Not many knew Yusuf Magaji Bichi before he became the DG, DSS in 2018. Before then, he was just one quiet easy going gentleman who had started and finished a thirty five (35) year public service in the Intelligence Agency. Born in 1956 in the ancient city of Bichi, Kano State, he attended Danbatta Secondary School and the College of Advanced Studies, Kano.
An alumnus of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he studied Political Science and graduated in 1981, he started his career in the Security Division of the Kano State Cabinet Office. He was to later transfer his services in 1984 to the then National Security Organisation (NSO) now State Security Service (SSS)/Department of State Services (DSS).
As a young officer, his sterling performance and dedication to duty stood him out. In 1985, his Supervisor had described Bichi as an asset and good material for the Service. He was subsequently nominated in 1988 to receive further training in intelligence processing and analysis and other aspects of counterintelligence in the United Kingdom. His Course Officer had described him as a competent intelligence officer. Back home, Chief JO Obuseh, his then boss saw him as a very good analyst. His projections were never flawed. They were precise.
Vast in many fields of covert actions and Alternative Dispute Resolution, his core competences include investigation, interrogation and protective operations; conflict management, risk and vulnerability assessment, human resource management and mentorship. He brings his wealth of experience to bear on his assignments. At every stage of his endeavours, his superiors had taken note of his discipline and diligence. This is why in years past, Mr. AA Gadzama, a one-time DG stated that “wherever you have difficulty and security challenges, post Bichi there”. He has continually exhibited this in the way he handles matters.
Aside adopting cooperation as the basis for interagency relationship, he harps on effective and proactive communication as bedrock of public and media engagements. In support of the ongoing fight against terrorism, insurgency and other threats against National Security, he has humbly and steadily supplied timely and actionable intelligence to sister agencies. Ditto to MDAs for efficient State and public policy. He is neither combative nor competitive. He is only a team player and an achiever.
He is an alumnus of the prestigious National Defence College where he was bestowed a Fellow of the War College (fwc) in 2007. While in training, he caught the attention of his assessors. He was unequivocally described as decent, mature and a well comported gentleman with a pleasant demeanour. But for a demand by his parent Organisation, the DSS, that he returned to the Service, the National War College (NWC) wanted him retained as a Directing Staff. Further observed to be respected by all including the College staff, he was applauded for learning rapidly and devoted in his work.
Above all, the College noted that Bichi “is an experienced and knowledgeable person who readily shared his experience with his peers”. No wonder he adopts collaboration as a model for security management. Prophetically, the Commandant unambiguously stated that Bichi has great potential for effective performance in higher responsibilities. Is anyone ever shocked he afterall became the DGSS?
Yes, his emergence as the DGSS is never a surprise. It is a journey foretold. In one of the assessments on him, he was described as an officer with high quality of leadership even though he was yet to occupy a top post. At each point of his training, the observation about his leadership qualities and recommendations to discharge higher responsibilities remained constant and unassailable.
Notably in 2007, the Commandant of National War College hinted about his great potential to effectively manage higher responsibilities. Instructively, 2018 as clearly seen was not the first time he was to be considered for the post of DG. In 2011/12, his name featured as a potential DGSS. In the same vein in 2015, he was among the three (3) names the then DG, Mr Ekpenyong Ita recommended as his replacement.
Various stakeholders had always mentioned him as a possible DG. That he was not lucky during those periods was an act of destiny. And as a man of destiny that he is, he eventually became one when it was his time. And he has not disappointed. He is not an ambitious man. During his early days, he had on three (3) occasions respectfully turned down appointments when the then DG, Areh nominated him six (6) times for one position or the other. Remarkably, the DG on three (3) instances refused and insisted he must take the particular appointment.
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