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NEDC’s leadership with a human face

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Mohammed Alkali

Sir: It is no longer news that the Boko Haram crisis in North-East Nigeria has devastated the economy of the region, and humanitarian crisis is the order of the day. The North East region of Nigeria is made up of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba states. These states are ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009.

In this violent crime against humanity, people in multiples of millions are adversely affected. About five million persons are Internally Displaced (IDPs), including over 100,000 Nigerian Refugees in neighbouring countries. Casualty rates are in thousands while those alive have lost means of livelihood.

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President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration major task is how to end the war, effectively handle the humanitarian crisis and implement an effective rehabilitation and resettlement programme. These necessitated the establishment of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC), with the objective to lead the reconstruction and development of the region by consolidating and replacing other initiatives such as the Victims Support Fund (VSF), Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE), and Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI). The massive load fell on the broad shoulders of Mohammed Alkali.

Before his appointment, Mohammed Alkali was the Executive Director, operations of the Bank of Industry (BoI), he has a first-class honours degree in Accountancy from Bayero University, Kano. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics at the University of London, United Kingdom. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School, Harvard University; the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago; and the Columbia Business School at the Columbia University. These are indeed very intimidating credentials.

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Since his appointment as managing director, the NEDC had been implementing impactful and incremental interventions designed to address most of the immediate challenges bedevilling the Northeast states. For instance, the NEDC established a six billion naira Education Endowment Fund to resuscitate the regions devastated education sector and rebuild the human capital to provide an avenue for the engagement of over 20,000 beneficiaries annually to enable them to have access to academic and professional capacity development opportunities in various fields.

The NEDC is also implementing about 1, 310 Rapid Response Intervention in Projects in all the 112 local governments of the North East Region. This is in addition to the implementation of an Integrated Agriculture Programme involving the provision of agricultural machinery and equipment, seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals and extension service logistics vehicles to enhance the production capacity of smallholder farmers in North East and enable them to regain their lost livelihoods.

And the results have been glaring and as well as impressive. I consequently wish to challenge other public office holders towards the entrenchment of transparency in their operations using the NEDC model. 

Solomon Audu, a public affairs analyst based in Yola

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