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NEDC and the exemplary ambiences of TheleadersNG’s award

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By Wisdom Okoh

Soon, Nigerians will rollout drums to celebrate one unique agency of the federal government which has distinguished itself outstandingly in public leadership.

TheLeaderNG, an online media platform and, high profile experts in development journalism, who are the publishers of the www.theleaderng.com will celebrate the North East Development Commission (NEDC) for its iconic footprints in public space.

The commission, newly established by the FGN is mandated to cushion the effects of insurgency in the Northeast region. The NEDC has discharged this onerous responsibility with an uncommon zeal, determination and explosively, which has earned it, the rare award soon to be conferred on it by TheLeaderNG in the next few days.

A letter communicating this cheering news to the NEDC management, signed by Mr. Mohammed Basah, the innovative media platform stated that its “Diligence Council” unanimously voted the NEDC as the “Public Agency of the Year,” for the assessment Year 2021 because it impressively and astoundingly delivered on its mandate to the people.

The letter of award transmitted to the commission read in part, “…the North East Development Commission (NEDC) under your able watch in the face of a seemingly insurmountable charge by President Muhammadu Buhari, and how you have gone about the task with surgical precision to exceed reasonable expectations of stakeholders, has been adjudged as an exemplary performer in delivering public and services. Our assessment of the NEDC against others showed 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.”

Very 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. 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 unrewardingly. In spite of this subsisting challenge, heads of some of these MDAs have really distinguished themselves in public leadership. A notable example is the newly established North East Development Commission (NEDC), merely above two years of existence.

The operations of the NEDC fully commenced in 2019. And in slightly above two years, the NEDC has demonstrated itself as an agency which has overpowered the Nigeria’s regressive cancer and exculpated itself from the cultured setbacks of non-performing federal agencies.

No one in Nigeria can dispute that nursing an agency of government from scratch to fruition and to the extent of registering bold imprints in its sphere of jurisdiction is a herculean task. Nigerians have experienced such federal government intervention agencies in the country and the mess some of them have posted in national psyche. That’s why national development competitively eludes the citizenry on a broad scale.

However, the shining example of the NEDC is a reference point in Nigeria’s recent history. As an agency charged with the humanitarian-inclined responsibility of bringing succour to the distraught, distressed and traumatized people in the Northeast region, ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency for over a decade, all eyes were set on the agency to assess its positive manifestations. Some with sinister intentions even threw maliciously distractive and bruising darts at the NEDC management.

But it never deterred the commission’s management which is always conscious of its supreme mandate mainly as reducing or completely eradicating the impact of the multi-faceted humanitarian crises in the Northeast generated by the multi-dimensional destructions of public infrastructures, orchestrated and sustained by insurgency. The commission also recognized itself as pillar of the peace-building, reconciliation and de-radicalization agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government in complementary roles of fighting the final blight of terrorism in the region.

Nonetheless, and in spite of the initial public skepticisms, the NEDC’s Managing Director, Alhaji Mohammed Goni Alkali and his management team have surprised Nigerians. NEDC operations commenced in 2019, with the initial grant of a paltry N10 billion from the FGN. And in less than a year of its operations, the global coronavirus pandemic struck and Nigeria was adversely affected by it, and the commission inclusive.

But pleasurably, the NEDC has effectively executed its mandate in mollifying ambiences to the people. More exciting, its exemplary performance has caught the attention of the international bodies, including the World Bank which have are already partnering with the commission in bettering the humanitarian crisis in the Northeast region.

And despite the hard hit on the economy, NEDC pulled itself from such entanglements to reach out to distraught people in the 112 LGAs and 1,028 council wards of the Northeast region. It’s a rare feat, especially, if gleaned from the reality that the NEDC management refused to be tethered to the obstacles and leeches of take-off, as peculiar with most new national establishments, as known in Nigeria.

And today, Nigerians particularly, the targeted population in the Northeast is beaming with smiles of a better life because NEDC has through specialized training, tutored the people on how to detonate terrorists discreetly planted and unexploded landmines in their communities. It is no longer a job abandoned to the Nigerian Military alone, which is grimly fighting to blight the final fires of the cursed jihadists bloody campaigners in the region.

Through, the commission’s ambitious policy of Multisectoral Crisis Recovery Project (MCRP), actively backed by the World Bank, the NEDC is vigorously pursuing its agenda of sponsorship of education for youths of the region. It has berthed it through yearly scholarship grants in diverse areas of academic studies from first to doctor of philosophy (Ph.D) degrees under the Education Endowment Fund project in the region.

The NEDC has also impacted in the areas of drinking water and sanitation facilities in states of the Northeast and other humanitarian reliefs projects ensconced in the “Rapid Response Intervention’s” (RRI) supportive schemes in the region. Through it, the commission has boldly deployed its relief weapons in agriculture, resolving the challenge of massive hunger and starvation in states of the Northeast ravaged by Boko Haram terrorism.

Therefore, its “Integrated Agriculture Programme,’ (IAP) supplies agricultural machinery or equipment, agrochemicals, fertilizers, seeds and extension service logistics vehicles to boost all categories of agricultural activities. And from every indication, soonest, the Northeast would overcome the problem of hunger/starvation caused by insurgency through investments in the farming skills of individual families at the expense of the commission’s funds.

The entire world has become digital and its one of the empowerments of humanity opposed by the ideology of Boko Haram. To splash mud on the faces of insurgents and their sponsors, NEDC has introduced and upgraded training and updating of Information Communication Technology (ICT) talents of young Nigerian Northeasterners to explore the globe.

NEDC is also actively assisting the Nigerian military in its operations with operational vehicles and logistics. The commission has also keyed into the De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) Programme of the Nigerian Military tagged “Operation Safe Corridor” (OSC) domiciled at Malam-Sidi, in Gombe State.

With this surfeit of accomplishments, TheLeaderNG’s boss Mr. Basah exclaimed in utter amazement, the continuously resonated glories of the NEDC thus; “This award puts the NEDC on a pedestal as a model for other public institutions to emulate in building a new Nigeria of our dreams with a diversified economic base away from the overdependence….”

No doubt and even to the blind, the NEDC has been able to enthrone good governance in line with its mandate, by radiantly invading the humanitarian segment of crises in Nigeria’s public domain. The NEDC truly deserves this converted and highly priced award from TheLeaderNG.

Wisdom Okoh wrote this piece from
Abuja.

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