Special tribute to His Excellency, Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, OFR, CFR on the successful completion of his tour of duty as the Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
His Excellency, Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, OFR, CFR, was born on 24 November 1940 in Zaria, Kaduna State. He had his elementary education at Elementary Town School II in Zaria from 1947-1951. From 1952-1953, he attended the Middle School also in Zaria. He proceeded to Barewa College, Zaria from 1954 - 1959. From 1960 - 1961, he attended Government College, Keffi where he obtained his Higher School Certificate (HSC).
He embarked on his medical education at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos from 1962-1967, where he obtained the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). To further his medical education, he undertook postgraduate studies at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, New Castle Upon-Tyne, England from 1970 - 1971 and at the University of Liverpool, England from 1971-1972 where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health. Further post-graduate studies took him to the John Hopkins University in the USA in 1974.
His medical appointments include: House Officer, Ahmadu Bello University, from 1967-1968; Senior House Officer, 1968 - 1969. He was then appointed Registrar from 1969 - 1970. Dr TAFIDA was Clinical Assistant in Medicine at Royal Victoria Infirmary, New Castle Upon-Tyne from 1970 - 1971 and Senior Registrar in Medicine in Katsina Specialist Hospital from 1972 - 1973. He was Consultant Physician, Ministry of Health, Kaduna State from 1973 - 1976. He was appointed Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Kaduna in 1976, a post he held for four years. From 1980 - 1983, he was the Chief Physician to President, Federal Republic of Nigeria. From 1984 - 1987, he served variously as Commissioner of Health, Agriculture and Education in Kaduna State. Between 1993 - 1995, he was Federal Minister of Health.
Before his appointment as High Commissioner, His Excellency represented Kaduna North in the Senate from 2003 - 2007 where he was also the Senate Majority Leader during this period. Other appointments held and medical awards received by His Excellency include: Pro-Chancellor, University of Agriculture, Makurdi from 1989 - 1991; Member of the Royal College of Physicians, (MRCP) - 1971; Fellow, Nigerian Medical College of Physicians (FNMCP) - 1975; West African College of Physicians (FWACP) - 1975.
Dr. TAFIDA arrived in the United Kingdom as Nigeria High Commissioner on April 12, 2008 and presented his Letters of Credence to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on May 30, 2008. On August 23, 2010, Dr Tafida was invited home by His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to take up the special assignment of organising and coordinating the campaigns for the election of the President in the capacity of Director General of the Goodluck-Sambo Campaign Organisation for a fresh term. This was in preparation for the conduct of the primaries for the election of the Presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP).
Ambassador Tafida took up the challenge in September 2010, re-organised the campaign structure and deployed his powers of persuasion and diplomatic skills in criss-crossing the length and breadth of the country, to engage Nigerians in all walks of life and centres of power to vote the duo of President Goodluck Jonathan and his running mate, Vice President (Architect) Namadi Sambo. This assignment was executed with focused leadership and strong commitment, leading to the nomination of President Jonathan and his Vice President with a wide margin at the party primaries held on January 14, 2011, which were adjudged open, transparent, free and fair by all and sundry. In his acceptance speech after the primaries, President Jonathan expressed his gratitude to “Alhaji Dalhatu Sarki Tafida and members of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation for the great work that has been done to convert the will of the Nigerian people into delegates’ votes…” In recognition of the sterling qualities of Dr Tafida as a consummate politician of high integrity, he was re-appointed on January 17, 2011 by the President to continue with the great task of organising the presidential campaigns, in the capacity as the Director General of the Goodluck Jonathan and Namadi Sambo Presidential Campaign Council.
Senator Tafida again rose to the occasion and led the team that ran the nation-wide campaigns, culminating in the successful election of Dr Jonathan as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on April 16, 2011.
Majority of Nigerians as well as local and international election observers and monitors of the elections are unanimous in the conclusion that the polls were free, fair and transparent, the best of such elections in the country since independence in October 1960.
What is remarkable about the outcome of the Presidential election that Dr Tafida coordinated was that President Jonathan from Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta area of the country (South-South) not only won the simple majority of total votes cast across the country, he also pulled 25% of the votes cast in 31 of the 36 States of the Federation, over and above the Constitutional requirement of 24 States. This shows the wide-spread support for the President that cuts across ethnic, religious and social divides.
Following the successful conclusion of the election and the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan as the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29th May 2011, Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida finally returned to his post in London as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the Court of St James’s on Saturday, 4th June 2011, where he has continued to show his transformational leadership of the High Commission and the management of Nigeria-UK relations.
Dr. TAFIDA is married to Salamatu Ndana TAFIDA and is blessed with nine children. In 1983, His Excellency received the national honour of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), in 2012, he received another national honour of Comander of the Federal Republic (CFR), and in 1995, he was conferred the traditional title of Tafidan Zazzau. His hobbies include: Scrabbles and Table Tennis