Lt. Col. Aminu Isah Kontagora was born on April 20, 1956 at Shadadi Village in Kurnmashi District of present day Mariga Local Government of Niger State. He was born into the family of Isah and Hadiza Goje. It would appear that destiny conferred leadership on him right from birth as he was born the first of thirteen children.
Though from a Moslem family, young Aminu Isah had the benefit of broad-minded parents who sent him to a Christian institution for his primary education. He was enrolled into St. Michael's Catholic Primary School, Kontagora in 1963 and graduated in 1969. This early exposure to both Islamic and Christian religions gave him a rare opportunity to imbibe the best of both religions which has had a lasting influence on his life.
After his primary school, Aminu Isah gained admission into Government College, Kaduna in 1970 where he completed his secondary education in 1974. While in the college, he became attracted to the military and consequently on graduation, he applied to the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. He was accepted and underwent training at the end of which he received his commission into the Nigerian Army as second lieutenant in 1977.
As a commissioned officer, Aminu Isah Kongagora has made steady career progress. Rising from second lieutenant to full lieutenant in December 1978. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in December 1982 and became a Major in December 1987. He attained his present rank of lieutenant colonel in January 1993. Besides his foundation training at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Lt. Col. Kontagora has received further professional military training as an artillery officer at various institutions in Nigeria and abroad. He attended the Air Defence Platoon Commanders' Course at the Air Defence School, Mari in former USSR in 1979. He also attended the Young Officers' Course at the Nigerian Army School of Artillery in 1980.
Other courses he attended include the Artillery Staff Officers' Course at the Nigerian Army School of Artillery, Gunnery Staff Course, Air Defence and Guided Missiles School, Gopaipur, India and Range Management Course at Jaji in 1984.
Having acquired some of the best training required of any artillery officer, Aminu Isah Kontagora proceeded to the Command and Staff College, Jaji in 1993 from where he graduated in 1994 with top honours and was awarded psc. His outstanding performance and tract record of excellence on previous military assignments informed his choice to join the directing staff of the college, which earned him the symbol psc(+). It was this position that he held until his appointment as the Military Administrator of Benue State on August 14, 1996.
Lt. Col. Kontagora is married to Hajiya Maimuna Bawa and they have children.