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A look at Atiku’s campaign model, by Hassan Gimba

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A look at Atiku’s campaign model, by Hassan Gimba

Perhaps in the future, politicians, political analysts, strategists, scientists and consultants may want to look at one or two things here that make Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s campaign what it is, especially its tenacity, perseverance, astuteness and personal ties.

Between 1993 and this year, that’s thirty years, Atiku Abubakar, former vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, would have contested the presidential election eight times. Twice – in 2007 and 2019 – he was a candidate on the platform of two different parties, and thrice – in 1993, 2011 and 2015 – he was stopped at the primaries level. He won twice – in 1999 and 2003 – as a vice president. This year will be his eighth. He has earned the honour of being addressed as a veteran. ‘Veteranship’ comes with the knowledge and wisdom of the person who strode that path.

He could allow his campaign to glide through the haze on autopilot because of his experience. That made him set up a structure with people of personal or specific capabilities to achieve that.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress is credited with having built men of substance who have produced others, but many seem not to know that Atiku, too, has done that. And he has an advantage over Asiwaju on that count because Asiwaju’s men are Lagos chaps, at most South West, and perhaps a few others from Kogi and Kwara states – two contiguous states to Asiwaju’s South West geopolitical zone – while Atiku’s men are spread all over the nation.

Atiku, on his own, is established with a personal structure and vast network and, by being a two-term vice president who was more than just a spare tyre, was on a pedestal with a range that wasn’t provincial. The entire country was his constituency, after all. He made many people into what they are now. He gave many young – and not-so-young – men and women a break so they could serve the nation in many capacities.

Many of them became ministers, legislators and chief executives of departments and agencies courtesy of him. They are in both the private sector and public service. Many who still straddle the political and economic landscape of the country are quite relevant and influential, cutting across all political parties, sectors, and states of the federation. Perhaps Atiku chuckles when he sees pictures of Tinubu and a band sitting together with the caption “Builder of Men”.

So, you ask, where are the governors, ministers, legislators, heads of boards and agencies, billionaires, etc., that Atiku made? They are out there in the crowd. Some with him, some not, but many are silent like sleeper cells waiting for a day they’ll pay back. Of course, a few are on the other side fighting him, but that is the nature of some. Some mentees are loyal to themselves only, turning back to bite the fingers that put morsels in their mouths once they develop a semblance of a tooth.

Despite all this, Atiku never ceased to identify, cultivate, and nurture the friendship and loyalty of those who would get “it” for him. He is a politician at the apex and so knows the importance of having in his team go-getters, achievers, veterans of the game, and professional game-changers. Like an army general at the apex of command knows that his success, or victory, depends on the capability of his commanders, Atiku, who, politically, can be likened to a five-star general, knows he needs people who know their onions, people who can deliver, people who will motivate and lead the troops.

And so that was how Atiku approached his party’s primaries of last year. Some politicians make the mistake of deriding him as Dubai-based, not knowing that by extricating himself from the Nigerian scene, he sees it more clearly than being inside, just like boxing match spectators see the weaknesses of the pugilists better than the brawlers.

However, that does not mean he was not privy to what was happening at the local scene or wasn’t there by proxy. Most of the political activities of his party men either emanated from him or had his imprimatur.

His experience showed during the shadowboxing on zoning. Knowing Governor Nyesom Wike was desperate to contest, he pulled the rug from under his feet by declaring that he would not contest if the party zoned the presidency to the South East, the only zone that had not produced a president from the south under his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Wike fell for it and rejected the idea of micro-zoning the presidency to the South East, influencing those who could make it a law not to. Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Samuel Ortom of Benue both headed committees that advised the party on whom to pick as its national chairman and on whether to micro-zone or throw open the contest for the presidency. They both threw up what we now see, with Wike supervising everything from the background!

How Atiku made Wike believe that Iyorchia Ayu would rather see him in Hades than in the Villa beats the imagination. Up until today, Wike is in a daze. Atiku, by subterfuge, made Wike adopt his chairmanship candidate, thinking he was his. He spent his resources to see Ayu emerge and went to town basking in the belief that he had installed Atiku’s nemesis as party chairman!

And wherever Atiku was, he was at home with the “roots” of the PDP. Apart from the not-so-shadowy retired generals who see the party as theirs, most of its founders are on Waziri Adamawa’s side. Wike was therefore like an effervescence floating on the crest, without depth. It was like new money squaring up with old money. The former wouldn’t stand a chance.

And these roots, owners of the party, are the ones packaging Atiku. He is like their poster boy, their best bet to get power back. And they feel they can control him, unlike Wike. This is all that power brokers ever want. Cold and calculating, they wouldn’t have minded jettisoning him for anybody they can use as a battering ram to get what they want – power. And this is why they made Atiku and the PDP call Wike’s bluff.

Another thing is the way he arranged his media team and strategists. Out of his many spokespersons, a few are outstanding because of some of their specific and strategic assignments.

First of all, he deflected social media attention from himself. In the past, social media did not serve him that well. He got pilloried so much and that distracted him mightily.

Not to worry this time around. He engaged Reno Omokri, who at the beginning of his assignment for Atiku, barely six months ago, had about 700,000 followers on Twitter, but now has over two million. He has engaged those who would have otherwise been on Atiku’s neck and shoulders, stalking him day and night. Reno has engaged them in a never-ending war, drawing them out again and again when there is a lull, taking their pelting, while his principal moves about unmolested in cyberspace. It is a superb game plan and you cannot help but laugh at how people who see themselves as super intelligent can be easily taken on such a roller coaster ride!

In drawing the cyber bullies to himself, Reno has also taken off the back of the PDP, or its candidate, the need to attack the idol of the cyber bullies, making the party run a cleaner campaign compared to the APC whose candidate’s campaign has not thought of that. And this is why the Jagaban has become an object of ridicule and a subject of comical skits in cyberspace, a smearing experience that is sure to follow him long after the campaigns.

When it comes to roforofo fights, the one of mudslinging and throwing the kitchen sink along with the dirty water which is best suited to people like Femi Fani Kayode, Atiku has Dino Melaye at his gate. Dino is ever ready to jump into the mud even if he’s in his multi-million-naira Tom Ford Shelton Suit. And Daniel Bwala is there to engage the middle-class elite represented by the likes of Festus Keyamo on the other side.

Adamu Maina Waziri was putting up a brilliant show on the publicity front but Atiku, the political general who knows how to deploy his chess pieces, withdrew him to the engine room where his focus, go-getting spirit, intelligence, experience, versatility, administrative and organisational skills are better suited.

Next, we will look at Atiku and Asiwaju’s mode of grooming heirs that would be the next set of our country’s leaders, all things being equal.

Hassan Gimba is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Neptune Prime.

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Towards A Stronger Union – Year 105 in Review

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Towards A Stronger Union – Year 105 in Review

August24news.com

Sponsored by: H&H

2022 was a remarkable year for Union Bank of Nigeria (“Union Bank”). The leading financial institution celebrated its 105th year of serving Nigerians with the announcement of the completion of a landmark transaction that saw the integration of the Bank with Titan Trust bank to form a stronger union.

This announcement kicked off several noteworthy events and major milestones and Union Bank is pleased to recapitulate these milestones the Bank recorded in 2022. The noteworthy events in each month are summarised below under the respective headings.

January 2022: Union Bank celebrates its 105th year of operations as Titan Trust Bank gets nod from regulators for the official integration. The fusion of both entities created expanded networks, increased operational efficiency and capacity as well as improved service delivery for the customers. The new direction set Union Bank on a path of delivering prosperity and shared growth for its partners and customers all over the African continent.

February 2022: As part of its commitment to push beyond banking to promote innovation and creativity nationwide, Union Bank partnered with AfricaNXT – formerly known as Social Media Week, to host the largest gathering of innovators across Africa. As an organisation focused on accelerating digital innovation, Union Bank showcased some of its ‘Digital Ventures’ products (Kula, Booster and M36) at the event via an interactive booth. The Bank also hosted two insightful sessions – a panel discussion and a masterclass session – targeted at the tech ecosystem.

March 2022: As an organisation committed to leading the charge for inclusion and parity, Union Bank has consistently leveraged International Women’s Day (IWD) to promote impactful discourse and encourage positive action for gender equality 2022 was no different. In in line with the 2022 global theme #BreakTheBias, the Bank hosted an event to celebrate everyday women breaking biases and shattering barriers in their professional and personal lives.

A key highlight of the event was the inauguration of the first executives for Wehub – Union Bank’s Women Empowerment Hub which is an internal network launched in 2016 to motivate, connect and provide support to women within the Bank. The newly elected executives were charged with the task to drive the implementation of impactful initiatives aimed at advancing the Bank as a progressive place to work.

April 2022: As part of its ‘Beyond Banking’ strategy and commitment to innovation and technological advancement in Nigeria, Union Bank launched SpaceNXT a future-forward, purpose designed co-working technological and innovation hub built to promote innovation and encourage collaboration within the tech ecosystem in Nigeria. Located within the Union Bank Head Office in Lagos Nigeria, SpaceNXT provides an enabling environment where tech enthusiasts, visionaries and creators can converge for the propagation of new ideas. It is a launching pad for innovators to collaborate, develop and improve on ideas around digital systems and tech-based solutions.

May 2022: Following the completion of the official integration, and the subsequent receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, Union Bank posted a formal notice of change in control with TGI Group, parent of TTB, now the majority shareholder and core investor in Union Bank. In addition to this, the Bank also announced the completion of the divestment of the Bank’s entire shareholding interest (direct and indirect) in its subsidiary, Union Bank (UK) Plc (“UBUK”) and the effective appointment of a Chief Executive Officer, Board Chair, and the reconstitution of a new Board of Directors. The new CEO, Mr Mudassir Amray and Board Chair, Farouk Gumel assumed office on the 2nd of June 2022

June 2022: Leading development bank Afrexim Bank backed Titan Trust Bank with the sum of $300,000,000 to support the integration with Union Bank. This is to ensure the Bank is well positioned to deliver value to its customers and shareholders.

July 2022: Following a successful first season, Union Bank announced the return of Save & Win Promo, its flagship campaign aimed at rewarding new and existing customers with cash rewards and other gift items worth over N55,000,000. The second edition of the nationwide campaign coincides with the Bank’s 105th anniversary and will benefit more customers to appreciate them for their support and loyalty over the years.

August 2022: As part of its continued commitment to UN SDG5, Union Bank continued its long-standing partnership with Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) to impact over 300 girls, in the 21st edition of the Leadership Empowerment Achievement and Development (LEAD) Camp which marked the eighth year of collaboration between JAN and Union Bank. The week-long event was used to provide guidance and improve the skill sets of the girls in areas of financial literacy, entrepreneurship, technology, creative arts, and entertainment. Development sessions in the program included coding, understanding sexual abuse, and personal hygiene, while the participants also received mentorship from respectable and high-ranking women in the country’s private and public sectors.

September 2022: Mr. Farouk Gumel, Chairman, Board of Directors, Union Bank of Nigeria delivered the keynote address that formed part of the theme for the 15th Annual Banking and Finance Conference tagged Repositioning the Financial Services Industry for an Evolving Global Context. In his remarks, Farouk Gumel emphasised how the rapidly expanding agricultural sector in Nigeria has the potential to grow exponentially and contribute not just to the advancement of the Nigerian economy, but also the welfare of the local farmers who form a large percentage of the unbanked.

He highlighted how Union Bank in their 105-year history continues to support the Nigerian farmer and pointed out that the recent integration with the parent TGI group has further opened more opportunities for the Bank to leverage international partnerships to service the rural economy.

In the same month, Union Bank partnered with WACOT Rice Limited – a foremost rice producing company and subsidiary of Tropical General Investment (TGI) Group, to provide banking solutions for 6,000 local farmers including men, women, and young people across 4 Local Government Areas in Kebbi State. This partnership, called the Kebbi Financial Inclusion Drive is in line with Union Bank’s commitment to boost financial inclusion in Nigeria.

October 2022: Union Bank signed a partnership with Mobihealth – a globally recognised, integrated telehealth provider based in the UK, facilitating health solutions for underserved communities in Africa. This first of its kind partnership is part of Union Bank’s commitment to enabling success for its customers. The Bank aims to leverage this partnership to expand access to high-quality and convenient healthcare services for its customers at discounted rates.

In addition, Union Bank also secured a $25 million funding line from Africa Agriculture & Trade Investment Fund (AATIF) to expand its agricultural business footprint in Africa. This funding aims to support the Bank’s agri-expansion and outreach strategy and is expected to further contribute to the growth of the competitive food and agricultural sector in Nigeria that is fully aligned with national priorities – including improving food security, increased agricultural production and local food processing.

November 2022: To expand its footprint in Africa, Union Bank signed an MOU with Attijariwafa Bank – a leading multinational commercial bank and financial services company based in Morroco. Through this partnership both Banks will develop new joint business opportunities for their respective customers that seek to support the trade finance and investment corridors between Nigeria and all the countries where Attijariwafa bank operates.

December 2022: To closeout it’s 105th year anniversary activities, Union Bank launched a brand-new sonic identity tagged ‘The Sound of Union. The launch of the Sound of Union – a 9-track EP, spanning different genres including afrobeats, highlife, jazz, alternative rock and more – is part of the Bank’s strategy to engage with todays and tomorrow’s generations. The goal of the launch is to leverage the universality of music to build better connections with new and existing audiences through this unique sound identity. The Sound of Union EP is now streaming exclusively on Boomplay.

Awards & Recognitions: In 2022, the Bank received several awards and recognitions both locally and globally including the Global Finance award for the Best SME Bank 2023, the Euro Money Euromoney ‘Highly Regarded’ Bank for Corporate Banking, Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance and ‘Notable’ Bank for SME Banking and Digital Solutions. We were also awarded the Middle East and Africa Banking Innovation Awards for Best Trade Finance Platform 2022, and Budgit Active Corporate Citizens award for Civic Investments.

Please note that as a summary, this is not a comprehensive listing of the Bank’s events and activities during each stated period. As we look ahead to 2023, Union Bank remains committed to providing simpler and smarter solutions for its customers.

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Opinion

GOVERNOR FINTIRI VISITS SONG, CANVASSES SUPPORT FOR HIS RE-ELECTION

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GOVERNOR FINTIRI VISITS SONG, CANVASSES SUPPORT FOR HIS RE-ELECTION

Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri Thursday took his campaign train to Song Local Government Area where he visited Gwalangtabal, Kilange and canvassed support for his re-election.

The Governor underscored the giant strides of his administration during the separate campaign rallies that held in the areas in continuation of his ward to ward tour ahead of the 2023 General Elections.

Governor Fintiri mentioned roads, free education, payment of WAEC and NECO, scholarships building of eight cottage hospitals and upgrade of secondary health centres among others as some of his achievements.

He pledged to continue to provide good leadership to Adamawa people, calling for his re-election as according to him he has the pedigree to man the affairs of the state to greater heights.

Governor Fintiri called on the people of Song to also elect Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as next Nigeria’s President and other PDP candidates during the 2023 General elections.

The State Chairman of PDP, Barrister Tahir Shehu and Director General State Campaign Council, Alhaji Auwal Tukur stressed the need for those yet to collect their voters card to do so and elect PDP candidates.

The chairman Song Local Government Area, Alhaji Gidado Abdulsalam among other speakers assured Governor Fintiri and other PDP candidates support during the next year’s polls.

Muhammad B. Tukur

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Opinion

NDLEA and Drive for Global Reach

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By Emmanuel Onwubiko

“Every man’s work is a portrait of himself”.

-Cyril Chukwudi Ibe;

“Still in search of a fine mind”.

The above citation from a tiny book written way back, takes us to the profoundly scholarly observation that was made by Mark H. McCormack in one of his fantastic books titled “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School”.

Obviously, Mark McCormack has a reputation as the writer of this famous international bestseller which fills the gap between a business school education and the knowledge that comes from day-to-day experience of running a successful business and managing people.

As we settle down in this reflection to focus on the multidimensional steps that the Executive Chairman of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa (CON) rtd, has adopted to attract global attention to the anti-drug war currently going on under the administration of president Muhammadu Buhari, we will do justice to this write up by drinking from the rich fountain of wisdom erected by the author Mark H McCormack.

The aforementioned author wrote thus: “As we have seen, your secretary is your official link with the outside world and how she deals with it is a mirror image of how the outside world sees you. If she is abrupt, you are perceived to be abrupt.

If she drops confidential information you are perceived to drop confidential information. If she drops names on your behalf, you are perceived as a name dropper. If she is officious and overbearing, then you are thought to be officious and overbearing.”

The author argued further that the secretary of a leading British television executive consistently makes it impossible for me to arrange any sort of meeting with her boss. On countless occasions, I have tried to arrange a get-together at any time during the next two weeks only to have his secretary tell mine that he is always ‘too busy. Yet without fail, when I get to the man directly, meetings are easy to arrange.

Of course, secretaries, he said, do play a certain protective role. By screening you from others, they enable you to act rather than react to a variety of business situations. However, there is a whole range of positive and negative ways in which this screening can be done. It is often as simple as the difference between saying. Who may I say is calling?’ and Who’s this?

The author also observed that: “Secretaries often come off as drill sergeants, and I have seen executives who are amused by their abrupt manner and even encourage it. I suspect that those who do think that the abruptness makes them appear that much more important.

Of course, this applies to all subordinates. If they work directly for you, it is likely that you are being judged at least partially by how they present themselves. So if you become aware of obvious rough edges, it is in your self-interest to point them out.”

The above narratives of a secretary can be referred to as a metaphor of how the management and staff of the NDLEA has through the dint of good example by their head, continue to exhibit compulsive and merit based services to the motherland through their well coordinated combat against drug barons in Nigeria and by extension, the Chief executive officer of NDLEA has deliberately launched a global wide advocacy drives to seek for international working partnership with some of the best authorities in the battles against transnational hard drug trafficking.

These deliberate global wide advocacy campaigns against hard drugs and the fruitful search he has so far actualized to get agreements entered into with international bodies and many other nations of diverse continents on exchange of intelligence on movements of hard drugs, will remain one of the best moves made by Nigeria in over fifty years to battle and combat the scourge of drugs. There is gainsaying the fact that hard drugs trafficking is an international crime that go beyond the shores of Nigeria and because Nigeria is not a producing nation for harddrugs, it is however a transit nation. This demands that all hands must be on deck to uproot these traffickers and barons both from within and without.

Only recently, Nigeria and India have agreed to exchange vital intelligence on the activities of drug trafficking syndicates operating vulnerable drug routes between both countries, while the latter will also strengthen the capacity of NDLEA officers with training.

This was part of recommendations and agreements reached at the end of a two-day bilateral meeting held in New Delhi, India between an NDLEA delegation led by its Chairman/Chief Executive, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) CON, OFR and its India counterpart, Narcotics Control Bureau, NCB, led by its Director General, Mr. Satya Narayan Pradhan.

The meeting also recommended exchange of best practices in drug demand reduction and sharing of real time information on the involvement of nationals of both countries in drug trafficking as well as conducting joint operations, while agreeing to hold another bilateral meeting in Nigeria in 2023. Another key objective of the India meeting was the collaboration between NDLEA and NCB on how to control the importation of tramadol above 100mg as well as certain categories of precursors into Nigeria.

In his presentation at the talks, Marwa expressed gratitude to NCB and its management for the warm reception accorded his delegation. He underscored the importance of the meeting to the global action against drug trafficking given the historical antecedents of both countries, the commonality of language, legal systems, population and the existing robust trade relations. He reiterated the need for strengthened collaboration between the two agencies in the fight against illicit drug cultivation, production and trafficking. While highlighting Nigerias drug use and trafficking challenges, he noted the increased national efforts to adopting a balanced approach to addressing both the drug supply and demands reduction.

He further underlined the importance of international cooperation and stakeholders’ engagement, adding that Nigeria has a National Drug Control Master Plan as the veritable tool to drug control and enforcement, which has facilitated effective co-ordination at federal and state levels and is being encouraged at the local government level.

He expressed the hope that a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, that would define the relationship between the two agencies with reference to information sharing, assets tracing and forfeiture of assets found to be connected to, and/or proceeds, of drug trafficking would be finalised soon.

In his remarks, Mr. Satya Narayan Pradhan of NCB, head of Indian delegation welcomed the delegations of both countries for the meeting, while he highlighted the issues particularly the trafficking of Heroin and Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) in the country. He said that the drug trafficking through maritime and air route is a challenge for both countries.

He elaborated on trends showing the emergence of illicit drug trafficking through couriers, dark-net markets and social media platforms with a promise to share the information about the latest mechanism and technologies to fight the emerging threats.

Those on the NDLEA delegation include: Mrs. Eucharia Ngozi Eze, Minister- Counsellor, High Commission of Nigeria, New Delhi; Mr. Joseph Nbona Sunday, Director Prosecution and Legal Services of the Agency; Mr. Ahmad Tijani and Mr. Hamza Umar, Commandant, NDLEA Academy. The NCB team led by its DG had nine other officers of the Bureau at the meeting.

Besides, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the International Criminal Police Organisation, popularly known as Interpol, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will enable the anti-narcotics outfit contribute to the pool of global criminal data and also access records of 195 countries around the world.

NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) signed for the agency, while the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of National Central Bureau and Vice President, Interpol Africa, Garba Baba Umar, endorsed the document on behalf of the global body.

Speaking at a brief ceremony at the National Central Bureau (NCB) Secretariat, Force Headquarters, Abuja, yesterday, Marwa reminded the audience that drug business is international in scope, while the scourge of substance abuse has continued to destroy lives, youths, families and communities, stressing that it also fuels criminality, as perpetrators either consume illicit substances or use proceeds to fund their nefarious activities.

His words: “As we are after the drug cartels and barons, we are not under the illusion that they won’t be after us. But, we are always steps ahead of them. This is why all security agencies must collaborate to fight the cartels, whether in Nigeria or anywhere in the world. We are, therefore, happy that the signing of this MoU allows us access to contribute and benefit from criminal records of 195 countries globally.”

He commended the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman, for his leadership acumen and commitment to the anti-drug crusade in Nigeria, citing the IGP’s memo to all police formations nationwide to always transfer drug cases to NDLEA across the states for investigation and prosecution, as a mark of cordial collaboration.

Earlier, AIG Garba Umar lauded Marwa for transforming NDLEA to a groundbreaking agency within a short time of assumption of office. He called for more support for the anti-narcotics agency.

He highlighted the significance of the pact to the success of NDLEA operations and pledged the full support of Interpol at all time.

Importantly, impressed by the high standards that the current hierarchy of NDLEA has set in the fight against drugs, the United Kingdom says it will provide £1 million worth of support to enhance the operations of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) in 2022 and additional provision over a period of three years.

Nick Fowler, the director of home office international operations, said this when he led a team on a courtesy visit to Buba Marwa, the NDLEA chairman, at the headquarters on Friday in Abuja.

In a statement by Femi Babafemi, director, media and advocacy of the NDLEA, Fowler commended Marwa for the success that the agency has recorded under his leadership.

Fowler said the agency had been able to play a significant role by intercepting loads of illicit drugs going to the UK.

He said his office was well positioned to share intelligence with NDLEA.

He also assured that the British government was willing to enhance NDLEA’s operations with provision of strategic equipment, logistics and training.

These, he said, were part of the £1million plan, to be implemented in 2022 with additional support over the next three years.

Earlier, Marwa expressed appreciation to the visiting UK team and the British government for the past support to NDLEA. He said with the expansion of the operations, command structure and staff strength of the agency, he would need more support and collaboration from the UK government.

He stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has been supportive to the agency in critical areas.

Marwa, therefore, asked for strengthened intelligence sharing collaboration, provision of essential operational logistics and training among others from the UK government.

The UK team was made up of Julie Hartfree, Africa regional director, and Kris Hawksfield, West Africa regional manager, both of the home office international operations. NAN

There is a popular African saying that good things have no hiding place, Nigeria was elected to host the next conference of Heads of Drug Law Enforcement Agencies Africa, HONLEA, in 2023. This was the unanimous decision of the regional network at the close of its 2022 annual meeting in Nairobi, Kenya at the weekend.

The move by other heads of anti-narcotics agencies in Africa to have Nigeria host the 2023 conference followed the country’s good relationship with others on the continent and NDLEA’s exemplary performance in the renewed fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

In the course of the weeklong conference, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), CON, OFR, led the Nigerian delegation in presentations on every item of the agenda for discussion, where he shared the country’s experience and successes so far recorded in the drug war as a result of bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation with other stakeholders in Nigeria and partners at both regional and international levels.

On the sidelines of the conference, he also led his team in bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Kenya, Gambia, Ghana and South Africa on areas of mutual interests such as intelligence sharing, joint operations, training and exchange programmes, among others. The bilateral meetings also agreed on the setting up of technical working groups on both sides to work on Memorandums of Understanding that will formalize the partnerships and working relationships.

Marwa had in his discussions at the bilateral meetings emphasized the need to build new and strengthen existing partnerships among anti-narcotics agencies at the sub-regional and regional levels to make trafficking of illicit drugs and movement of drug lords difficult on the African continent.

The chairman of NDLEA has indeed demonstrated the universal truism that states as follows; “If I take care of my character my reputation will take care of itself.” as stated by D.L. Moody. It is the expectation of patriotic Nigerians that government currently and the government that would be elected, won’t take any toxic actions administratively and operationally, to take Nigeria back to the days that hard drugs trafficking was a pastime for men of the underworld who call the shots even within the corridors of power. These efforts of Marwa should and must be consolidated and made to become sustainable for a long period of time, long after the current hierarchy has served out her statutory tenures.

  • EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.

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