Ignatius Datong Longjan
The unlikely events that
shot him into public consciousness do not typify the story of his life. But at
Kwa, Qua’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State where this life began on
May 16, 1945, Ignatius Datong Longjan was the archetypal child scheduled for an
appointment with his own destiny.
On the plains of his native
land, he took his first step to the future at the Kwa Junior Primary School in
1954. He then proceeded to Shendam Junior Primary School in 1956, before
returning to Kwa where he attended the Senior Primary School, completing in 1958.
Prodded by an intrinsic need for further education, Longjan left his land of
birth for the temperate hills of Vom. There, he enrolled at the famous St.
Joseph’s College where, from 1959 to 1964, he received secondary school
training in the tradition of excellence established by its missionary founders.
On receipt of the West
African School Certificate (WASC), Longjan, eager to get on with life, began a
public service career that would see him, first, at the Northern Nigeria
Ministry of Information, Kaduna in 1965. Three years later, in 1968, he was
deployed to the defunct Benue-Plateau State following the state creation
exercise of 1967.
Encouraged by the
opportunities of his time and willing to make the most of these opportunities,
he transferred his services to the Federal Ministry of Education, Jos in March
1969. After a three-year stint, Longjan left in September 1973 for the Ahmadu
Bello University to pursue a diploma programme in law.
In July 1975, Ignatius
Longjan began what would be a very eventful career in diplomacy having secured
yet another transfer to the then Ministry of External Affairs. As Foreign
Affairs Officer, Longjan would, in July 1976, leave for Germany where he had
been posted to the Consulate-General of Nigeria, Hamburg.
Blessed with a personality
and temperament that suited the demands of his duties, Longjan would make another
success of his assignments elsewhere at the Embassy of Nigeria, The Hague,
Netherlands. There, between December 1980 and March 1983, he was Protocol
Officer to Justice Elias of Nigeria who was then acting president of the
International Court of Justice.
Holder of an Advanced
Diploma in Public Administration from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Foreign
Service Academy diploma from the prestigious Foreign Service Academy, Lagos; and
Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from the City University of
New York, USA, Longjan also served at the Embassy of Nigeria, Conakry, Republic
of Guinea from March 1983 to August 1984.
Longjan whose career
progression saw him rise to the office of Minister Counsellor was Head of
Chancery, Consulate-General of Nigeria, New York (1988-1992) and, six years
later, in 1998, Head of Chancery, Embassy of Nigeria, Moscow, Russia, before
his graceful exit from diplomatic
service in 2000.
Tempered by the diversity
of his personal experiences and the exigencies of his official
responsibilities, Ignatius Longjan would bring competence, character and
commitment to other tasks that awaited him in retirement. How he has brought
this to politics, his present vocation, is a measure of his faith in life and patience with it, the two virtues around which his personal
philosophy is woven.
As Financial Secretary of
the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party from 2005 to 2007, Longjan exemplified
trust; as Chief of Staff, Government
House from 2007 to 2011, he showed what loyalty entailed.
Married and blessed with three
children, Ignatius Datong Longjan has remained a devoted family man in the face
of an engaging public life. A well travelled man, he has, in addition to the
many countries where he served his fatherland, visited not less than thirteen
other countries among which are France, Poland, United Kingdom, Denmark,
Belgium, Ukraine, Belarus, USA and Sierra Leone. He enjoys reading and