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Alkali : Why NEDC is getting it right – By Daniel Enyi

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The Boko Haram conflict in North-East Nigeria indeed came with its attendant consequences that saw countless persons’ death and the destruction of properties and livelihoods worth several billions of naira. The impact of this conflict has left a sour taste in the mouth, which indeed necessitated the establishment of an interventionist agency to address the region’s developmental challenges.

I recall when in 2017 the President signed into law an act establishing the North East Development Commission, it was indeed such an epoch-making event in the sense that the President put the best foot forward towards rebuilding North-East Nigeria in the aftermath of the Boko Haram carnage.

The mission of the NEDC is explicit; lead the reconstruction and development of North-East Nigeria. in my opinion, it was a display of foresight by the President that has indeed delivered on its core mandate as life gradually returns to North-East Nigeria in the past two years of operations.

The NEDC is charged with the responsibility to, “among other things, receive and manage funds from allocation of the Federal Account, international donors for the settlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of insurgency as well as tackling the menace of poverty, illiteracy level, ecological problems and any other related environmental or developmental challenges in the North-East states.

Having such a mandate, the question of who drives such an interventionist agency’s operations comes to mind. And this is where the President got it right in Mohammed Goni Alkali’s appointment as the Managing Director/CEO in January 2019. I recall that the appointment was indeed received with mixed feelings in the polity, in the sense that stakeholders wanted to know him and his capacity to deliver on a mandate as critical as driving the reconstruction and development of North-East Nigeria.

Mohammed Goni Alkali didn’t not only silence the concerned stakeholders with a rich resume; he also availed them a track record of exceptional public service career. For the records, the Managing Director/CEO is a first-class degree holder in Accountancy from Bayero University, Kano. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from London School of Economics at the University of London, United Kingdom.

He is an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School, Harvard University; the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago; and the Columbia Business School at the Columbia University.

The case of the NEDC has somewhat proven different from other interventionist agencies in the country through the leadership style introduced by Mohammed Goni Alkali. One thing has remained constant; There has been a consistent drive towards achieving its core mandate in rebuilding North East Nigeria that had suffered phenomenal destruction since 2009 when the Boko Haram group began its violent campaign against Nigeria. Mohammed Goni Alkali is not just leading; he is leading with tangible examples that spelt out the role of vision and purpose and transparency and accountability in achieving set objectives.

Some of us in the knowledge of his pedigree knew that it would only be a matter of time before Nigerians would realize the full potentials of Mohammed Goni Alkali. Little wonder that in less than two years, the impact of the NEDC in North-East Nigeria remains phenomenal. The NEDC has remained focused and has churned out developmental programmes that have impacted life in North-East, Nigeria.

It suffices to add that for an interventionist agency such as this, the entrenchment of transparency in its operations remains the cardinal rule. This much has been witnessed in the NEDC with Mohammed Goni Alkali taking the lead. His appointment is a clear demonstration of a round peg in a round hole. As pioneer MD of the agency, he understands that so much will depend on him for the agency’s future and why he has set the rules straight from the word go.

In my opinion, Mohammed Goni Alkali understands that every single penny allocated to the agency must be used for the benefit of the people. With him, there is no such thing as contract  padding as everything must go through due process and must be accounted for. This much has been said about him by staffers who are never in short supply of praises for his leadership style.

From host communities to stakeholders, the story is the same. The song is constant on how Mohammed Goni Alkali is leading a revolution in rebuilding efforts in North-East Nigeria. for example, The Nigerian Senate Committee on Special Duties recently commended the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) for its “outstanding performance” in the area of humanitarian intervention.

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Special Duties, Sen. Yusuf, gave the commendation when he led a delegation on a three-day oversight function to appraise the Commission’s one-year performance in Maiduguri. He said, “The NEDC is a baby of the federal government; it is just one year, but it has performed tremendously well in the past year; especially in the area of humanitarian intervention.”

The Senate’s commendation is just one from the array of recognition that has come the way of the NEDC since inception. I recall that numerous local and international groups have undertaken studies on the NEDC model as a panacea for development. This is commendable and an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari indeed got it right with the quality of appointment at the NEDC which from all indication would be different from other interventionist agencies in the country that got it wrong from the foundation.

He is also setting the pace in terms of administration as numerous accounts indicate that the NEDC boss has put in place mechanisms that ensure that the agency’s staffers deliver best results at every given time. In the NEDC, hard work is considered a norm in such a manner that the work atmosphere is always charged due to the level of activities ongoing simultaneously while making sure everything is in the right position.

And the results have been glaring and as well as impressive. I consequently wish to state that this piece is intended to challenge other public office holders towards the entrenchment of transparency in their operations using the NEDC model.

Mohammed Alkali remains my man any day with his passionate approach in the administration of the NEDC. He might not be that loud as others would want him to given his efforts so far. However, one thing you can’t take away from him is the fact that he knows his onions, and he is passionate about achieving results.

His penchant for results would ultimately translate to laying a solid foundation for an agency as critical as the NEDC. He is also conscious that how well the NEDC performs in the future regarding fulfilling its mandate would be determined by his performance as the pioneer managing director.

I am glad that this is happening at the NEDC. Without mincing words, I commend the stewardship of Mohammed Goni Alkali in the NEDC so far. I am not in doubt that there would be more remarkable results in the years ahead. I can only solicit that all the stakeholders in North-East Nigeria extend their support to him as he delivers on the mandate of rebuilding North-East Nigeria.

Enyi wrote this piece from Yola, Adamawa State.

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Group Hails NPHCDA Over Arrival, Distribution And Administration Of Covid-19 Vaccines

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The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy (NVVAA) has commended the management of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the seamless arrival, distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines across the nation.

The group, in a statement by its Secretary-General, Akor Oche, on Monday, said the agency has displayed a high sense of transparency and accountability so much so that Nigerians should expect the safety of the vaccines upon administration.

Following the arrival of the first batch of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in the country, the NPHCDA began the massive roll out on Friday with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo subsequently receiving their first jabs.

By setting up a website for Nigerians to register, the NVVAA noted that the health agency eradicated all forms of encumbrances that would have marred the successful rollout of the vaccines.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy, however, called on members of the general public to extend their support to the NPHCDA by disregarding the narratives against the suitability of the vaccine for humans.

On its part, the group urged the NPHCDA not to relent in the task of ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated in the coming months.

Read the full statement below:

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy is issuing this press statement to commend the management of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) on the arrival and subsequent distribution and administration of the AstraZeneca COVID 19 Vaccine across the country.

It is indeed commendable that the NPHCDA put in motion mechanisms that ensure that all states of the federation receive their doses of the vaccine in a timely and orderly manner that remains a disconnect from the norm whereby exercises such as this are always marred by poor logistics arrangements.

The NPHCDA has by its actions in recent times displayed a high sense of transparency and accountability so much so that Nigerians should expect the safety of the vaccines upon administration.

It is thus the considered opinion of the National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy that meeting the various timelines from the arrival to the country and its subsequent rollout is indicative of the sustainable efforts of the NPHCDA towards ensuring that the vaccines are safe for humans, as well as ensuring that there is an equitable distribution across the country.

It is also commendable that the NPCHDA opened an online registration platform for Nigerians to register for vaccination. This is indeed an exemplary display of foresight by the management of the NPHCDA in the sense that it has successfully eradicated all forms of encumbrances that would have marred the successful rollout of the vaccines in Nigeria.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy calls on members of the general public to extend their support to the NPHCDA by disregarding the narratives against the suitability of the vaccine for humans.

It also states that with the level of expertise displayed by the NPHCDA, Nigerians should be assured that there shall be equitable distribution of vaccines across the country and all Nigerians regardless of their status in the society shall be vaccinated in record time subject to availability.

Nigerians are also enjoined to continue to support the efforts of the government towards ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated in the race to put COVID 19 behind us as quickly as possible.

We also encourage the leadership of the NPHCDA not to relent in the task of ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated as the vaccines become available in large quantities in the coming months.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy as a critical stakeholder in the country is pledging its continuous support to the NPHCDA in ensuring that the vaccination programme is successfully implemented across the country.

The NPHCDA has indeed displayed exemplary service to Nigeria and it behoves all mischief makers to desist from spreading negative information with regards to the safety of the COVID 19 vaccines been administered in Nigeria.

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BREAKING: Fire Breaks Out In Aso Rock

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A fire outbreak has been reported at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja, causing confusion among workers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s abode, SaharaReporters reports.

It was learnt that the fire started at 4 pm as the fire service officials tried desperately to put it out.

“The security men were chasing people not to capture the incident, but I tried my best to capture it. The fire is still on,” a source disclosed around 9 pm.

Although the cause of the fire is not yet known, fire service trucks have moved in and were seen in the villa.

More details soon….

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We Won’t Allow Hijab In Kwara Mission Schools, CAN Insists

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The Christian Association of Nigeria in Kwara State has insisted that it will not allow its pupils to wear hijab, despite the Kwara State Government’s directive that Muslim female pupils in Christian mission schools should wear hijab.

The state government, last week, said it had approved wearing of hijab by Muslim female pupils in Christian mission grant-aided schools in the state.

It also said the 10 Christian mission schools closed down in the wake of the hijab crisis would be reopened on Monday, March 8.

However, the state branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria said it would not agree to the use of hijab in schools established by Christian missions, alleging that they were surprised that the government was trying to make a decision on a matter that was still before the Supreme Court.

CAN said, “The body condemns the use of hijab in Christian missions grant-aided schools as this will cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards.”

Two missions, Evangelical Church Winning All and the Kwara Baptist Conference, said they would not allow the wearing of hijab in their respective schools when the schools reopen on Monday.

The leadership of ECWA said it would not welcome the directive in all its schools in the state.

The Chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, Rev John Owoeye, who spoke at a press conference in Ilorin on Friday, said ECWA schools were established by Christian missionaries for purposes of reaching communities with the love of Christ and to meet educational needs of the indigenes irrespective of religious affiliations, among other reasons.

The ECWA church leaders, who demanded return of ECWA schools to them, said since 1974 when there was agreement on collaboration between the state government and the proprietor for the school to be grant-aided schools, “the policy has never been total takeover of our schools by the government.”

Owoeye, who said Christians are bona fide citizens of the state, added, “We have equal rights under the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He argued that the government was aware that Christian Religious Knowledge teachers were not posted to Muslim grant-aided schools and that the gathering of Fellowship of Christian Students was not allowed in Muslim grant-aided schools.

“Similarly, we want the government to be informed that her decision and plan to provide hijab and enforce its use in our Christian mission grant-aided schools will not be tolerated as it is an infringement on our freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria,” he said.

Also, the President of Kwara Baptist Conference, Rev Victor Dada, in a separate press conference, said the mission would not allow the use of hijab in its 38 schools across the state, adding that the government was wrongly advised in taking the decision.

Dada argued that the state government took a wrong decision by its blanket approval of wearing of hijab for female pupils in mission schools.

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“The state government was wrongly advised to take that decision. The state even acted in contempt of court as the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.

“We want to warn the government that the step it wants to take by approving the use of hijab for all public schools and grant-aided schools in the state will lead to an avalanche of reactions, the end of which no one can predict.

“With this move, the state government is saying the Muslims’ purported rights are superior to those of the Christians.

“What we are saying is that no one, whether the Kwara State Government or even the Federal Government, can force hijab on our children or in our schools. We shall not hesitate to use all legitimate means to protect our heritage. We will defend our faith and protect our property.”

Meanwhile, Muslim stakeholders in the state have urged the state government to stand by the rule of law in taking a final decision on the hijab issue.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Is-haq AbdulKarim; and Secretary, Professor Ibrahim Abikan, the Muslim Stakeholders said the state branch of CAN, which engaged the state government in a legal battle over the issue of ownership of the grant-aided schools since 2013 lost its two cases in Ilorin High Court in 2016 and the Court of Appeal in 2019.

In a related development, Chairman, Kwara State branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Olu Adewara, said the union was not part of the hijab crisis currently going on in the state.

The NUT Chairman, Adewara, told reporters, “The hijab matter is basically an issue between the government, the Muslim parents and the owners of these schools, regardless that such schools are grant-aided by the government. The NUT is not involved because this is not a matter bordering on teachers’ rights.”

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