The North East Development Commission has been in the news in recent times. And this time around, it is the commendation from the House of Representatives to the management of the North East Development Commission for their due diligence in the execution of projects.
This commendation came after the conclusion of investigations by the House of Representatives over allegations of the misappropriation of one hundred billion naira by the NEDC. This, in my opinion, is a welcome development, and it is expected that those that have been at the vanguard of the mischief would now bury their heads in shame.
As I posited in my previous articles, the NEDC under the leadership of Mohammed Goni Alkali has indeed redefined leadership with the institutional reforms he introduced in the NEDC, especially with the entrenchment of transparency and accountability. As an intervention agency, he could not have done less or thought otherwise because of the issues at stake in North-East Nigeria, occasioned by years of the Boko Haram crisis.
Under him, it wasn’t also business as usual, as projects must be delivered 100% and certified for payment. I knew that some of the actions of the Managing Director would not go down well with those select few who felt entitled to the commonwealth of the people of North-East Nigeria, not minding the untold hardship that the Boko Haram conflict had inflicted on the socio-economic life of the people.
As such, I wasn’t surprised that the well-orchestrated and funded campaign of calumny was launched against the leadership of the NEDC, so much so that the House of Representatives had to launch an investigation into the finances of the NEDC.
The slander campaign failed woefully, with the House of Representatives commending the leadership of the NEDC for embracing due diligence in the execution of projects.
What does this tell us? It tells us that we are in a country where good deeds are not appreciated. When those with a passion to serve come on board, there would always be an attempt to rubbish such individuals, as in the case of Mohammed Goni Alkali.
I am glad that the leadership of the NEDC has been vindicated, as well as the commendation on the emphasis on transparency and accountability in place at the commission.
I must confess at this point that the allegations indeed shook our belief in the integrity of Mohammed Goni Alkali, despite his sterling achievements in the private sector before his appointment.
We are more than grateful that he indeed proved all the mischief-makers wrong by ensuring that the mandate of the NEDC is fulfilled under his watch. I also know that the task of rebuilding North-East Nigeria is a daunting one. The relief for most of us conversant with the wanton destruction in the region is that the NEDC has in its driver seat a purposeful, proactive, and pragmatic leader filled with a passion for serving humanity.
These attributes have resulted in the milestones recorded by the NEDC since its inception. The impact has been felt in critical sectors of the economy of North-East Nigeria, and the people of North-East Nigeria now have a renewed faith in government efforts in alleviating their burden.
The story of the NEDC should serve as a lesson in leadership to other agencies of government, where the interest of the people must guide policy formulation and implementation. Where transparency and accountability must be the watchword, and where those in the position of authority would lead with the fear of God.
Don’t get me wrong; this piece is not about Mohammed Goni Alkali as an individual, but rather as head of a critical government agency that embraces teamwork, respect for processes, and creating an enabling environment for staffers to be productive in the discharge of their duties for the overall benefit of the organisation.
Mohammed Goni Alkali can not run the NEDC in isolation. He cannot implement the objectives of the agency alone. And he alone can’t achieve the mandate without the cooperation of others. And for this commendation to have come the way of the NEDC indicates that leadership and staffers of the agency are on the same page working assiduously for the people of North-East Nigeria.
This is what I call leadership and what is essentially needed in Nigeria at this critical point of our existence. I beg to replicate the words of Peter Drucker, where he posited that “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; results, not attributes define leadership.”
The success story of the NEDC indeed buttresses this point on leadership. In North-East Nigeria, results are all that are needed, and that is what Mohammad Goni Alkali and his management team have been able to bring to the table.
This piece is not to sing his praises but to charge him not to rest on his oars due to the commendation from the House of Representatives. He must realize that uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, and as such, he must be up and doing.
He should see criticism and efforts to discredit him as a part of the job and why he must keep his heads up at all times and fix his gaze at the mandate of the agency, which is to coordinate 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 in Nigeria.
Ahmed, a development expert, writes from Yola, Adamawa state.