The ardent belief in the axiom that being called a great leader, means excellent leadership or an approval of a stream of success which falls prostrate before facts, transparency, and a magnanimous expression of humanity, can be juxtaposed with the exemplary life of the current managing director of the North-east Development Commission (NEDC), Mohammed Alkali Goni.
Away from the positive media sensationalism surrounding his personality, Alkali can easily be described as a man with the heart of gold. His disposition to work is the perfect explanation of a round peg in a round hole. President Muhammadu Buhari had conceived the idea of the NEDC to reconstruct the North-east. More commendable is the realisation that an interventionist agency like the NEDC needs more than an iron hand to make things work. It requires a combination of many things. Mr President perfect pick of Mohammed Akali has been justified in eyes of everyone in accordance to the results gotten through his leadership of the NEDC so far.
Akali is a man who will stop at nothing to see to the reconstruction of the North-east and executing the mandate of the commission to the letter. Overtime, his penchant for humanity has undoubtedly placed him above his contemporaries. His contemporaries are always bemused at his patriotic zeal to succeed at all cost in his endeavours. He is saddled with many complex responsibilities, task, and relationships with other bodies in the North-east. Overtime, the challenges, and human-factor relationship management may understandably poke his anger, definitely no boss of his ilk will take the frustrations with a smile, but his indignation comes on the heels of what could be describe as an “in-house,” interaction with his team over coming up with peaceful executable successful strategies. While it may be true that security is perhaps today the biggest single issue that faces the Northeast, it is incorrect to say that the security situation in Nigeria has continued to worsen, thanks to the commitment of Akali.
The results from the intervention on the execution of the many NEDC plans have obviously interpreted that, the crisis in North-East Nigeria that came with its attendant gory loss of lives, destruction of valuable properties and displacement of thousands of people has been greatly managed and subdued, leaving its after effects less visible. Further relief that was experienced in the North-east was as a result of the magnanimous reconstruction, and progressive decision implementation made by the NEDC in the coordinating, harmonising, and overseeing the success of many intervention and initiative programmes. The NEDC has been able to successfully achieve the mandate handed over to it under the leadership of its sagacious chairman, Mohammed Alkali.
A scrutinised assessment of the NEDC against others has shown that the NEDC over all, has been an exemplary model of transparency and probity, while building a world class intervention agency with visible and measurable impact on the citizenry. Many Nigerians are unaware that the country bask in over 500 Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) of government mandated with various responsibilities to make life more meaningful for Nigerians or serve as a bridge between the masses and the government. But to assert that countless MDAs hardly make impacts on public challenges is stating the obvious. Most often, those mandated to lead these MDAs turn themselves into siphoning pipes for personal enrichment. Many are also enmeshed in playing politics and fraternising with political opponents of the present administration in heating the polity in Nigeria at the detriment of uniting the country. The chief executives or heads of some of these agencies of government even dread accountability or cringe at the mere mention of anti-graft agencies or oversight functions by National parliamentarians. Therefore, many of them exists only for the purpose of expending national resources selfishly and unrewardingly.
In spite of this subsisting challenges, heads of some of these MDAs have really distinguished themselves in public leadership. A notable example is the NEDC, merely above four years of existence. Nonetheless, and in spite of the initial public skepticisms, Alkali and his management team have surprised Nigerians beyond expectations. His performance in NEDC had spoken volumes of a man of integrity and impeccable character.
Since its inauguration, the NEDC has been cumbered with the responsibilities of receiving and properly allocating funds from the Federal Government and International donors for the reduction of unemployment, alleviation of poverty, provision of Basic Education, construction of roads and settlements, providing care to victims of terrorism and other challenges faced in the North-Eastern States which include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gomeb, Taraba and Yobe states. The NEDC under the leadership of Alkali has successfully executed all of these with outstanding success. We are all aware of the many challenges the North-east is faced with. It can only take a man who is an adept problem solver and critical thinker to spearhead a commission designed to tackle all of those challenges. Only a man that strong-willed, and not moved by ethnic bigotry, or political and religion discrepancies can handle a sensitive commission as the NEDC.
I dare to say that in the history of the democratic dispensation in Nigeria, I do not think there has been a personality, or head of any commission that has this much demonstrated an unalloyed commitment to the development, restructuring, and as well as the security of lives and properties. Having gone about the commission task with surgical precision to exceed reasonable expectations, he has therefore been adjudged as an exemplary performer in delivering public services, and positively weaponizing transparency as a tool for fighting corruption in NEDC.
Akali, through his humanitarian goodwill, is known to be supportive and resilient to get things done by looking into improving and empowering areas of focus, needing every tool or mechanism to give the people of the Northeastern state the best results.
It is no news that Alkali being the MD of NEDC has relentlessly prioritised his engagement in the resettlement, rehabilitation, integration and reconstruction of infrastructure for victims of terrorism as well as tackling the menace of poverty, illiteracy, ecological challenges in the North-Eastern states and other related matter.
He his a game changer that has helped filled every perforation found in the body of the North-east existing peace and unity. Being a father, husband, and a Leader figure, he remains the only special one with a kind heart that perfectly understands the plight of the victims of insurgency.
I’m very sure that his presence is a continuous jubilation in the camp of the NEDC and Northeastern states, because, a rare gem like Mohammed Alkali only shows up once in every century, no other Alkali, just this one.
John writes from Abuja.