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Personality in Focus

Marwa: Birthday Tribute to an Enigma

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By Femi Babafemi

The danger of writing a tribute to any high profile personality in Nigeria today is obvious: the writer runs the risk of being misrepresented as a political praise singer, or at times, time and tide can cast him as a bootlicker, especially, if the subject of his adulation suffers a reversal of fortune, materially or reputation-wise. But with Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), OFR, you can safely write an eulogy because, you can be sure that ten years later, his stock will remain bullish. So, as he clocks 68 today, September 9, 2021, any piece of writing about him is no piece of sophistry because Marwa has been as constant as the Northern Star in the affairs of leadership, as he is presently exhibiting as the Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, where his exploits are making leadership such a fine art that gladdens the hearts of many Nigerians and international partners in this unending season of anomie.

Indeed, to those who know him up close and personal, Marwa is an enigma: humble, self-effacing, industrious, practical, efficient by nature, diligent, always thinking about things he needs to accomplish or how to get ahead on his next assignment, a complete Virgo, if you care to assess him by his Zodiac sign. But in plain terms, he is a case of a man who set out to always make a difference wherever he found himself. Not the kind of difference other men pursue to grandstand, but the type that impacts humanity and makes life easier for people. And of this, his track record is unassailable.

A look back at his trajectory gives a chronicle of exemplary service to the country and a profile of pure patriotism from an individual. He could have chosen to live his life as an ordinary soldier, or at best be content with his name in the history book as one of the ‘boys’ of military maximum rulers. But he chose a different road to travel. Borno State remembers him as the military governor who gave them peace and security at a perilous time when rebels from Chad were raiding Nigerian border communities, not unlike the ravage of Boko Haram and bandits across today’s Nigeria. A practical Marwa had shown the necessity of firm action in such grave matters by birthing Operation Yaki, a combined Joint Task Force of military formation, and in few months reined in the Bandidos from across the border, making his territory safe and secure. Lagos State also remembers him as a hero, for bringing sanity, order, peace, progress to an otherwise, chaotic near-dystopic state, groping and groaning under the siege of local and transnational robbers. Col. Marwa solved the Gordian knot with Operation Sweep. Now at the NDLEA, it is too early to talk about the Marwa Revolution, but he has orchestrated a turnaround that signals a rebirth of the anti-narcotic agency at a time when the country needs to escalate its fight against illicit drugs.
For Marwans, his exploit did not come as a surprise. Everywhere he has served, he has always left indelible marks and his first six months in the NDLEA has brought the agency from relegation and obscurity to the frontline position that has attracted both local and international partnerships. His leadership at the NDLEA is refreshing to the collective psyche of Nigerians and a loud rebuttal to the tribe of pessimists, locally and globally, who cling to the odious belief that Nigerians are incapable of effective leadership.

Thunder, it is said, doesn’t strike twice; well, in the case of Marwa, it strikes repeatedly. Nigerians used to think the height of his service was Lagos, with what is unreeling in the NDLEA, Marwa’s leadership magnum opus is perhaps yet to come. The cynical assumption that his achievements in Lagos were due to the military ecosystem of the time has fallen flat like a pack of cards with the ongoing transformation of the NDLEA. Out of Khaki, garbed in Babanriga, Marwa has been able to transmit military’s discipline, purpose-driven action and go-getting attitude to the workforce of a paramilitary organisation operating in a laissez-faire society. How he did it, is, again, the stuff of leadership.

Yet, if Borno and Lagos seem a distant memory, here before us, is what is fast becoming a locus classicus of leadership, this rejuvenation of NDLEA, which stands in sharp relief against the backdrop of the insecurity in the country. He has been one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s best appointments thus far.

Without any doubt, there is a swell in the number of students of the Marwa School of Leadership. The younger generation, who only heard of his exploits of yesteryears are now seeing evidence of management skill, and are paying attention to the lessons therein.
Right before their eyes, Marwa is teaching the anatomy of how to make an organisation relevant. Previously, NDLEA was down in the sinkhole of obscurity, but Marwa engineered a resurgence that has seen the Agency basking in the limelight for its record-breaking achievement. 8,634 arrests. 1,630 convictions. Over two million kilograms of drugs seized. Over N100 billion in cash and drugs seized. And the officers and men of the NDLEA are still rearing to go. What magic? No, magic, but a prudent application of management principles from the master of the game.

Marwa is also teaching the mechanics of how to win support for a cause as he continues to crisscross the length and breadth of Nigeria talking to communities and their leaders, about the imperative of joining forces to defeat the twin evils of illicit drug abuse and trafficking. And he’s doing a good job at it.
Another lesson from him is that thorny problems should be approached with offensive campaigns (like he has done with the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA initiative and Operation Offensive Action), motivated workforces and strategic alliance with critical partners.

Today, he stands tall as a colossus, one of Nigeria’s emblems of capable leadership, an amalgam of the best of Harvard education, Nigeria’s military capabilities, and the virtues of a Nigerian. Far removed from the tribal sentiment that is fast gaining root in the country, his cosmopolitan outlook has won him friends from North, West, South and East of Nigeria, and a firm recognition as a one-of-a-kind pan-Nigerian leader.

As he clocks 68 today, Nigerians including myself have only prayers, plenty of prayers for him, wishing him many happy returns, and wishing to continue to see him in leadership positions where he can better improve the lot of the citizenry of this country.

Femi Babafemi is NDLEA’s Director of Media & Advocacy

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Personality in Focus

Eminent Personalities Present As Barr Ubani Gives Dad Befitting Burial in Abia

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All roads led to Abia state last weekend in celebration of the life and times of Pa Ubani Egbedubi Nwokocha, the late father of respected lawyer, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani who had passed away aged 101 on 3rd January, 2022. It was a carnival-like event for the entire Ikwuano community which trooped out to welcome the hundreds of eminent personalities who visited the town from different parts of the country.

The Christian Wake, Funeral Service, Thanksgiving service and interment turned out to be a massive celebration for the Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani.

He was pleasantly amazed and elated by the huge number of personalities that despised the distance and road network to celebrate with him.

In his letter of condolence earlier, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR extolled the late father, Pa Ubani Egbedubi Nwokocha and prayed for the entire family.

The Senate Chief Whip and former governor of Abia State, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu; Honourable Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Uche Samson Ogah; Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Engr. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji; Ebonyi Guber aspirant, Dr. Ifeanyi Odii; Sen. Nkechi Nwogu; Dr. Chima Anyaso led other politicians to the funeral ceremony.

Also present at the ceremony were clergymen, traditional rulers, and community leaders. Being a member of the Bar himself, Dr. Ubani had Barr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, among other SANs and many other advocates including Barr. Charles Ajiboye in attendance. Members of the 4th estate and delegate members of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP led by the National President and Publisher of Trek Africa Newspaper, Comrade Oki Samson also graced the event. Popular gospel artiste, Buchi and other Christian bands were also present to thrill the audience to worship songs in honor of the Giver of Life, Almighty God.

Being an only son, Dr. Monday Ubani could not hide his joy for God giving him life to succeed his father. He reveled with delight, jumped for joy, sang happily, danced freely, and beamed with smiles throughout the celebration. The teeming personalities present also joined him to make merry. It was indeed a life well lived.

Speaking with Members of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP during the celebration, Honourable Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Dr. Uchechukwu Samson Ogah said that Barrister Monday Ubani is a brother to him and not just a friend. ‘We have come of age together. The death of his father is like the death of my own father, so we are here to give our father a befitting burial. Ubani is affected directly but we that are by the side are equally affected. Anybody consoling Ubani should also console us. We are all connected. I want to ask that as a Christian, Ubani should always believe that on the last day, he will meet again his father because a Christian does not die; a Christian sleeps waiting for the last day when the Lord will come. So we believe Pa Ubani has slept waiting on the arrival of the Lord.’

In the light of the degrading societal values, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development advised parents, ‘People tend to leave their responsibility to government. The integral part of society is family but overtime family values have gone. People are no longer having the values that are expected. We knew the do’s and don’ts when we were growing but it seems over familiarity with Western societies has made us to lose values but we have values and those values must be trained right from the family, church before the general society. We need to look at what we can do to improve the society. We need to go back to the drawing board.

The elites in the society have a role to play, Paul in the Bible said all things are lawful but not all are expedient. There are things you don’t do because you know younger ones are looking at you. I believe everyone has a part to play. We need to talk to our younger ones about a better way to live in the society.’

The Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Engr Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, during his condolence visit, described the deceased as a man who was reputed for his philanthropy, integrity, peaceful disposition and stellar achievements.

“Pa Egbedubi Nwokocha was an honorable man; his dedication and contribution to the service of humanity was remarkable, and his meekness, calm demeanor and benevolence have left an indelible mark in the sands of time. I urge you to take heart and be consoled by the fact that he lived a long and productive life”, the Speaker said.

He prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest.

Felicitating with the family, Dr. Anthony Ewelike noted: ‘There is nothing that anyone can desire than to have a son that can give you a befitting burial like this at 101. The son ensured that, the father found Christ before he found death. I have known his son, Barr. Ubani himself for more than 40 years.

He is my personal lawyer. He is my friend. He is like a son to me. More importantly, he is a committed, thoroughbred, born again child of God. He is a deacon in the Assemblies of God Church, Ikeja where I worship. We are all here, Pastors and deacons.’

On her part, Sen. Nkechi Nwogu shared: ‘My advice to the family especially Dr. Ubani is for him to take heart. Death is an inevitable end. Papa got up to 101. I want to age healthily and gracefully like him. I want to advice that the thing that had always kept unity, they must not deviate from it and from what Papa has done. My advice to other parents is that we are custodians to our children. We didn’t bring them to earth. The Lord asked us to take care of these children. We will give account.’

Also in attendance, the clergyman in the church that Barr. Ubani attends in Lagos, Rev. Uche Godswill affirmed: ‘Barr. Ubani is a wonderful person. He is my member, friend, brother, and adviser. From all indications, Pa Nwokocha has lived a good life. God has blessed the family. He is the only son but he has given birth to many sons. We pray that God will give them the grace to keep the legacy of goodness and goodwill that the father left.’

A learned colleague, Barr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN prayed for the soul of the departed, ‘May the blessed soul of Pa Ubani rest in peace. He lived an exemplary life, a life that sought after God and I think that is one of the most important aspects of the life that he lived that we should emulate.’

‘We are not here to mourn but to celebrate his life. We are also comforted by the Scripture that says pleasing is the death of the saint. We are commanded by the Scripture that we should not mourn like others. Together with Papa, we will live together in eternity. I condole with the family. There is enough comfort in the Scripture’, he told the family.

Royal fathers present at the ceremony also prayed for the family. HRH Eze Dr. Ndimene remarked: ‘The loss of one person will definitely affect a community, especially an elderly. The most important thing is peace. The family should make sure the peace is kept – the peace that their father left behind.’

HRH Eze Ben from the Ikwuano Council of Traditional Rulers commented: ‘Pa Ubani must have lived a good and decent life. I didn’t know him very well but for the display here, I can say he lived a good life. My advice to the son who is my legal adviser is to be strong and courageous. When Moses died, Joshua was afraid but God came to Joshua in Joshua 1:5,7,9 telling him to be strong and courageous. That is my message to him.’

HRH Eze C. E. Ironsi, Awom II of Umuokoro noted: ‘I don’t know him in person but we have come to condole with the son. We ask the Holy Spirit to take control.’ HRH Eze Engr. Obiziala said: ‘we have come to associate with the family from under the umbrella of Ikwuano traditional rulers. May they enjoy peace.’ Another Eze also at the reception added: ‘I have come here with my friends who know the family. May the Almighty be with his soul’.

Earlier, President of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP, Comrade Oki Samson, who spoke on behalf of the members of the association during the burial reception, commended Dr. Monday Ubani for his selfless service and contribution to the Nation, philanthropic gestures to the less privileges and giving his father a befitting carnival like burial.

In his appreciation to all present at the funeral ceremony of his father, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani indicated: ‘I must tell you that I am amazed by the large turnout of Nigerians from all walks of life, we have politicians, religious leaders, lawyers, traditional rulers, who have come to commiserate with the family. I am so grateful to God for the number of Nigerians, it was so big.’

‘To God be the glory. it is a lesson to me that whatever you are doing, people are watching. My desire is that I leave a lasting legacy. It is a privilege to do this. I am very grateful’, he concluded.

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Personality in Focus

CSP Adejobi Confirmed As Substantive Force PRO

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The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has confirmed the appointment of CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi as the 25th indigenous Force Public Relations Officer.

A statement by the Admin Officer, Force Headquarters, SP Anjuguri Jesse Manzah, noted that CSP Adejobi was appointed in acting capacity on 16th February, 2022 after taking over from CP Frank Mba who was nominated by the Inspector-General of Police for the Senior Executive Course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos.

CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi studied Archeology and Geography (Combined Honours) from the Premier University in Nigeria, University of Ibadan. He holds a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the same University. He had a long stint as Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun State Police Command from 2008 -2016. He also served as PPRO Zone 2 Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos, in 2016 and PPRO, Lagos State Police Command between September, 2020 and August, 2021, when he was posted to deputize the former Force PRO, CP Frank Mba. CSP Adejobi has carved a niche for himself in Police Public Relations Management with the experience he has gained serving as PPRO in different Police Commands and Zone for more than a decade.

He has also served as Operations Officer, OC Anti Bank Robbery and Anti Pipeline Vandalization, Sagamu Division from 2006 to 2008; Admin Officer, Department of Operations, Police Headquarters, Ogun State in 2008; Operations Officer, Department of Operations, Lagos State Command Ikeja in 2017; Directing Staff, Police College Ikeja; and as Personal Assistant to The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja.

He is a member of several professional bodies and associations, which include: Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR); International Public Relations Association (IPRA); Point Man Leadership Institute, USA; International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), USA; Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP); Boys Brigade Nigeria; and the Institute of Corporate Administration, Nigeria.

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Personality in Focus

Executive Order 11: IFMA Boss Hails Buhari

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The President of the International Facility Management Association Nigeria Chapter, Mr. Segun Adebayo, has commended the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on his assent to Executive Order 11 on National Public Buildings Maintenance Policy.

While expressing his delight on the assent, Mr. Adebayo noted that the Executive Order is long overdue and with this action, the professional management and maintenance of the Federal assets is assured and guaranteed.

According to the President, “as we earnestly looking forward to the implementation of the provisions of the new order, through the setting up of maintenance department in MDAs, our Association is committed to collaborating with Federal Government through relevant Ministry to provide required capacity building and knowledge development”

“As an association, we have been advocating the integration of sustainable practices into the built environment and this has started yielding the desired results”

We would also want to appreciate the Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN for this feat because his efforts in the ministry have yielded phenomenal results and it would positively impacts the various projects that this administration has embarked upon.”

The Executive Order states that the Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to establishing a sustained maintenance programme to optimize the enormous investment in public infrastructure. The Government is determined to provide sustainable employment, job opportunities for large, small, and medium-sized businesses, artisans, and persons with vocational skills. Equally, the public assets would be maintained at a minimal cost.

The Department of Federal Public Assets Maintenance will oversee the coordination, implementation, management, and maintenance of federal public assets, facilities, and premises across Nigeria. The agency will conduct maintenance needs assessment, development of maintenance plan, and the necessary procurement.

The agency will monitor the outsourced facility management services of all public buildings and likewise, establish a comprehensive database of all public buildings and facilities. Public buildings will also be modified to accommodate the special needs of persons living with disabilities while ensuring that all buildings would be able to operate at optimal capacity.

IFMA Nigeria is set to celebrate 25 years of impacting the built environment in Nigeria. The Association has always strategically aligned with other institutions in the areas of capacity building; research and development; mentorship and partnership. The current council has engaged both the private and public sector stakeholders to play up the relevance of the profession in the built environment in a complementary way.

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