Isa B. Sali, Oon: The Chief of Federal Civil Servants


Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, OON, was born on 23rd March, 1953 in Mubi, Mubi North Local Government Area of Adamawa State. He attended Demonstration School Mubi and Government Secondary School, Ganye before proceeding to the Ahmadu Bello University where he obtained a B. Sc (Political Science), Second Class Upper Division.

Upon completion of the mandatory one year national youth service corps (NYSC) as Administrative Secretary in Wudil Local Government of Kano State, Alhaji Sali began his Public Service career with the then Gongola State Civil Service as Assistant Secretary II in August, 1978. He rose to the rank of Under Secretary before transferring his services to the Lake Chad Research Institute in 1989 as Chief Administrative Officer. He joined the Federal Environmental Protection Agency in August, 1990 and rose to the rank of Deputy Director

The quest for a fulfilled Public Service career encouraged Alhaji Sali to again transfer his services to the mainstream of the Federal Civil Service as Deputy Director in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) in 1996 and later rose to the rank of Director in 2001. His career in the OSGF availed opportunities to Alhaji Sali for additional strategic and challenging tasks, routine and ad-hoc, which earned him the name Permanent Secretary with a small “P” long before his appointment as a Permanent Secretary in 2006 because of his experience in handling Committee assignments as Secretary.  Between 1999 and 2007, he had served as Secretary to 22 Committees.

In the course of his career and most demanding schedules, Alhaji Sali, in addition to the numerous seminars, workshops and courses he attended within and outside Nigeria also attended:- Leadership and Development Course at Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge from 8th – 21st June, 2008; and Two (2) courses on Real Leadership Organised by Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation in conjunction with Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2010-2011      

Alhaji Sali’s appointment as Permanent Secretary in October, 2006 and seeming attainment of the ultimate in his Civil Service career did not mean to him a winding journey but just another lane in the path of his Public Service career. This understanding spurred him to even greater determination and commitment to service. His resolve was soon manifested in his deployments to most challenging assignments as Permanent Secretary in the Political Affairs Office; Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development; Federal Ministry of Interior; Federal Ministry of Power and the Common Services Office in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

Alhaji Sali has in the course of his career received many letters of commendation with the latest two (2) coming from former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Head of Civil Service of the Federation.  He is also a recipient of several awards which includes one as Champion of Service Delivery given to him by the SERVICOM Office in 2007.

In recognition of his meritorious service to his fatherland, Alh. Sali was awarded the National Honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 2009, the same year his Community awarded him the Traditional Title of “Dan Masanin Mubi”.

A former Secretary to Government of the Federation and Head of Civil Service, Alh. Liman Ciroma, in a letter to Chief U.J. Ekaette, the then SGF described Alh. Sali in the following words: “A man of strong character, who carried his duties with thoroughness, unwavering dedication, absolute commitment.  He belongs to old school of Civil Service, a rare and endangered, species.  People of his caliber and integrity should be cultivated and encouraged to rise to the pinnacle of their career”

His appointment as Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and his recent award of Commander of the Federal republic by Mr. President President Goodluck Jonathan is a fulfillment of that request.

Alh. Sali is married to Dr. Maryam and they are blessed with children.



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