Dr.Dikwa: The Rise and Meritorious Exit of a Colossus from Public Service
Dr Abubakar Mohammed
Sixty years ago, the clerical and conservative family of Alhaji Kyari and Hajiya Amina were blessed with a child whom they named Mohammed. The boy was born precisely on a Sunday, the 3rd January 1960 in the town of Dikwa which is located in Borno State. He was the youngest of four boys and second to the last born of the family. Unknown to the Dikwas and the people of Borno, the little Mohammad would grow up to be a key player in Nigeria’s public financial sector.
Revealingly, Dr. Dikwa started school in 1971 at Central Primary School, Dikwa through the influence of the Emir of Dikwa and the late Sir Kashim Ibrahim who was an Education Officer in the 1960s. Dr. Dikwa demonstrated excellence through hardwork and diligence at Central Primary School,Dikwa. It was reported by his classmates and teachers that it was a regular occurrence to see him receiving prizes at the palace of the local Chief. This display of excellence in academics and sports became his trademark and made one of his classmates to give him the sobriquet, “Taada hangal kiji” which when loosely translated into English language means, “The boy with the sharp brains.”
After graduating in 1977, Dr. Dikwa and one of his primary school mates were offered provisional admission into Government Secondary School, Gashua where he met people like Dr. Yarima Ngama, Prof. Shettima Abdu and Senator Ahmed Lawan, who were a year ahead of him. When Dr. Dikwa got to Gashua, the late Ali Pindar Kwajjafa was the principal of the school. Kwajjafa was a no- nonsense school Administrator who ensured that conducive atmosphere necessary for learning was maintained at the school. Dr. Dikwa after expectedly graduating with flying colors, taught briefly in Dikwa because of his inherent passion to give back to his community. He is still a part time Lecturer at the University. He later secured admission into Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri to study Town Planning in 1982. He stayed in the Town Planning department for a semester and then, in demonstration of his proactivenes, took a life defining decision – a decision that once more showed that the vintage Mohammed is gifted with unrivaled wisdom and intelligence. Naturally, he is the kind of person who doesn’t stay anywhere he is not being appreciated. He changed his course from Town Planning to Accountancy. He simply followed his intuition after realizing that Town Planning was not for him. Today, we all know and can therefore, boldly say that it was the Almighty who led him to the best profession suitable for him. Although Dr. Dikwa joined the Accountancy department a little bit late, he graduated as the overall best student of Ramat Polytechnic in 1985, as he swept all the prizes and in addition, was offered five automatic employment letters by different banks, the state government and the World Bank’s Project. He took that of the World Bank’s Project.
He started his career in the World Bank project as an Internal Auditor in the Borno Agricultural Development Project known as BODAP. He covered the entire present Borno and Yobe States, regularly visiting places like Jakusko, Damaturu,Biu,Munguno, Gashua just to mention but a few, to take stock of the World Bank’s agricultural inputs interventions especially fertilizer and seedlings. With maximum commitment, Dr. Dikwa displayed efficiency and accountability in the discharge of his duties by visiting all areas of responsibility and rendering account of every penny spent. On numerous occasions, he had returned what was left after his routine visits. The World Bank project’s officials took notice of his excellent performance and professionalism and recommended him for promotions. Dr. Dikwa later on transferred his services to the Borno State Government. His quintessential quest for excellence and competence made him to further his studies. Dr. Dikwa got admitted into the Department of Social and Management Sciences of the University of Maiduguri to study Accountancy. His classmates at the University would recall with great joy how committed, friendly and generous he was to virtually all. Combining studies and work as a civil servant is not an easy task, but Dr. Dikwa managed both perfectly well and graduated with distinction and thereafter, enrolled for a Master’s degree in Accounting and Finance at the same University. Dr Dikwa would later go on to become a Chartered Accountant of international repute and a member of both ICAN and ANAN. He proceeded to Harvard Business School, Oxford, Cambridge, Thames and Business School of the World (Instead, France) to obtain various International certifications in Accounting and Finance. He kept firing on in the academic world unabated until he reached the zenith of it all and obtained the covetous Doctorate in Public Sector Financial Management.
Dr. Dikwa’s professionalism and passion for excellence as an Accountant made him to stand out from the coterie of Accountants in Borno State. It is on record that he is the only Accountant to serve five different military administrators as Chief Accountant at the Government House, Maiduguri. He was diligent, hard working, tolerant, honest, loyal to a fault and also smart. His ability to adapt to different situations and people made it easier for him to work with the military administrators. Some of these military administrators, for example, General Buba Marwa still relate with Dr. Dikwa excellently. It should be noted that General Marwa was the Chairman of the Occasion at the wedding reception of Dr.Amina ( Dr. Dikwa’s daughter). The last military administrator, Group Captain Lawan Ningi and his administration decided to do massive reshuflement in the State Civil Service which saw Dr. Dikwa moved to the Pilgrim’s Welfare Board as Chief Accountant in 1998. It was at the peak of the General Sani Abacha’s era. Not long afterwards, General Abacha died and General Abdussalami Abubakar came in with his new political program which saw the conduct of general elections in 1999.
After the general elections, Alhaji Mala Kachalla of the All People’s Party defeated Alhaji Baba Ahmed Jidda of the People’s Democratic Party to emerge as Governor. Dr. Dikwa didn’t know Governor Kachalla. Obviously, some people who placed the development of Borno State above their personal gains might have recommended him to the Governor knowing that the governor was a man who was in love with merit and excellence. Expectedly, Governor Kachalla did his background checks, obtained Dr. Dikwa’s phone number and placed a call to him. Dr. Dikwa was surprised to hear Governor Kachalla speak to him. In essence, Governor Kachalla introduced himself and made his intentions known to Dr. Dikwa. He blatantly told him that he wanted to make him the state’s Accountant General. To make Dr. Dikwa understand the importance of this appointment, Governor Kachalla told him that the Accountant General and Secretary to the State Government positions were the first major appointments he was going to make.
Dr. Dikwa worked with Governor Kachalla for four years and he was like the Scion of the administration. He was not only transparent and honest to Governor Kachalla but did all to see that the adminstration succeeded through innovative fiscal discipline and laudable projects that showed value for money. The monthly FAAC allocation to Borno as of then was not more than 200 million but it was judiciously and prudently managed.The Mala Kachalla administration was the height of peace building and conflict management in Borno State. It was said that Dr. Dikwa and the Governor Kachalla were regularly seen inspecting road projects in the wee hours of the night. It was common to see the late Kachalla measuring the thickness of the asphalt road with measuring tape which he carried around.
In 2003, some not so honorable politicians collaborated with a vicious group of thugs known as ECOMOG and disrupted the gubernatorial elections. Governor Kachalla was defeated and a new administration that was vindictive took over. Instead of the new government to commend Dr. Dikwa for the laudable initiatives he brought to public financial management in Borno, they chose to do the opposite. Given that Dr. Dikwa doubles as both Accountant General as well as Permanent Secretary at the Borno State Ministry of Finance, the new regime harrased, blackmailed and persecuted him but at the end of the day, the truth prevailed and Dr. Dikwa got vindicated.
Shortly after that, Dr. Dikwa moved to the Federal Civil Service as an Assistant Director in 2003. Most of the people who were in the same level with him who moved to the Federal Civil Service where absorbed as Deputy Directors but Dr. Dikwa, though better qualified than most of them was absorbed as an Assistant Director. Still, he never complained, grumbled or made any protests because although he is not a complacent individual, he is naturally a contented and patient person who believes that God will ultimately make things to work out well for him.
As Assistant Director in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Dr.Dikwa attracted the attention of his colleagues and superiors because of his diligence, hard work,easy going nature, team spirit and innovative ideas. Even as State Accountant General, Dr. Dikwa introduced innovative ideas like e-payment,e-collection and computerisation of all financial transactions and data. He was also credited with changing the normenclature of Director of Finance and Supplies (DFA) to Director of Finance and Accounts( DFA) so as to professionalize the accounting sector in Borno State. Prior to his assumption as Accountant General in Borno, it was common to see Marketing and Business Mangement graduates working as Accountant in the Civil service but immediately he took over, he made it compulsory for anyone who wanted to continue as an Accountant to obtain an Accounting qualification from the polytechnic and university or obtain an ICAN or ANAN certification. At the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Dr. Dikwa introduced innovative ideas like Cash Management policy, GIFMIS,IPPIS, Efficiency Unit and so on. When Kemi Adeosun was appointed as Finance Minister, she was advised by her confidants to get Dr. Dikwa if she wants to see results as Minister of Finance especially in the area of public financial management in the country. She collaborated with him and formed the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing (PICA) which had saved Nigeria billions of Naira and weeded out over 50,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government’s payroll. Apart from that, innovative solutions like Whistle Blower and Treasury Single Account that have helped the Buhari administration to identify and apprehend corrupt persons were either conceived or midwifed by him.There is virtually no innovative solution or concept in the nation’s public financial management sector that has taken place within the last 16 years that doesn’t have the input of Dr. Dikwa.
In 2018, the Federal Civil Service conducted promotion examination for Directors to be considered for promotion as permanent secretaries. Dr. Dikwa who has written numerous books on public sector financial management which many Directors consulted for promotional exams ironically, had been bypassed for consideration as Permanent Secretary even though many Directors who were once his junior had been considered and elevated to Permanent Secretaries. But in 2018, he sat for the examination and came out as the overall best. The President who values excellence wasted no time in confirming him as a Federal Permanent Secretary where he was asked to be the pioneer Chief operating officer of the Special Duties Department at the nation’s Finance Ministry. He was asked to oversee and coordinate public sector financial reforms, debt servicing,make recommendations, review the functions of MDAs through a risk based approach, exercise oversight responsibilities,transform internal audit practice etc.
The contributions of Dr. Dikwa to the government and people of Nigeria are numerous but they can be summarize into seven:
1. Entrenchment of fiscal discipline and probity in the management of public resources.
2. Professionalism and diligence in public service. His transparency and incorruptibility will forever be a reference point to civil servants. Bayo Adams of Periscope Consulting was right when he said that Dr. Dikwa’s “integrity is next to none.”
3. Strengthening of the Federal Civil Service through rigorous training,study materials and mentorship. His Public Servant’s Companion series are read by Civil servants all over the country.
4. Introduction of innovative ideas like the TSA, Whistle Blower and Continuous Auditing.
5. His efforts and his team had saved Nigeria billions of Naira and millions of dollars.
6. Efficiency in public financial management which saw oil marketers and all persons doing business with the government being attended to in short period of time. It’s on record that there was never a time in the entire career of Dr. Dikwa as a public servant where anybody has to bribe him in anyway to discharge his duties.
7. The last but not least is that Dr. Dikwa is one person who has been able to show to civil servants how to lead as a detribalised leader. It’s no longer news that most senior civil servants in the rank of either Director or Permanent Secretary are fond of assembling staff from their ethnic or religious group thus if the Permanent Secretary is Kanuri and Muslim,all his personal staff will be Kanuris or at most from his state and must be Muslims. But we don’t see this in Dr. Dikwa’s office because his staff is a mix. In fact, there is only one Kanuri there as a staff.
Come January 3rd, 2020, Nigeria is going to witness the exit of one of its finest public servant who is in the same league with legendary public servants like Ibrahim Damcida, Phillip Asiodu and Ahmed Joda. I believe that Dr. Dikwa would have been allowed to stay like other Permanent Secretaries who were given tenure extension by the President if he wants but he chose to lead by example and obey the Civil Service rules as a good public servant. The Civil Service rules states that a civil servant must resign after putting in 35 years of service or reaching the age of 60. The law is the law. It’s good to note that even though some Permanent Secretaries who are above 60 are still in the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Dikwa has shown decorum and grace by complying with the laws of the land. His willingness to retire means that he has nothing to fear or hide; that there is life after office.
As this outstanding Nigerian clocks 60 and bows out of the Civil Service , I want to use this medium to tell him that Nigerians still need him more than ever before; that even though he is retiring from the Civil Service because he wants to comply with the law, we know that he is not tired,that the Buhari administration still needs him. I therefore, call on the government to engage him in a higher capacity to serve his Fatherland even better. Lastly, granting to this gentleman by the Federal Government, the National Honors (Commander of the Order of the Niger), may not be a bad idea.
Mohammed writes from Lagos
Nigeria, 60 years after independence, still toddling
Nigeria, 60 years after independence, still toddling
By Haruna Yusuf
Today marks 60 years of independence from British colonial rule. Nigeria gained her independence on 1st October 1960. Nigeria is among the 17 African countries who seek liberation and got their independence, as Ghana got hers in1957, 3 years before Nigeria.
Nigeria is among the largest, if not the largest country in Africa with the population of about 180million people with different cultural backgrounds, heritages and believes. Nigeria with it’s diversify, abundant natural and human resources, yet rated the third country with the most poorest individuals as citizens.
Nigeria’s recent history has been a mixed picture of partial progress and woeful setbacks, marked by democratic stability, economic woes, corruption and pocket of progress amid development, education and damning health challenges among others.
Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as citizens narrowly escaped from colonial dominations and slavery only to enter into a new and premeditated covert era of resources exploitation and subjection.
Nigeria with all modesty witnessed a peaceful transfer of power in its recent elections, in which President Muhammdu Buhari the incumbent defeated Good luck Ebele Jonathan in a tight presidential race in 2015.
Good luck Jonathan faced tribulations from the present ruling all progressive congress (APC) which was the powerful opposition, accusation of financial mismanagement, abuse of political power, lack of will to settle the issues of insecurity, health, power and unemployment among other issues that was holding Nigeria to ransom, but now, reverse is the case.
Nigeria was one of Africa’s giant and most dynamic economics for many years after independence during the military era of Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria was the largest coco export in Africa. But six decades on, Nigeria is mired in problems, still struggling to build an economic model that encourages enduring growth, addresses poverty and provides a future for its youth.
Youth “explosion” the most dangerous and consuming factor facing [email protected] the moment. ” The most striking change for me, is the increasing reality of disaffected youth- a younger population that is ready to explode at any slightest opportunity. They’re hungry for political emancipation of freedoms, they’re hungry for economic opportunities and they’re hungry for social fulfilment.
Joblessness is a major peril, unemployed youths are the easiest prey for armed groups, especially the decade nightmare engulfing the peace and stability of Nigeria especially in the northeast (Boko Haram) Northwest/ central the kidnappers and armed bandits while the south/east the rising cultism, ritualist and rape among others. The Jihadi movements in the sahel became a stumbling block for development and dividend of democracy. This may always be tempted to risk clandestine emigration, often at the cost of their dare lives.
Poverty, injustice and inequality is the greatest factor crippling the peace and stability of Nigeria. A country bound by a repugnance and remorseful constitution that seems applicable to only the vulnerable and irrelevant in the society. A country so blinded by hate and cumulating sentimentalists, a country where “everyone else” is a hypocrite in his/her own way. A country with so many educated illiterates and maybe a country with many delusional and deranged ideologist.
If and only, we can trace and see in the realm of Nigeria, not through but above our noses how blessed this country is, both in human and natural resources, then and there,we’ll have embraced nature and make a better part out of our miserable life.
The bleak future and clouded uncertainties we found ourselves in, is a manmade and calculated proportion that could’ve been averted if we ever had wished to be contained, but we are blinded by hatred for one another and tied to sentiment and inflicted by our delusional ideologies of divide and rule instead of oneness and coexistence.
It is a pity to say, but it’s quite unfortunate in a normal view that politics is unrelated to our every day life, the country of Nigeria has three embodied arms of Government that the average person knows nothing about and should’ve a problem with, especially when it comes to the political publicity and awareness. The undiluted truth about Nigeria political system isn’t always about the people that it suppose to be as constituted in democracy nor the Government that supposed to be for the people, by and with the people. But ultimate “power” to extort and subject the same people tribulation.
Corruption is a monster that has brought about catastrophic setbacks and maiming of millions of vulnerable Nigerians from independence to military dictatorship to this acclaimed present day democrazy.
Nigeria has not recovered from the diabolic thievery of Abatcha and his acolytes, thousands have died perhaps more than in a holocaust, thousands are still dying due to our potholes on the roads, insecurity, lack of portable drinking water, medical healthcare facilities among others.
Corruption in Nigeria is more of malicious than civil war, communal clashes and Boko haram combined. Our politicians always have their ways through the maze by bribing and buying the conscience of the electorates.
Democracy and Nigeria are like Siamese twins, through conjoined very maneuvering, they are uncomfortable and under intense pressure that could result in all forms of hurt, even death, although, democracy may not be strange to an overwhelming percentage of Nigerians, what may be strange to them is the brand of democracy that invests, first and foremost in human and material resources for purposes of political stability, economic viability, scientific advancement, technical breakthrough, educational development and life-enhancing social services, given the general optimism that Nigeria was going to be the bastion of democracy in Africa.
A lot has to be done and some has to be let go, before we can come out of the spirit of crippling and stagnating bondages.
A piece by Haruna Yusuf the publisher of Daily Hint Newspapers
Buni: A tireless and resolute champion
Buni : A tireless and resolute champion
By Haruna Yusuf
His excellency, Mai Mala Buni, the executive Governor of Yobe state and the chairman of the ruling all progressive congress (APC) caretaker/Extraordinary national convention.Buni is always known to be a game changer and it is believed he has whatever it takes to turn around the fortunes of his state to the best and also bring back sanity in APC.
Buni’s antecedents stem from the beginning of his political career as a ward councillor at a tender age and rose rather rapidly through the political atmosphere of Yobe to the National/Secretary, now caretaker chairman of the ruling all progressive congress.
There are times when we make history and there times when history makes us, Buni’s main characteristics are resilience, consistency, knowledge, people -skill, motivational approach and leading by example..What really made him great is, his foresight, vision, strategic planning and ability to serve, a leader par excellence.
Loyalty is something one should take very seriously, because loyalty is everything, whether it’s a friendship, relationship or a boss as an example. Putting your trust in someone and being loyal to them is something that is rare this days and hard to come by, people are brought up in different ways based on culture and believes, but what made Buni genuine is loyalty, consistency and honesty at all times, he is brave in his thinking and daring in action, that’s why he accomplishes everything he stands for and this assignment of reconciliation and bringing back sanity in APC is not and would not be an exception.
Today everyone can see Buni’s report card, he has scored extremely well, he has shown prudence especially in the use of merger resources of his state and the assignment of bringing sanity back in the ruling all progressive (congress APC) as the caretaker chairman. He is quite, very peaceful, not a noise maker but delivering on the job he signed for. Even as a National secretary of the ruling party he towered above his contemporaries in being an astute manager of people, a discipline leader and someone to be trusted with the state’s lean treasury to perform miracle, that lends credence to why we should appreciate the courage and sincerity of purpose of this personality in rising to the sacred state and national duty.
Gov. Buni has so far, proved to be the best in governance and service delivery mandate, a level headed leader who is beyond reproach, he comes as consensus builder and one individual who will never improve himself at the expense of the people of the state, he is known and certified to be an astute manager of people and All-inclusive leader at all times.
Buni before now, has maintained a constraint office of the ruling all progressive congress (APC) National secretary, a role that comes with high visibility, but average authority, still when judged by how well he was able to operate within the ambit, his records are strong, exemplary, transparent and committed in resolving internal crisis, this offers good example of Buni’s leadership style before emerging the Yobe state Governor.
Gov. Buni Restoring Sanity in APC
Gov. Buni Restoring Sanity in APC
By Haruna Yusuf Abuja
The chairman of the ruling All progressive congress (APC) caretaker/Extraordinary National convention committee and the Yobe state Governor, Hon. Mai Mala Buni is an astute manager of people and an all inclusive leader who carries everyone along irrespective of tribe, religion or political inclination. On assumption of office as the caretaker chairman of the ruling all progressive congress, the first and bold step he took was to pay homage/consult to the party leaders, he first visited Bisi Akande who is also relevant in the party politics before meeting with the cofounder Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu to seek for support and advice on how to sanitize and bring back all the aggrieved members who left or stopped participating in the party affairs for one reason or the other.
The APC caretaker chairman, in his inaugural address after members of the committee were inaugurated assured party members that his led committee would work tirelessly on both short and long term strategies to reposition and bring the lost sanity back to the party, but all he will need is the support and cooperation of the members in other to achieve the reconciliation exercise, all hands must be on deck.
This is therefore another opportunity for Buni to bring complete sanity
back in APC, with his courage of conviction and sense of purpose as the national secretary of the party for 5 years, it is time to show the world what he has achieved in the task to chart the critical path to total political and economic emancipation of the people from the grip of PDP in the 2015 general elections.
With all modesty, one political truth about Buni, is that he is a man gifted with a high degree of intelligence, experience, charismatic leadership and steadfastness needed to fix and restore sanity in APC, with his political insight in the game. Hon. Mai Mala Buni is among those who ushered in the current political dispensation and was the pioneer Yobe state chairman of the Action congress (AC) and later the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) who are both legacy of APC.
No one can go back in time to change what has happened, so, let’s work on the present to make our party one united family and stronger, Buni said. politicians will always have one of their own because the National chairman of the ruling All progressive congress (APC) Hon. Mai Mala Buni was Born and bred by politics, he became a councillor when the NRC and SDP were birthed. Records of Buni’s Journey through the maze of Nigeria politics indicates that though he may have been or still is the most charismatic and industrious servant, his sweetest dreams somehow always seem to evade him at the moment he needs them the most.
Gov. Buni is one man you’ll always want in your corner during political battle s, his frankness on issues is second to none and always maintained his word. In his few days as the National Chairman of the ruling all progressive congress (APC) he demonstrated to party members and Nigeria as a whole that ” he who calls for equity must come with clean hands” making it clear that the party can contain all and sundry, also ready and willing to resolve all issues with every aggrieved member. That the door is always opened for negotiation and welcoming new members to the progressives.
Mai Mala Buni is known as Mr “Fixer” on his assumption of office he has received Dogara Yakubu and Senator Isah Misau the two powerful political gladiators from Bauchi, Returnees from across the states and he reconciled Edo/Ondo and put in place machineries ahead of the elections.
He reconciled all the APC state chairmen and pleaded with all the aggrieved party members who left to come back and partake in the affairs of the party, that’s the beginning of the return of sanity in APC.
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