Educated at the Damasak Elementary School, Bornu Middle School, Zaria Government College and at the Royal Officers’ Training School at Teshie in Ghana before going to Mons Officer Cadet School in Britain, the School of Infantry at Warminster and the US Army and Missile School, Fortsill, Oklahoma.
He returned to become a mechanical transport officer in the Nigerian Army Supply and Transport Co., at Kaduna between 1961 and 1963 and a battery commander between 1964 and 1966. Immediately before the wai, from September 1966 to May 1967, he was commanding officer of the 5th Battalion in Kano. He was appointed Governor of North Central State in June 1967 when General Gowon created 12 new states. At first he had to do with a makeshift capital in Zaria, 50 miles away, but later moved to Kaduna to Government House, the residence of successive British Chief Commissioners and Governors of the whole North.