Dr. Ado Khalid Abdullahi, the Managing Director of Hadeja Jama’are River Basin Authority (H.JRBDA ) is a scholar who spent about 9 years lecturing at the university, where he earned his PhD, later he moved to the banking sector where he worked for five consecutive years. In the civil service, he spent about 20 years, where he rose to the position of a director at the Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC). In this parley with Blueprint’s Achievers Profile, he narrated how he strive hard and succeeded in modernizing and boosting agricultural services in his present position.
How do you achieve the desired goals of the authority?
When the present government constituted management team on the instruction of the Minister of Water Resources, sometimes in the year 2015, we were set toward addressing the enumerated challenges owing to which we improved the performance and safety of the dams and irrigation schemes, with an increase crop production, job creation and increase public access to portable water as we strive toward: Dam construction and rehabilitation; Irrigation schemes construction and rehabilitation; and improvement of the existing ones, as well as construction of new rural water supply schemes.
What actually instigated your determination to boost agricultural services at H.JRBDA?
Assuming that you inferred that your people are in hunger, while the other neighbouring towns are well fed. Based on this, the moment you find yourself in a position that can give you the impetus to transform the lives of your people, no man with good sense of reasoning will hesitate to do the needful at the right moment.
For the reason stated, I made sure that I tried to introduce all types of irrigation schemes to our people. Like in my area, Maigatari, Jigawa state, the water table is deep, that is why one has to weigh on a scale before venturing into gravity irrigation or using moving wheel machine, and the best option settled is sprinkler and drift system of irrigation. Both systems trickled and drop water at a close range of plant crops.
We conducted a survey, where different systems of irrigation were tested, owing to which our findings noted their viability. But our major concerned at that moment was that the farmland we conducted the scheme actually belong to the farmers and if at all they are allowed to continue working on those farms, there is likelihood of relegating the scheme to the background. So instead of returning the lands to their rightful owners, we divided the land into 40 – 60%; farmers were given 40% of their farmland and compensation for the remaining 60%.
Under your stewardship what are the major achievements?
I, as the Managing Director I work with the management team most whom are executive directors, that is to say, those heading different departments in this authority. Those people are: Abubakar Mohammed I — Executive Director, Engineering, Ma’amun Da’u Aliyu– Executive Director, Agricultural Services; Mohammed Umar Kura — Executive Director, Planning and Design; Mohammed Awwal Wada — Executive Director, Finance and Administration.
Also other staff at lower cadre contributed immensely towards the success of the authority in discharging its responsibilities in the right order. Why am saying all these is that, my stewardship is an era that recognized team work. So we work as a team and achieve a lot within the period under review, that is the year 2015 to 2019. But our major achievements are: Dam stability and safety, owing to which water supply for irrigation and domestic uses has significantly improved. There is an additional 1.3 million cubic meters of water impounded for irrigation and other uses; a total of 4,000 hectares of irrigated land hitherto abandoned due system deterioration, and we are able to reclaim it and put to crop production, whereby about 10,000 farmers bounced back to business.
Also there are additional 350 hectares of potential lands developed for irrigation, whereby about 2,900 direct jobs were created, with a turnover of 12,000 metric tones of food and cash crops production annually.. About 300,000 rural people are provided access to clean water; 50,000 rural people get access to clean water. In fact water supply is restored to 125 rural communities. Thus, crop production worth 952,894 metric tons over the past four is some tangible to write home about.
In a nutshell, our major achievements within the past four years are basically dams construction and rehabilitation, as a result of which the authority is able to revive agricultural services by bouncing farmers back to business in the irrigated areas under its coverage. Apart from direct creation of jobs, the authority is able to provide clean water to the rural communities. I think this a significant achievement that is synonymous with the desired goals of creating the river basin authorities in the whole country.
How do you strive to transform H.JRBDA?
If I get you right, you are talking about a well experienced and just leadership in any organisation. Actually I strived hard to ensure proper utilization of the available funds at our disposal. We are prudent, as we spent within the confine of our budgetary allocation also we started devising means of generating revenue for the authority. This remind me of a friend I encountered who had once asked me whether H.JRBDA money was stolen in the past? May be he was instigated to ask this question having noticed rehabilitation works within the premises of our offices; ongoing works in Kano and Jigawa.
What other things are you doing differently?
Putting agricultural services on a strong footing. This is because we are manning Kano, Jigawa and two-third of Bauchi state. In Bauchi alone we have a potential land for irrigation development worth 240,000 hectares to be candid Hadejia Jama’are is the largest river basin in the country. Indeed if properly utilized, I have the feeling that H.JRBDA is capable of feeding the whole nation.
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
Presently, we are doing a joint venture farming with an investor. We sourced licenses for Mr. Lee, who is currently planting sugarcane. As we continue with this farming project, we may deem it fit to enter into an MOU with investors as to whether we need to indulge in leasing farms or a joint venture that is going to be mutually beneficial to both side.
However, the most important thing is that, I would like to transform our offices into Abuja of Kano (Abujar Kano. We have a very good and well equipped library, ICT centre. Also, I envisaged a situation whereby a president of another country will likely asked for permission from our president to make a site seeing tour of our facility, most especially if his sole aim is to replicate our irrigation farming scheme in his country.
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