Two Years of Purposeful Reforms by Dr. Muheeba Dankaka at FCC: A Scorecard

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It was the great Mikhail Gorbachev, a former President of Russia and the proponent of the Russian implemented economic theory. who asserted in the heat of the implementation of his reforms programmes that a pessimist is a well Informed optimist.

That is true today of the reforms being carried out by the chairperson of Nigeria’s Federal Character Commission (FCC) immediately she was appointed as the helmswoman of the commission by our amiable President, Muhammadu Buhari.

The former Russian leader was aware that it was time for change in Russia and if Russia is to embrace change then they needed a leader who believes in this change. Make no mistake about it, the Nigerian masses voted for change when they elected President Buhari to lead them as their leader.Truely as expected change became the slogan and mantra of the administration. Apart from some few interest peddlars and rent seekers who have for so long fed fat to the detriment of the Nigerian people, our people were glad and full of Hope and expectation when they heard of the resolve of the President to appoint the strong willed but incorrigiible Dr Muheeba Dankaka, as the new head of the Federal Character Commission.

It is therefore imperative to say correctly that the chairman was appointed to implement to the letter the laws that created the FCC and in the process implement our federal character principles in such a way that would impact positively on the unity, stability and cohesion of our diverse but United people.

With Dr. Muheeba Dankaka, it was therefore time to change the narratives at the commission because she believes that once she succeeded in addressing the factors militating against the implementation of our Federal character laws from within the implementing institution, she would have achieved the reforms mandated by the President.

This piece speaks to two fundamental drive: The imperatives of managing our diverse constituents and the urgency of how that didn’t etsity management will impact the optimal efficiency of the public service which many see as the engine of growth and development of any country by the reforms introduced by the chairman.

This is because there is today no way we can gainsay the significance of the Federal Character Commission to the nation’s governance and development project.

The President must be commended by all because when making this appointment he no doubt in his mind that Muheeba Dankaka’s leadership sophistication, sincererity of purpose and a machinery of state and a back end of a re-proffessionalised manned by a real breed of acclaimed public managers holds the keys to the transformation of our national unity in the midst of positive diversity and into a capable developmental state and that was what from abinitio, her leadership and headship of the commission was meant to represent.

She immediately also sets out from the beginning to improve through her reforms, to improve the capacity of the state to institute good governance that will bring her diversity and diverse people together.

She understands her mandate very well and she stood by it and was simply, to develop a reform and roadmap a process which will tackle the major challenges that lies ahead squarely within the conception and implementation of an institutionalised and governance reforms mechanisms that will deliver a former diversity management model within which the public service can achieve a democratic service delivery to all Nigerian.

Her appointment, no doubt, is a pointer and signal to all cynics that this time around, our country is serious about implementing a vivid and capable reforms programmes in a right direction that our country seeks and have craved for. Her reforms simply targets from abinitio, the FCC to make it a strong institution because prior to her appointment was seen as a conduit pipe for the selling of jobs and influence peddling and secondly her reforms also targeted the general public service in the country which hitherto by the time it became consolidated since it’s inauguration in 1954 and till Nigeria’s independence in 1960, had become an instrumental tool by which the political elites intervene in the economy and the society. Its weberian framework allowed it to become within a post colonial context Nigeria, a significant political institution that can facilitate political interventions.

That reality, though dissappointingly with the military intervention from 1966, of occupying the commanding height of the economy.

This translates into a centralisation of the Nigerian state that went contrary to the principles of federalism and this was not the end of the story because independence also brought to light the real fundamental nature of the Nigerian diversity and one of the significant consequences of the 1914 almagamation efforts.

For instance, with the coming into force of the Nigerianization policy, the political leadership has to face the import of the diversity of the Nigerian state and the urgent need of managing it to keep the integrity of the country as a nation-state.

The choice of filling the civil service positions left by the colonialists was between meritocracy and representatives and that is what the Amazon, Muheeba Dankaka is reforming and managing today.

The idea of representativeness in a pluralistic society like Nigeria seems unassailable enough today if we are to be realistic. There must be a mechanism that would provide the instrumentality of institutional framework to give everyone a sense of belonging in their own country. No wonder that the concept of the Federal character was inserted into the Nigerian constitution by October 1975, by the reformist General Murtala Mohammed. This was to serve as the formal principle of the quota system determining who enters the civil service and other institutional allocations to the diverse entities which claims the souls of Nigeria.

Without prejudice, we need to appreciate and acknowledge the ingenuity of the reforms and capable leadership resources of the present chairperson of the Federal character commission, Dr Muheeba Dankaka because for over two years yet of her appointment, she had deliberately entrenched through a well mirrored and researched reforms programmes, the resuscitation of the practicalability of the Federal character principles through the Federal character commission.

The new FCC under her has become a strong institution that is facilitating national integration in our diversity and a lot have been achieved in that regard and most importantly, under her there is now an ethical I’m mosaic that decorates beautifully, Nigeria’s institutional arrangements that shows fidelity to this principles and you can see in this sense different ethnic presence and this has become a gateway to creative managerial dynamics and that is simply the Muheeba Dankaka’s reform and implementation strategy at work.

Unfortunately, like experienced everywhere in the world, reforms initiatives are mostly resisted everywhere in the world by powerful forces hell bent in maximizing their rent seeking propensities. Muheeba Dankaka was vehemently attached by the same hawks who have vowed to continue with th business as usual attitude against the chairman’s good intentions to reform the FCC for the unity and progress of our dear country.

The Chairman, who’ many knew was strong willed was never perturbed because thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari who understands that reforms implementations are no ta parties, he gave her total support which gave her the driving vitality to go on and succeed.

The major sin of the chairman against the hawks who do not want her to succeed was that she refused to play ball against their whims and caprices by not allowing the Federal Character Commission to be used as usual and be subjected to so many alterations and caricatures in practice in total disregard to the norms of the past which has made the commission the Haven and axis of corrupton.

The chairman from abinitio knows for her to succeed she has to confront this powerful forces who where so powerful enough to use the media to throw every imaginable diatribes and baseless accussations at her to convince the general public and most importantly the anti-cirruption agencies that she needs to be fired but she was not erturber because their antics spurred her more to resolve to do more reforms implementations to clear the augean stables at the FCC.

To her allowing them to continue with the system of the past at the FCC is akin to re-approving the attitudes of the past which has made the commission degenerates into allowing her reforms and new policies initiatives meant to bring the commission alive to it’s responsibilities of being a strong institution for the sole purpose of implementing our federal character principles based on laws and not the whims of selected powerful personalities.

Her resistance against this powerful forces was also a holistic and practical signs to those powerful Hawks that the new FCC is one that is ready to embrace absystematic departures from the past ways of doing things,through reforms, to a pragmatic approach to the future even though when it entails swallowing the bitter pills.

These approaches have made allowing her reforms initiatives and polices becoming an opportunity cost for mediocracy and inefficiency impossible but paved the way for meritocracy and efficiency.

To her also the reason for the total degeneration of the an enforcing institution was not far fetched. The federal character principles arrived in the Nigerian constitutional framework of the Nigerian state, as a political solution. As a political solution therefore, it was allowed to be seen facilitated into a terrible transposition that in the past, made politics its independent variables, while the achievement of the efficiency in the delivery of public goods and services became a dependable variable. She would not allow it this time around because if she does and made this transposition becomes otherwise then the critical relationship between diversity management and competency-based human resources management would have become immediately obvious.

The successes of her reforms initiatives, no one can say any longer or contest the fact that there is basically a casual relationship between proffessionalism, competent human resources, efficient managerial Dynamics and service delivery successes at the FCC today.

It is this mix in her reforming propensity that the Federal character principles was meant to internet and this was meant to allow it to be able to factor the creativity of diversity management with the creativity that such diverse human resources and their emotional, social and cultural capitals can bring to bear in the service delivery objectives of the government.

Today, the politicization of the implementation of the Federal character principles have very much abated under Mueba Dankaka to almost a zero level due to her comprehensive and all embracing reforms.We can now be assured that even after her, we can continue to be witnesses that the most beautiful and ingenious concept of federal character in Nigeria has evolved and so also the peace and unity of our country through our diversities is being tailored because this reforms can no longer be fundamentally circumscribed as a solid bases if our human resources management in our public services.This is mostly true in terms of professionalism and meritoc.

The successes of her reforms initiatives so far over the past two years have shown that we can now theorize that there is a causal relationship between the Federal character principles of our country as a framework of diversity management, low productivity in the national economy and an inefficient service delivery that has not been able to backstop good governance in our country.

Her reforms have strengthened the provisions of the Federal character principles by preventing it from being porous as to facilitate the distortions of the recruitments and selection processes in ways that allows for incompetence and inefficient workers to enter the service. This she knows would in turn, if allowed, impact negatively on confirmation, deployment, performances appraisal, promotion and reward management with strong implications for the workers productivity and indeed service delivery.

Breaking down the impact of Muheeba Dankaka’s reforms in the FCC over the last two years.

Let us now properly breakdown the impact of the reforms of the chairman of the Nigerian federal character commission, Hajia Muheeba Dankaka, over the last two years since her appointment.

Two crucial things that her reforms have righted and is now a source of positives to the implementation efforts of her total reforms is that there was foerly a level of significant arbitrariness that has crept into the FCC operational dynamics because of a lacuna-the absence of an operational guidelines that is definitely and adequate enough to speak to the necessity of a balance between equity and efficiency in the applications of the principles. These, her reforms, have practically taken care of.

Secondly, there was the absence of a requisite political will to compel the proper applications of our FCC laws but today, it is visible and available because the chairman was convinced that for her sets of reforms to be successful, the implications of not setting this basically norms that many see as a prerequisite for successful implementations and eliminating the past mistakes because failures in righting this anomalies would be a recipe for the invatio s of the integrity and standards of public bureaucracy as well as other governmental bodies that requires protections against the vagaries of politics.

It was within this loopholes that it was discovered that it became possible that the recruitment exercises would be weigh down by subjective biases that makes favouritism and nepotism possible, rather than the qualifications of individuals based on objective job descriptions and selection parameters, importantly too, her reforms efforts blocked the check that allowed institutions and governmental establishments to be filled with incompetent and efficient staffs all wallowing in ethno-centric, and religious prejudices.

It took little reflections before she saw why it becomes difficult to recruit the best and the most qualified for any specific position. Her reforms have cemented the noticed crack and made it possible for our nation’s institutional capacity development and professionalism are no longer sub-ordinate to the politics that our nation formerly plays with her destiny.

The capacity of the FCC to monitor any sleaze in recruitments is no longer in doubt as today she has created the department of monitoring and evaluation to monitor and expediently attend to complains from the general public on reported or discovered sales of jobs opportunities in the MDA’s and it immediately became the answer.

Finally, Muheeba Dankaka’s reforms at the FCC has created recuperating meritocracy, professionalism and a competency based human resources management that instigates competency in the Federal civil service. It has also instigated a deep seated structural, systemic and institutional reforms that ate not only targeted at the establishment of performance management system.

Going forward and the road ahead:

Going forward, she needs our supports to make our federal character principle work for us all. Our unity and developmental efforts must be our utmost responsibility as a people. We must support her rather than stampeding her from introducing a more rigorous reforming programmes and initiatives to take us to the promise Land of using our diversity in strengthening our unity through equity, justice and peace to all through the instrumentality of a strong ombudsman: The Federal character commission.

Going forward, it is advisable that she moved a step higher by implementing her much avowed culture change initiatives which should target the establishment of a performance management system.

Madam, we wish you well and happy two golden years in office. More grease to your efforts of reforms as posterity would judge you, positively.

– Musa Wada writes from Abuja.

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