Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi was born in 1969. He attended one of Nigeria’s leading universities, the University of Lagos, Akoka-Lagos where he graduated with a B.Sc. Second Class Upper degree, in Mass Communication.
Mallam Abdullahi started his working career as a volunteer and part-time worker in civil society organizations and international agencies before joining ThisDay newspapers as a reporter in 1997.
In his first year as a journalist, he won a nomination for the Nigerian Media Merit Award for the Best Newspaper Feature of the Year. In 1998, he joined the Africa Leadership Forum, a civil society organization based in Ota, Ogun State as a Publications Officer, and later a Programme Officer. He returned to ThisDay in 2000 as the Deputy Editor of ThisDay on Sunday, and become the Deputy Editor of ThisDay a year later. However, it was for his weekly column, Grains of Wit that he made his mark.
In 2001, he won the British Council Chevening Scholarship to study for a postgraduate programme in Governance and Development at the prestigious Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, in the United Kingdom where in 2002; he bagged a Masters Degree with Distinction.
In 2003, he was appointed as the Special Assistant, Communication and Strategy to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Dr Bukola Saraki, and in 2005, he was appointed Special Adviser on Policy and Strategy to the Governor. As an Assistant to the Governor, he convened the first Kwara Education Summit in 2003, and also served in various committees, including the State Economic Team, which co-ordinated the production of the State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS); and the State Budget Implementation Committee in which he served as its Chairperson.
Mallam Abdullahi has written over 1000 newspaper articles. He authored the Nigeria country report for the Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report, 2003.
In April 2007 he was appointed as the Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, a position he held until May 2011. His tenure as Commissioner recorded key achievements which had great impact on the educational system in Kwara State such as the comprehensive educational reforms and significant State-wide improvement in educational standards. Also to his credit, was the significant rise in the standard and quality of teaching throughout the State.
In recognition of his laudable achievements and inspirational leadership qualities, Mallam Abdullahi was appointed as the Minister of Youth Development by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in July 2011. Since assuming office, he has earned the reputation of a pro-active, youth-friendly Minister.
Mallam Abdullahi has attended various leadership and training programs abroad including courses at the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University and the World Bank Institute, in the United States of America in addition to courses in the United Kingdom.
Mallam Abdullahi speaks English, Yoruba, Hausa and Pidgin English fluently and enjoys reading, photography, jogging and aerobics. He is happily married and blessed with children.
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