By RICHARD AUGUSTINE
A gold fish is never hidden! To whom much is expected much is giving, he is so accessible even to the lame and his antecedence are so visible to the blind audible to the deaf a performer per excellence.
His appointment to head the National Hajj Commission of Nigerian was the right and best thing that has happened to the agency. The journey all started from kaduna state as a former SA to the then executive secretary of kaduna state Muslims pilgrims welfare board.
That young man is Barr Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammed, MON, the Chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria. A former Special Assistant to the then Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, a one-time Director of Operation, a former Executive Secretary of Kaduna state Muslim pilgrims board for nine years and, no wonder he can’t be let go, his wealth of experience and humility catapulted him to appointed as, the Permanent Commissioner in charge of Operation in NAHCON.
Eventhough he Bar. Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammad is not perfect, comparatively speaking, since he joined the Hajj commission, the entire system has not been the same from what is use to be. The impact of his achievements in hajj operation cannot be measured properly unless it is subject to comparative analysis of ‘what was obtained before and what it is thereafter.
To do that, let’s look at his achievements from Kaduna State as Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Pilgrims Welfare Board. Pioneered securing of standard accommodation for Kaduna State pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, pioneered screening of all intending pilgrims; introduced wearing of uniforms by pilgrims; pioneered the weighing of pilgrims in Makkah; pioneered bi-weekly enlightenment of pilgrims at all registration centres; pioneered the collection of Hajj fares through bank drafts at designated centres. He also pioneered the automation of the entire Hajj activities which ease processing and reduce corruption and manipulation; introduced separation of males and females accommodation at Makkah, Madinah and also during the stay at Muna and Arafat; Introduced medical screening of pilgrims at the Hajj camp before departure to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of collecting necessary medical data, Introduction of members of the judiciary among state hajj officials to deter and prosecute Hajj-related offences;
He also creates zonal offices to decentralize and have effective coordination; Introduction of release of BTA in instalments to the pilgrims which helped greatly in reducing theft, loss and destitution; introduced medical kits which contain items for personal use of each pilgrim to prevent the spread of any skin or blood related diseases; pioneered practical training on Hajj rituals and production of educational materials in form of books, cassettes and CD’s; pioneered the electronic system of registration for pilgrims. He also introduced the standardization of medical screening for pilgrims in the State. He pioneered the conduct of a popular radio Hajj quiz programme (Kalubalenku Maniyyata ) aired live over FRCN Kaduna. He championed the introduction of inspection, assessment, scoring and rating templates for all Hajj and Umrah service providers which brought uniformity and consistency in assessments, appraisals and grading of services and service providers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
In 2011 he joined the National commission as the Commissioner in charge of Operations Inspectorate and Licensing, he Barr Abdullahi Mukhtar took over the leadership of NAHCON from an incorruptible man, a man who those not compromise standard, a detribalise Nigerian a man who brought some sanity in Hajj operations and prepared grounds for the incumbent. The said man has not relented in his services for humanity he remains Mal. Mohammad MUSA Bello the current ministers of FCT. Today his giant strides is fast changing the face of FCT and bringing succur to not just the resisdence of FCT but also making the Nation proud before international community. However He Bar. Abdullahi Mohammad Mukhtar therefore built on what the pioneer Chairman of NAHCON, Mal Muhammad Musa Bello, achieved . During the period, he initiated and perfected a system of reconciliation of accounts for many services enjoyed by pilgrims through the Inspectorate and Compliance Unit under his Department. Various service tracking tools were put in place as a result of which services such as airlift, pilgrims’ accommodation, services to Tour Operators pilgrims, were not only guided by executable agreements but were monitored using such tools. The young man started fighting corruption in the system in preperation and support for President Buhari campaign against corruption sanitizing the system. The introduction and gradual enforcement of these, which were aimed at ensuring pilgrims get value for money, gathered momentum in 2011. The culmination is what the public is witnessing today.
I can not conclude this article without stating most importantly the saving made by the Commission to the sum of $ 2,376,908.89 from the Commission’s off-shore operation of the 2015 Hajj.
During the 2016 Hajj operation, the rate of exchange was N197 to $1 as issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, approved by the Federal Government. In 2016, the total offshore component was $5,076.41, which is higher than the 2017 Hajj offshore operation cost by $221.27. Unfortunately, the savings of $221.27 could not absorb the effect of the shock caused by the devaluation of the naira vis-a-vis the US dollar
He Bar. Abdullahi Mukhtar never allowed himself to be intimidated by the devaluation of naira to doller or the recession during the period, he was able to generate and make saving In the current year, 2017, amounting to $4,855.14 for the 2017 Hajj.
The 2017 Hajj recorded a tremendous and laudable improvement in the welfare of pilgrims in term of accomodation and feeding, for the first time he constituted a committee under his direct supervision the committe was saddle with the responsibility of providing palatable variaty feeding for Nigerian pilgrims. Record has it that only Nigerian pilgrims got an exceptional value for their money.
We are not surprise that some mischief makers who are bent on sabotaging President Buhari effort to transform and better the life of Nigerias through people who are serving their fathers lands and making endless sacrifices like Bar Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammad.
People have been reacting strongly both for and against Bar. Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammad, but with his decision to raise his humanitarian sights; the odds are good that more people are for him than against him now. We therefore challenge the people to rally round Bar. Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammad, and make optimum use of the shrewd and hardworking young man.
It is said the result for hard work is more work, we at this time as our reward to Bar. Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammad is to call on President Buhari to reward him with more work, Nigeria needs him, the people want him.
Richard Augustine, a public affairs analyst writes from Abuja