By Namu Sanusi
A silent revolution has been going on at the Plateau State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board since Barrister Auwal Abdullahi was appointed as Executive Secretary in 2018.
An experienced lawyer, administrator and Islamic cleric, he made an immediate, positive impact when he ensured the payment of the estacode of operational staff. This was the first time this was being done in over thirty years and went a long way in boosting the morale of those staff who are the arrowhead of the Board’s Annual Hajj Operation.
It is worthy of note that because of the manner in which the affairs of the Board had deterioted over the years, the Governor Simon Lalong administration had almost lost all hope in the ability of the Board to continue performing its statutory functions. But the advert of Barrister Abdulahi as Executive Secretary brought a new lease of life on the Board and immediately won the confidence of both government and intending pilgrims in the ability of the new management to successfully handle Hajj operations.
One of the ways Barrister Abdullahi has been able to build confidence of intending pilgrims and government is by curbing the corruption that has bedeviling the affairs of the Board, especially in the area of the annual holy pilgrimage of Hajj. On taking over the affairs of the Board, the Executive Secretary found out that the monies paid by some intending pilgrims had been embezzled by officials who were expecting to use free government seats allocated to them to cover up for this.
When this did not work, quite a large number of intending pilgrims could not perform the holy pilgrimage because their nominees had been diverted to personal pockets and squandered. This left the Board heavenly indebted to the tune of millions of naira which the current management dutifully settled, which enabled such individuals to embark on the holy pilgrimage. These dubiously incurred debts had accumulated from 2015 to 2018.
It is to the credit of this astute administrator, whose background as an Islamic cleric has greatly influenced his personal and official conducts, that today there are no more factions in the Board as it used to be in the past. Barrister Abdullahi has been able to bridge the dichotomy that had hitherto existed between the Executive Secretary on the one hand and the Board and some members. He achieved this feat by giving both Board members and members of staff a sense of belonging in the running of the affairs of the Plateau State Muslim Pilgrims Board. This is one of the reasons why there is enhanced productivity, which has in effect ensured the comfort of the state’s pilgrims and their successful observance of the holy pilgrimage since Barrister Abdullahi came on Board in 2018.
Viewed against the background of this silent revolutionist this steadfast and humble public servant has wrought on the Plateau State Muslim Pilgrims Board, it did not therefore come as a surprise to analysts when Governor Simon Lalong reappointed Barrister Abdullahi for a second tenure. Many observers, both in Plateau State and Nigeria as a whole believe that this second term was an endorsement by the same government and a well deserved reward for the wonderful work of the Executive Secretary has so far accomplished. And as Barrister Abdullahi himself has assured, this will serve as an impetus and challenge for him to strive towards achieving even more in order to take Plateau State Pilgrims Welfare Board to greater heights.