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Marwa: A Legend at 69

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By Femi Babafemi

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For over two decades, Mohamed Buba Marwa was the subject of heroic tales of exemplary leadership. Those who experienced him readily argued that he was one of the shining examples of good leadership when the military was in charge of the country.

The story of how he turned around Lagos―breaking the stranglehold of robbers and taming the lawlessness of the Area Boys―echoes now and again.

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And like true legends, there were legacies to his name―too many to mention in one breath―including the famous Keke Marwa and the reinvigoration of Operation Sweep. Now and then, there were expressions of nostalgia for the days of Marwa, as a metaphor for effective leadership.

But as fate would have it, a second opportunity to relive the Marwa Experience surfaced on January 15, 2021, when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed the retired Brigadier-General as the new Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

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The news generated a buzz and rekindled old memories. The legend of Marwa came back to life. Can thunder strike twice? Many wondered, not out of scepticism, but from the swellings of great expectations.

Twenty months later, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd), OFR, proved his old admirers right. He has won new hearts with his dynamic leadership at the NDLEA.
Today, what was once a story from a past era, of the Marwa Magic in Lagos, is now the story of our time as captured by the Marwa Effect in NDLEA.

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Indeed, Marwa has held many high-profile offices in his time, including as Military Governor of Old Borno (1990-1992), Registrar of the Nigeria Defence Academy (1992-1993) and Military Administrator of Lagos (1996-1999).

What is remarkable is that he has maintained a consistent trajectory of achievements attained on the altar of purposive leadership and effective management.

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In a country where issues are profoundly politicized and achievements of public officers are viewed with distrust and x-rayed for ulterior motives, Marwa is an exception.

Nigerians from all walks of life, across political divides, from different religious leanings and of diverse ethnicities, are in one accord in their appraisal of him, his reforms, leadership and transformation of NDLEA: a job well done, so far.

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No wonder, in recognition of his contributions to the development of Nigeria and empowerment of humanity, General Marwa has as at today 19 chieftaincy titles across the country.

These include: Aare Atunluse of Yorubaland; Atunluse of Ikorodu; Aare Agbaakin of Lagos; De Nukonga Gbedite of Badagry; Ochi Oha I of Umuozzi in Enugu; Ochinigwe of Igboland; Soludero of Egbaland; Mayegun of Ibadanland; Turakin Angasawa (Pankshin); Akinrogun of Osogboland; Babalaje of Ijeshaland; Ciroman Zah (Adamawa State); Apesin-Ola of Saki; Aare Atayese of Ayetoro (Ekiti); Atobase of Okeho; Mene-Yereba 1 of Ogoniland (Rivers State); Fagachin Adamawa; Aare Jagunmolu of Ogidi Kingdom (Kogi state); Otene Ete, Egbura (Koton Karfe), Kogi state and Santuraki of Abaji Kingdom, FCT.

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Discussions about him invariably always narrow down to the question of what makes Marwa tick as a leader. For answers, the details are in bold relief.

One, where other leaders are overcautious of taking a radical step, Marwa doesnt dither, if the situation calls for it.

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He demonstrated this when he expanded the NDLEA by creating six new directorates, 14 zonal commands, and a tactical unit of Strike Forces, among others.

Two, he also doesn’t go on wild goose chases. His every action is strategic and calculated to deliver results. An example is his Offensive Action operation launched a few days after he became the helmsman of the anti-narcotic agency.

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The results―18,940 arrests, 2, 904 convictions, and 3.6m kg of drugs seized from January 2021 to July 2022―were watersheds in the history of the Agency.

Three, he believes in results by motivation. His philosophy has always been that organisational goals are easily achieved when the workforce gives its best and that the best can only come from happy workers.

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In this regard, he pulled all the stops to give the NDLEA workforce improved work conditions. That process is still ongoing, and so far, there have been promotions, payment of allowances and other constructive developments that give hope to the Agencys staff.

Marwa is a stickler for innovation. That is his fourth quality as a leader. A man who believes in pushing the boundary. We can see that in the present metamorphosis of NDLEA, especially in the Agencys War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy.

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In many areas, the NDLEA is blazing the trail in drug law enforcement and the approach adopted by the Marwa-led administration is winning the confidence of Nigerians.

Five, he is a man who plans. His tenure as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) laid the groundwork for the total overhaul of NDLEA, ensuring that he arrived at NDLEA with a blueprint.

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That underscores why his tenure will be different in the annals of NDLEA. After 20 months, his plans are taking shape and it is obvious to the public that he and his management team are caught in a historic moment and process of rebuilding NDLEA into an institution that will stand the test of time.

Back in 1997, he was hailed by Newswatch magazine as Man of the Year. And 24 years later, he was Champion newspapers 2021 Man of the Year. In the past year, there were no less than 10 media honours for him and the Agency.

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What that tells us is: Despite the time lapse between his last major public administration and his present appointment, Marwa is still his vintage self.

This man of history clocks 69 today. On a day like this, one would have wished hes seated with his family, friends and well-wishers to celebrate but no, hes in far away United States of America strenghtening ties with our strong allies and partners, pushing for the wellbeing of officers and betterment of NDLEA.

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What a sacrifice to make for others and the good of our nation, Nigeria! Being with him on this journey, I remember, we cant let this day just go by without putting out these few lines to appreciate him. No doubt, we have a cause to felicitate with him, and his family, if not for anything, but in appreciation of his selfless service to his country.

* Femi Babafemi is the Director, Media & Advocacy, NDLEA

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Opinion

Wike’s Rejection Of Atiku Should Be Commended For Equity And Fair Play Matters Arising

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By Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah

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“I beg them today, they should not waste time to suspend me, they should call a National Executive Committee (NEC) – meeting – now and say ‘you are now suspended from the party. Anything you see, you take. They know what I will do.” Nyesom Wike Sep 23 2023.

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike’s decision to reject PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubarkar is no longer news. He claimed that Atiku and his party broke a gentleman’s agreement to return power to the South.

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According to the Rivers State Governor, Atiku can no longer be trusted because of his inconsistencies; he claims the PDP presidential candidate is dishonest, unreliable, untrustworthy, and deceitful. He also slammed Iyorchia Ayu, calling him a “corrupt, arrogant, conceited, racist, power-hungry, anti-southern bigot.”

I’ve heard a lot of people argue for and against Wike’s actions, with some saying he shouldn’t take the roof off the house and others supporting every move Wike makes.

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Some even went as far as saying that Wike has pitched his interest against the North and must suffer a backlash from his actions, fearing that the North would annihilate him.

The first question that came to mind was, “What is the North’s interest?”

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The truth is that it is in the North’s best interests to relinquish power to the South; having a single region rule at the villa for 16 years back to back is nothing more than injustice and a violation of fair play rules.

Imagine the Ijaw men staying at the villa for 16 years stretch ; this portends that a single tribe will take over the running of the villa and, by extension, the country by DEFAULT.

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I am from Edo State, so if I were to be elected president, there is a good chance that most of my advisors would be from the region of the South-South where I grew up, this is what we call by DEFAULT.

No one wants to work with people with whom they are uncomfortable, so what we call NEPOTISM in Nigeria is sometimes done by DEFAULT.

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Read Also #NBA: How Kashim Shettima Outsmarted Peter Obi And Atiku With His Dress Code And Eloquent Presentation Matters Arising

The childhood friend I appointed goes on to recruit his own childhood friends as aides, allowing the majority of his geopolitical zone to gain closer access to him, this again is by default.

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Fortunately for us, Tinubu grew up with people from all tribes and regions, which was reflected in his cabinet when he was Lagos State Governor.

Since Northerners actually believe in fair play and a national quota system that rotates the presidency in favor of all regions, it is no longer in the North’s best interest to hold onto power for another eight years.

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The APC northern governors are Tinubu’s candidacy heroes because they insisted that power must go back to the South, they stood up for truth and fair play.

Read Also Obi No Get Certificate? INEC Throws More Spanners As Electoral Body Reveals Tinubu, Atiku Others Certificate Status

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Even Wike admitted as much when he stated that the APC Northern governors are more organized in terms of demanding fairness and equality than the PDP as a party.

Wike is fighting a battle for justice and fair play, and he is fighting for a party that has purposefully taken a full region, the South, for granted. “Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere”.

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Wike should be applauded not only by the APC, but also by the general public, because of his ideology of sticking to the truth and ensuring that it prevails.

You may not agree with his style or his loquacious mouth, but you “hypocritically” agree with his spending money on the same party while its presidential candidate was in distant Dubai attending to his self-interest and saving his own money to secure the party’s ticket on election day at the expense of fairness.

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Wike has exposed the PDP presidential candidate and done significant damage to his reputation in the last few days, which the average voter ought to be fully cognizant of.

The Economist Intelligence has hinted that Tinubu will win the upcoming presidential elections, which highlights the legitimacy of Wike’s actions.

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The APC and Tinubu would benefit if the governor of Rivers State supported a different party instead of the PDP.

If Wike supports the LP or any other party other than the APC, it will deplete Atiku’s vote and give the APC an advantage, and if Wike finally joins forces with the APC, which all indications point to, the election will be won before February next year.

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Wike, in my opinion, is a potential APC hero for revealing the mask behind Atiku’s presidency.

My Name na Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah and na me b the Chairman and CEO of Bush Radio Academy.

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Opinion

On Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral Service: Observations and lessons for Africa

Queen
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By Obi Chindo

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The ‘whole world’ was present in the Queen’s burial service. Significantly, all the world leaders, political and religious heads from all over the world and from all walks of life were seated accordingly before the service began.

I observed there was no poster of the deceased queen, no order of service except that provided by the church, no sackcloth by the family of the queen (at least to identify her immediate family) and no Ashoebi for Queen’s family, well wishers and relatives.

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The service was solemn and interestingly soul-mellowing. There was orderliness and organization. The military parade and match by the royal navy and others was nearly perfect and a top notch. They displayed expertise in the highest level.

Her children, grand and great grand children were all composed and comported, calmly sitted and flowing with the tempo of events. No stress on their faces as a result of running around for their mother’s burial.

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The singing of hymns, chanting of psalms and canticle were like voices of many waters. There was no shouting, no noise, no repetition of words like ‘Praise God!’ ‘Hallelujah! Amen! Sons of the living God! Shout a big Hallelujah!

The homily which was delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev’d and Rt. Hon Justin Welby did not last more than ten minutes. His opening prayer was less than ten seconds and he didn’t even say closing prayer. In fact I didn’t know he had finished preaching.

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As a burial service that had many world leaders in attendance including muslims and other unbelievers, I expected a salvation message from the Archbishop so that those men will hear the true word of God for once. But no!

He didn’t even make reference with emphasis to any scripture let alone calling for altar call for those who wanted to give their lives to Christ. I expected the preacher to tell us more about the dead queen, her life and times but he didn’t do that.

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No recognition of dignitaries in the service by the Archbishop of Canterbury. No special greetings whatsoever by the family of the bereaved. No collection of offering. No launching and fund raising in the burial service in support of the church. No announcement on where guests and visitors will be served food.

They knew why they gathered, did that exactly and dispersed. Altogether the service lasted an hour. No time for frivolities. Everything was well ordered and arranged. Her palace was not repainted to look new to the visitors. No gunshots were heard. No masquerade.

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Lessons:

If as Africans we have nothing to learn from the queen’s burial, we must learn simplicity and avoid unnecessary wastage of finance and time during burials. We must discourage extravagant display and waste of resources during burials.

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The church has a vital role to play in reducing a lot of financial burdens placed on people who are bereaved of their loved ones. Insisting that the family of the deceased should pay a certain amount of money before burial is not in the best interest of the church.

If we don’t redefine our concept of Christianity in Africa as simple, accommodating and devoid of ostentation we may continue to lose membership. We must leave Christianity as simple as it is meant to be where everyone is treated equally with love.

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‘Giving honour to whom honour is due’ is good but it must not override our sense of duty and consciousness of time in a public worship. It must be closely watched to avoid eventual shift of our attention to human worship.

We must resist the temptation of raising money in church services when we see political money bags and dignitaries, more especially during burials and other services that are not originally intended for fund raising.

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Rev’d Fr Obi Chindo: Prolocutor for the Poor and the Marginalized

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Opinion

Good governance key to substantial change in Nigeria—Boniface

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A young advocate for good governance, Boniface Ogunti, expressed concern over the welfare of Nigerians and Africans ingeneral, as he maintained that good governance remains the key to effect positive and sustainable change the people yearn for, including other issues he spoke about with Kayode Sanni Arewa

Boniface. It’s so great to have you here. Thank you for being with us today. Can we have your bio data; dob, tribe, schools attended, local government area and other personal data?

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Boniface Ogunti is 26years old and was born February 18th,1996. I am a Nigerian Liberian who was born and brought up in America, I went to Park center highschool, North Hennepin College in Minnesota

There aren’t many billionaires like Boniface Ogunti, who are both humble about their origins and committed to inspiring future billionaires. Tell us about what inspires you and generally about yourself?

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I am not considered a billionaire in America but I am considered a Multi Millionaire. What inspires me is knowing where I came from, to make it out of where I came from you gotta be very creative. to be successful where i came from you had to be from a rich family or you played sports in America as i was an African being raised in America. I had to get around the right people for me to succeed Because my environment was set up for me to fail. That is why I am so committed to inspiring people who want to be successful because I know what it feels like .

Over time we have watched your business grow. Can you share your success journey with us? How many employees do you have currently?

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I started out in Ecommerce, selling products on social media and I was able to generate over a million dollars in sales by unique advertising skills.. When I realized I had a unique advertising skill, I knew I had to capitalize on it, which led me to create my first company called “Current9” . Current9 business module was to help the everyday workers become their own boss by providing online workshops teaching these unique advertising skills so they can their businesses. Current9 became a global movement, i decided i had to give back to my Motherland “Africa” by creating “Ogunti Group” which resonates with where i come from. The Ogunti Group was created for investments and partnerships which I have been able to achieve, as I am in partnership with the Liberian government by providing trucks to transport Iron Ore and Palm Oil to other neighboring countries. Current9 has transitioned into “Circle Of Success” which now does educational/marketing events, empowering everyday people and entrepreneurs as a community of like minded individuals. i have currently have about 80 employees across all my businesses

We watched a video earlier where we learned a little bit about digital marketing and business growth, which we’ll speak about towards the later half of the interview, but we saw there that you are such a supporter and such an advocate of entrepreneurship, which isn’t really a surprise because of your ideology to life, but I’m curious to know how and why you decided to build businesses around digital marketing at a young age, what influenced you and impacted your journey?

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As I was growing my business there were a lot of different Challenges i faced, atimes i felt discouraged to continue because I didn’t have all the required skill sets I have today. What kept me going was my principles I live by, which is; Know thyself, appreciation, relationship management, Mastering the basics..

What were some of the challenges that you faced during that time, and which leadership principles did you stay rooted in as you were guiding this process?

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Can you give us the summary of your business journey; the challenges and the triumphs?

Seeing that you’ve set a standard in training people on how to build a successful business, and more people are coming to you for mentorship, do you ever worry that people will be disappointed?

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I never worry about being disappointed as a Mentor because everyone has a current self and desired self and I KNOW that everyone is going to do a lot better than by themselves, due to the way my mentorship programs are built, you can never live the way you came .

What is your real mission in life and would you say you are getting there?

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My Real mission in life is to do whatever God sent me here to do and to impact as many people God wants me to impact

Tell us about your future plans for Current9.com and the achievements so far?

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So Current9.com is now Circleofsuccess.com which like i said earlier is a community of like minded individuals who are ready to become their own bosses and we at Circle of Success are here to help them achieve this goal. Our achievements so far has been that we have helped numerous people become financially free and independent

If you are made the president of your country, what are the first five things you would address and why?

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if i am made the President of my country the first thing i would do is create s Structure of Governance, build Infrastructure and empower Entrepreneurs because without a proper structure of Governance there can never be any real or substantial change in a country, then infrastructure can come and empowering entrepreneurs is an investment in society as a whole

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