Group scores North East Development Commission high on good governance index, accountability

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National Accountability Watch Group officials at the press conference

By Anthony Maliki

The North East Development Commission (NEDC) has been rated high for entrenching transparency, good governance and accountability in its operations. 

The National Accountability Watch Group (NAWG) said it came to this conclusion after a strategic assessment of NEDC’s operations.   

In an interim report signed by its Executive Director, Dr Okpe Joseph Okpe, on Monday, the group lauded managing director, Mohammed Alkali for ensuring that the commission fulfils its madate to Nigerians. 

Among others, the NAWG noted that under Alkali, the agency has achieved quality leadership, impacted the economy, formulated and implemented programmes and focused on relevant interventions.

Established in 2019, the commission was given the task of  assessing, coordinating, harmonizing, reporting as well as implementing all intervention programmes in the North-East region. 

And according to the group, the Alkali-led agency has so far exceeded its mandate, ensuring that the reconstruction and development of the economy of the region remains a top priority. 

The NAWG further applauded the  management of the NEDC for displaying unalloyed commitment towards fulfilling the mandate of the NEDC in ways too numerous. 

The National Accountability Watch Group, however, urged all relevant stakeholders to extend support to the NEDC in critical areas of intervention. 

Read full report:

Introduction: 

The impact of the Boko Haram insurgency in North-East Nigeria has had negative consequences on the social and economic life in the region. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and properties worth billions of Naira destroyed. The question thus was how to mitigate the impact of the insurgency and this consequently led to the establishment of the North East Development Commission to lead the reconstruction and development of Nigeria’s northeast.  

It is also charged with the responsibility to assess, coordinate, harmonize and report on all intervention programs, and initiatives by the Federal Government or any of its Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), States; and other Development Partners and for the implementation of all programs and initiatives for the North East states; Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, respectively.

Since 2019 when the North East Development Commission commenced operations, it has been reported in some quarters that the NEDC has been proactive in addressing the issues in North-East Nigeria, while in some quarters, it was also stated that the NEDC has not lived up to expectation. 

Thus the need to interrogate the operations of the NEDC prompted the National Accountability Watch Group to undertake a strategic assessment study on the operations of the NEDC from 2019 till date towards putting issues in proper perspectives with regards to fulfilling its mandate of leading the reconstruction and development of North-East Nigeria. 

Governance Indices:

The assessment dwelled on six governance indicators: 

Quality of Leadership

Impact on the economy of North-East Nigeria

Programmes formulation and implementation 

Transparency and accountability 

Relevance of interventions 

Blueprint for development 

Quality of Leadership: 

The National Accountability Watch Group examined the quality of leadership provided by the NEDC management team led by the managing director, Mohammed Alkali. It also scrutinized the leadership drive by the management team towards achieving the strategic mandate of the NEDC. 

After extensive assessment, it was discovered that the management team of the NEDC led by its managing director, Mohammed Alkali has been outstanding in the discharge of their responsibilities. The composition of the management team speaks volumes of round pegs in round holes and this has translated to the entrenchment of synergy amongst the various departments at the NEDC. 

An extensive study of the leadership provided by the NEDC over the two-year period it has been in operation speaks volumes of a management team with eyes on the ball in delivering the mandate of the commission towards addressing the developmental challenges in North-East Nigeria occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency. 

It was also discovered that the management team of the NEDC consist of individuals that are passionate about service and this much has been seen in the work ethics, programmes formulation, and implementation at the NEDC. 

The managing director, Mohammed Alkali has been reputed to have been providing sound leadership direction for the NEDC through the introduction and implementation of sound programmes that have been impactful on the socio-economic life of North-East Nigeria. 

Impact on the economy of North-East Nigeria

The impact of the various intervention of the NEDC in North-East Nigeria was assessed using key indicators on governance. It was realized that in two years the NEDC has been impactful in the economy of North-East Nigeria, which has received commendations from wide and far. 

An example of the impact on the NEDC in the economy of North-East Nigeria is the setting up of an Education Endowment Fund worth N6billion aimed at resuscitating the region’s devastating education sector and rebuild human capital. 

The Fund provides an avenue for the engagement of over 20,000 beneficiaries across the region annually. The fund provides scholarships and training while also building infrastructures in the sector. It was discovered that under this initiative hundreds of thousands have benefited and are making the required impact in North-East Nigeria. This is amongst a host of other notable interventions. 

It was also discovered that the NEDC has also assisted tremendously in the resettlement of displaced persons back to their communities through the creation and provision of basic amenities required for normal life in communities that were affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.  

Programmes formulation and implementation

The various programmes formulated by the NEDC were also scrutinized. It was discovered that the NEDC has instituted various programmes that are suited to bring about meaningful development in North-East Nigeria. This much are visible various infrastructural developments with the NEDC imprints that dot the nook and crannies of North-East Nigeria. 

The NEDC has also been credited to have introduced programmes with a direct impact on the lives of citizens of North-East Nigeria, and this has largely contributed to the reconstruction efforts in the region. 

The NEDC also launched the first phase of Mine Risk Awareness Training under the NEDC Mines Risk Education Project for Local Government Areas in the Northeast. It was also discovered that the NEDC also has in place an ICT resource training programme for youths from states in North-East Nigeria, which has been impactful and given the youths a new lease of life. This is aside from other programmes that have been introduced that have made a meaningful impact in North-East Nigeria. 

The NEDC also initiated programmes that mitigated the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic in states in North-East Nigeria. 

Transparency and accountability:

In assessing the impact of the NEDC in North-East Nigeria, it was discovered that there has been an entrenchment of transparency and accountability in its operations. This much was evident in the implementation of policies and programmes across the states in North-East Nigeria. 

This has also led to the effective utilization of resources in the even distribution of available resources amongst the various states in North-East Nigeria in terms of infrastructural development and provision of humanitarian support to affected communities in North-East Nigeria. There is also a regime of probity in the implementation of the various programmes initiated by the NEDC in North-East Nigeria. 

Relevance of interventions

The relevance of the various interventions of the programmes of the NEDC in North-East Nigeria has been acknowledged by stakeholders in North-East Nigeria. The assessment of the various interventions revealed that the NEDC did understudy the immediate, short-term, and long-term needs of the region and consequently introduced interventions that have had a meaningful impact on the socio-economic life in North-East Nigeria. 

Blueprint for development

The blueprint for the reconstruction and development of North-East Nigeria by the NEDC speaks volumes of its strategic mandate of leading the reconstruction and development of Nigeria’s northeast. This has made great strides in retaking and stabilizing large portions of the North-East. 

Conclusion

The National Accountability Watch Group as a result of this strategic assessment of the operations of the NEDC since incorporations concludes that the NEDC management led by the managing director has lived up to expectations within a short period through the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in its operations. This is indeed laudable and we wish to state that with the programmes and policies of the NEDC, the task of reconstructing and developing the economy of North-East Nigeria remains a top priority of NEDC. 

The management of the NEDC has displayed an unalloyed commitment towards fulfilling the mandate of the NEDC in ways too numerous to mention. 

Recommendation: 

The National Accountability Watch Group as a result of the above stated recommends the following towards boosting the operations of the NEDC: That the relevant stakeholders in North-East Nigeria must extend their support to the NEDC management in critical areas of intervention 

That the NEDC management must ensure that it introduces policies that have short, medium, and long term impact in North-East Nigeria 

That the NEDC management must continue to engage the media constituency in projecting its various interventionist programmes in North-East Nigeria. 

That the political leadership in states in North-East Nigeria must see the NEDC as worthy partners rather than rivals 

That the NEDC must not lose sight of the bigger picture in ensuring it continues to churn our programmes and policies that address the needs of North-East Nigeria towards achieving its strategic action plan for the reconstruction and development of the economy of North-East Nigeria.

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