what’s happening in the station. If you go to Alhaja to report someone to her, she has facts on her table. That’s one of another beautiful aspects of Alhaja, she hates badbelle and backbiting. She formed her opinion about other people herself.

As you are hanging your boot or you’re penning down, I wish you success in your future endeavours. I wish you more years to spend on the surface of your heart in good health and wealth. May you reap the fruit of your labour. Agba yin a dale.

Taoreed O Abdullahi,
Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Lagos Operations.

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