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
Military’s Face of the Nation, You Must Not Devalue It – GOC 81 Division, Gen Ajunwa
The General Officer Commanding 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, comprising Lagos and Ogun States, Major General Obinna Ajunwa, has warned against devaluing the military, saying that such action has a chain reaction, as it reverberates on the collective existence of the people, and affects what the country holds dear in terms of internal unity, national cohesion and international recognition.
Ajunwa made this remark while playing host to a cross section of the Executive members of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) in his office on Monday. The General noted that the army, and by extension the military, is the face of the nation, and by no means or circumstance should be rubbished, because an attack on the military through false reports is an attack on the very essence of the people and the nation itself.
“The Military is the face of the nation. If we rubbish it we are rublishing our face. The Army belongs to us as Nigerians. In the Nigeria society, and even elsewhere, the strength of the people is the military. And when the top is dropped, it will definitely affect the other component parts.
He maintained that the military will continue to strive to to keep the peace and security of the nation, while calling on the citizenry, especially the press to assist in the patriotic act through verified publications, and most importantly publications that has national security and interest as consideration
“False reports devalues the military, Nigeria and the people. Once you devalue the military, every other persons in the nation is devalued. Always endeavour to report correctly and avoid false information as it could destroy the nation and paint it in bad light, thereby giving a signal of negativity.
“We must understand that when a country’s military is tainted with negativity, it spiraled on other aspects of that country’s endeavours. That is why the military is the face of the nation, and must not be devalued,” Ajunwa said.
Earlier, the leader of the NAOSNP delegation and President of the Association, Mr. Samson Oki, has briefed the GOC and his team of officers on the need for the division to synergise with the Association to curb the initiation and spread of fake news, which is detrimental to the psyche and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians.
“It is our intention to cooperate with the military, and the army in particular to further engender military/media relationship to continue to fight the war against fake news, which is capable of causing mayhem, for the good of the people.
“Our Association is known for discipline, professionalism and dedication to the Nigerian project, and in the best position to understand that national interest supersedes parochial or personal interest, and that is what we have sworn to uphold,” Oki said.
In his vote of thanks, the Public Relations Officer of NAOSNP, Mr. Eric Elezuo, appreciated the Nigeria Army for the job well done, which have remained their hallmark in recent times, and the GOC 81 Division, Ajunwa, who has been exemplary since he assumed office in August 2022.
“While partnering with you in this task of nation building and defence, we must acknowledge your success stories in the field and with the civil populace. The army has distinguished itself, and remained above board. We also acknowledge the giant strides Major General Ajunwa has taken since he assumed duties about three months ago. We are not oblivious of these milestones, and ask that they be sustained,” Elezuo said.
In attendance at the meeting were ranking military officers including the Commander 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Brigadier General Kingsley Nwoko; Commander 81 Div Provost Group, Brigadier General ML Abubakar; Commander 55 Signal Brigade, Brigadier General EO Oshunsan; Chief of Staff HQ 81 Division, Brigadier General MB Wabili and Deputy Chief of Staff Operations, Colonel JK Maigari.
Other members of the NAOSNP team in attendance were Miss Ebere Obinagwam, Mr. Kazeem Bakene, Mr. Friday Etim and Mr. Femi Arikawe.
‘We Hold You in High Esteem’ – NAOSNP Celebrates Lagos Speaker, Obasa at 50
The National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) has congratulated the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Mudashiru Obasa as he celebrates the golden age of 50.
According to a statement signed by the Association’s Public Relations Officer Mr Eric Elezuo, the association holds the ebullient lawmaker in high esteem, and prays the Almighty continues to shine the light of greatness in his path as he effortlessly leads the legislative arm of Lagos State government to enviable heights.
“It is with deep sense of camaraderie and appreciation for your stupendous achievements that we, the members of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) celebrate you on your landmark age of 50.
“We pray that the God will continue to lead you in the paths of righteousness as you continue to work assiduously to better the lives of Lagosians and humanity in general,” the statement revealed.
Mr Elezuo further described the speaker as an intellectually oriented administrator, whose warm and cordial relationship with governors during his tenure, has helped in telling the success story of Lagos State till date.
“As one of the longest serving Speakers in the country, we have noted with admiration how you have synergized with different governors of the state to build and continue to make Lagos a progressive place for all and sundry irrespective of religion, ethnicity or party,” Elezuo noted.
The statement also quoted the president of the association, Mr. Samson Oki, as adding that the group, an integrity based security publishers, will continue to give the distinguished speaker every assistance in the positive discharge of his duties for the state and humanity.
Philanthropist Donates N10m Luxury Bus to Disability Foundation Home
By Eric Elezuo
Renowned social entrepreneur and philanthropist par excellence, Hon Hareter Babatunde Oralusi, popularly known as HBO, has donated a luxury bus worth over N10 million to the Home for Children with Disabilities, a project of the Focus on Disability Foundation, founded by United Kingdom based Mr. Abiodun Paseda.
Hon Oralusi, a native of Osun State, who is also based in the United Kingdom, is the Chairman, Board of Directors, LifeCome Group Limited and Foremedia Group Limited, United Kingdom, is according to Paseda, a man of integrity, whose stock in trade is giving back to the society and extending his God-given blessings to all and sundry, especially the under privileged.
Expressing his appreciation while speaking to pointblank.ng, Paseda said “This is to show our appreciation over and over again to our loving and supportive daddy, Hon Oralusi. We thank and appreciate you for the donation of this bus for the children’s use. It will be used in taking the children to school and bring them back everyday. Once again, we say thank you and God bless you.”
The Focus on Disability Foundation, founded in 2010, is a non for profit organization, saddled with the responsibility of creating and providing new life and hope for people living with disabilities. In 2021, t has scored another high in its unmatched efforts at looking after the disabled, with a magnificent edifice to accommodate diverse people living with disabilities.
The multi-roomed bungalow with modern and recreational facilities, which is situated in Odogbolu Local Government of Ogun State, was commissioned in the presence of dignitaries from across the length and breadth of the state, who took turns to inspect the facility, and applaud the visioner, and Founder, Focus on Disability Foundation, Mr. Abiodun Enilari Paseda.
Paseda is known for his passion to uplift the standard of living of people living with disabilities across the globe, especially in Nigeria, Ghana and England where his impact has been greatly felt so far. He has supervised the provision of sundry humanitarian assistance to people living with disabilities across Nigeria and the African continent with special mention to England, his place of residence.
“Disable people are the most neglected in the world, especially in Africa. There were no disability laws to protect them as in the UK and other European countries. This aroused my passion to help them and other less privileged,” he says.
Hon Oralusi joined the long list of prominent Nigerians, who have identified with the good work of Paseda, in ensuring the people living with disabilities have a good life.