General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria
Yakubu Dati is probably one of the very few corporate communication managers in the country with plates that are fuller than others. You won’t be wrong if you say his job keeps him on his toes 24 hours of the day, seven days of the week – from any part of the world where he finds himself.
If he is not offering explanations or providing answers in respect of a plane crash anywhere in the country, he is answering questions about airport re-modeling project, a runway extension project, or construction of a second runway. It would even be his lot to offer explanations if a minister gets mired in a controversy surrounding purchase of bullet-proof cars without following due process.
Dati is the general manager in charge of corporate affairs for the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). You wouldn’t expect him to be concerned about what happens in other agencies under the ministry of aviation, since they also have their own spokespersons. But somehow, he has found himself having, at his finger tips, detailed information about the operations of all the other agencies under the ministry, which is a reflection of his grasp, understanding and expertise on the very difficult job of managing corporate communication, more so in an industry that is frequently in the eye of the storm.
A clear instance of the complex role Dati plays was during the tenure of the Jonathan administration, when Stella Odua, the then minister for aviation, handed him the tough task of speaking for all the agencies under the ministry, when public perception of the ministry was anything but positive.
It was the time the minister came under fire for allegedly getting agencies under the ministry to shell out N225 million to buy two bulletproof BMW cars for her official use. It was also the time opinion was divided about the success or otherwise of the re-modeling of airports in the country. Dati reverted to his position in FAAN only after the storm in the aviation industry had been brought under control.
Dati has held his current position for about four years, which makes him one of the longest serving spokesmen for the airport authority. It is an attestation to his skills on the unenviable job of managing perception for an industry that is considered as volatile as it can be. A look at his background reveals a man that did not land on his job by happenstance.
Armed with a Bachelors degree in Theatre Arts and Masters in International Law and Diplomacy, Dati served as executive chairman, Mikang Local Government Council, plateau State, from 1999 to 2002, special assistant to the state governor on strategic planning, between 2002 and 2003; commissioner for youth and sport, from 2003 to 2005 and commissioner for information and strategy, from 2005 to 2007.
He left government briefly to work as executive director, KIBUTZ Investment Limited (media and management consultants), from 2008 to 2020, before returning to public office as special assistant on media and political affairs to the minister of state for commerce and industry, from 2010 to 2012, when he was appointed to his current position.
A holder of certificates in Airside Operations, Airport Business Operations, Terminal and Landslide Operations and a di[loma in Airport Operations, Dati is currently pursuing a PhD in International Relations and Diplomacy.