There is a general expectation which is required of any public officer, and that is to thrive in their respective given assignment. Thus it becomes highly imperative for structures to give rise to the emergence of credible as well as capable individuals to build, elevate and sustain their ranks. When this is attained, growth and holistic development is inevitable.
This was the case of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency [NDLEA] in January 2021 when Brig. Gen. Mohammad Buba Marwa was appointed as the Chairman of the agency.
While the news of his appointment did not come as a surprise, he however with immediate response to work justified his appointment with immediate success.
While the case of drug trafficking was fast becoming a menace to the society, running lives of many in the process, Marwa immediately rolled up his sleeves and moved like a hurricane.
A man known for many firsts, he will be on record as the first Drug Czar to embrace a multi-dimensional and holistic approach that aims to mitigate the harm done by drug use instead of the traditional just-say-no-ism of past Chief Executives. In 17 months, he led the agency to arrest nearly 18,000 drug offenders including 10 notorious barons across the country. Within the same period, over 2,369 persons were convicted and jailed while more than 11,000 drug users were counselled and treated.
With the numerous achievements recorded by him, even critics of President Buhari’s appointments were unanimous that Buhari got it right this time on his nod in Marwa.
To the admiration of many, Marwa demonstrated his capability and capacity in the operations of the agency with resounding successes.
In words of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, “Greatness can be achieved by an idiot as immortality can be achieved by selected few”. True greatness like true gold is often acknowledge freely and spontaneously by everyone. The leadership style and achievement disposition of Marwa is one which has continued to ensure that the agency keeps recording brilliant feats.
Coming to NDLEA, Dr. Marwa inherited almost a moribund agency with demoralized staff, lacking accommodation, no incentives, stagnation in promotion, lack of training and retraining, unpaid enrolments, a dying agency starved of fund, bereft of meaningful working tools and ingredients expected of a fighter dog.
For example, the agency lacked in no small measure operational vehicles, communication gadgets, rifles, protective equipment and loss of good will with regards foreign aid or assistance. On ground starring at Marwa’s face is an agency that has lost its bearing with partners like the civil societies (NGOs) for successful prosecution of its mandate and has become the uninspiring tootles bulldog to expected fearful and dreadful watchdog. In short, Marwa inherited a rudderless organization leaving him with no choice, but to bolster through the debris of catastrophe.
Marwa who before his latest appointment was Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), that developed a blue print on how to end drug abuse in Nigeria confronted the challenges in his latest appointment frontally putting in place a machinery that viewed the agency in the interim, midterm and long term measures in an all embracing re-organization process for ultimate goals of the organization.
While staff were being motivated through incentives, promotion, initiatives and excellence rewarded, training and retraining is now on stream while essential working tools are being provided. Intelligence and information sharing between the agency and other related bodies as well between the agency and individuals and even countries is encouraged and facilitated.
At no time in the history of the agency had war on drug and other illicit substances has been intensely and ferociously fought or prosecuted on the terrain or habitat of the drug addicts, couriers, barons, individuals or suspected organizations as Marwa’s tenure. The agency under watchful eagle eyes, fights the drug war on land, sea, air and others. The new motivated Marwa’s soldiers with ears to the ground and eyes wide opened now ransack the nooks and crannies of country chasing the addicts, the barons, the couriers and accomplices directly or indirectly involved in the illicit trade.
It is for this reason that the Triangle News International has found it needful to honor him for his commendable and salient contributions through the NDLEA even as we hope that he continues to record more amazing feat, while also serving as a motivation to many out there.