The First 100 Days of Rt.Hon.Yusuf Buba Yakub as Director General of the Agency.
Following the approval of his appointment as Director-General of the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in late August last year, Rt. Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub arrived the TAC headquarters in Abuja with a very clear mandate:”to hit the ground running” in order to get the 35-year-old Agency for the provision of technical manpower to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries working optimally to contribute its needed quota to the delivery and operationalization of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy goals and objectives across the globe.
Imbued with the imperatives of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, especially as encapsulated in the 4-D foreign policy objectives of the new Administration,the 55-year-old former Federal lawmaker from Adamawa State wasted no time in drawing from the reservoir of the famed managerial acumen garnered from years of experience as a foremost politician,public servant, farmer and human resource developer.
Rt.Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub settled down quickly to the task ahead by galvanizing the human and material elements he met at NTAC to pursue his grand vision of supporting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to quickly realize the dream of a nation that is again respected and admired across all parts of the globe and by doing so, equally, fulfill his ever-burning personal desire to deliver on every assignment he is given even beyond the expectations of those who have invested trust in his abilities.
In line with the mandate of His Excellency,Mr President , Rt. Hon. Buba,who had arrived NTAC a few days after his appointment, had met with the Management and staff of the Agency in a rousing welcome that bespoke of their expectations for the necessary change of guard that would re-energise and retool the TAC machine for a better implementation of its mandate.
To take charge and to align the staff with the vision of the Tinubu Administration on service-delivery to the Nigerian people, Buba in no time quickly met separately with the Directors and Heads of the Departments and Units of the Agency. In doing so, he set before the entire Management staff of the Technical Aid Corps what vision that lay in his heart for the Agency he had earlier oversighted in his last four years as Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in the 9th National Assembly.
During his several engagements and interactions with both staff and supporters ,who came visiting in their numbers,the new Director General, while reminiscing on the need for commitment and continuous work in the development of the Nigerian nation, whether such work is on the side of Government or on the side of the private sector, introduced to all his 3-R Agenda of Re-energising, Repositioning and Re-engineering the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps for greater relevance in the affairs of the nation.He also used the opportunity to stress the importance of hard work and team spirit among diverse stakeholders of the Agency as core drivers and enablers of his vision.He constantly reminded all that even our greatest opportunities in life lie in our continuous engagements in our career pursuits, hobbies and other forms of service to man,all which TAC has been mandated to promote.
Following from past knowledge of his place of assignment, Rt. Hon. Buba new exactly what he was at the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps to achieve.Having interacted well with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters, the Nigerian Missions in about 115 locations across the globe and the Ministry’s Agencies and Departments,he already knew the state of affairs at the place and, as in the many contributions he initiated for the development of the nation’s foreign service,he was here to make things better.
Consequent upon this knowledge and the amount of goodwill and co-operation Buba had received from the welcoming staff at NTAC,he had commenced without delay a string of projects and programmes that were aimed at giving a facelift to the TAC headquarters,re-aligning the Agency with its core mandate and re-establishing its deep relevance among the Technical Aid Corps Scheme’s various stakeholders and partners.
Having taken over the reins of leadership of NTAC on Monday, the 28th of August, from Amb.Mohammed Mohammed, the Agency’s Director of Programmes, who had held forth at the helm of affairs of the Agency when the second and concluding tenure of Dr. Pius Osunyikanmi expired about a month earlier,a new era thus commenced at the Corps with the Rt.Hon.( Dr.) Yusuf Buba Yakub as the new man on the saddle.
As we look back to the first 100 days in office for the NTAC DG, we see in Buba a man who is in a hurry to make impacts,to deliver on his mandate and to push for newer frontiers of development in service to humanity.Following the commencement of renovation work on the entire structure called the NTAC Headquarters on Alex Ekwueme Way at the Jabi area of Abuja,Buba deployed twenty-three Volunteers to Liberia less than three weeks after his assumption of office.
As if the heavy toll occasioned by the deployment on the Agency did not matter at all,the new TAC DG took an immediate tour of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters where he met with the Honourable Minister,Amb.Yusuf Maitama Tuggar and other stakeholders of the Ministry. During the visits, Rt. Hon. Buba elicited commitment to commence an immediate repositioning process of the TAC Mandate, while arguing that the 35-year-old Scheme needed some kind of overhaul in order to contribute meaningfully to the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In order to exemplify the seriousness of his thoughts, Rt.Hon.Buba began moves to do so many things at the same time.He set up an eleven-man Committee headed by a Professor of Political Science and International Relations,Prof.David Zoaka with the Committee comprising retired Ambassadors and Foreign Service Officers,experts in Security and Law as well as experts in Finance and Public Administration.He also commissioned a move to again deploy a set of TAC Volunteers abroad, while arguing that the Agency must at all times continue to carry out activities in the area of its core mandate.
It was not long before the actions of the new NTAC DG began to yield ample fruits. Following the inauguration of the Committee on the repositioning of the TAC Scheme by the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, a new TAC Scheme was about to be born.
As it is,in just under a hundred days as DG of NTAC, Rt. Hon.(Dr.)Yusuf Buba Yakub has not only redefined the operations of the Agency, but has assured that all of its obligations to Volunteers are being met with the speed of light. The above is in spite of new deployments of 23 Volunteers to Liberia, another set of 10 to Uganda and 13 to Zanzibar (Tanzania), among others.
Tha above is not all. Today, Rt. Hon. Buba has since November 26 ensured that the highly beneficial Debriefing and Certificate-Award ceremonies, which were last organised at the Agency many years ago, have been carried out three times for returning Volunteer Professors and PhD holders who ended their 24-month stint in Uganda after serving as Faculty Deans,Directors of School and Senior Lecturers in higher institutions scattered across that country. There were others , who also returned from Sierra Leone and lately the set of thirteen Medical Doctors who returned from Guinea Bissau.
It is a gale of renewed performance at the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps and the entire Management and staff of the Agency are now happy that they are contributing to these recent success stories,thanks to the visionary efforts of the new man on the saddle!
In all of the above, it is important to note that all the requirements, including ticketing, hotel accomodations, local transportation and the settlement of resettlement allowances in respect to the management of the Volunteers have been well-taken care of and managed with corresponding maturity and ease, again thanks to the managerial acumen of the new DG and his able lieutenants.
Today, the new mantra at the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps, which is Rt. Hon. Buba’s 3-R Agenda anchored on Repositioning, Re-energising and Re-engineering the Agency for broader relevance in the affairs of the country has,apart from ensuring that all kinds of infrastructure,vehicles and utilities are optimally upgraded and maintained,has also birthed the idea of expanding the activities of NTAC in the years ahead to cover more technical grounds,forge deeper Multilateral and Triangular co-operation across areas of our coverage and also ensure an increase in the number of those participating in the TAC Scheme,thereby, strengthening the noble vision of the TAC general mandate.
In conclusion,as we look forward to the months ahead at the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps with Rt. Hon. Buba, a man of iron-clad integrity,hard work and forthrightness,on the driving-seat as DG,it is a given that the Agency will continue to foster such values he personally cherishes and espouses.
And in line with his personal vision of building other leaders wherever he finds himself,Buba will continue to have an eye on those whose mandate he believes will be to drive the new NTAC in the years ahead and on the Volunteers who are considered the fruits of the TAC Scheme endeavours.To this end,hard work,honesty, training and re-training at NTAC, including the idea of seeing oneself as an Ambassador of some sort for one’s country whenever one finds oneself outside the shores of our nation,have become the new paradigm upon which to hoist the Agency’s service-driven work ethic for humanity.
While supporting a strong welfarist policy for staff, Buba also believes that staff must co-operate with Management in order to achieve a commonly envisioned goal at all times. It is that kind of co-operation and official synergy that have given birth to the following at the new TAC these past 100 days.
*Deployments to Liberia, The Gambia and Uganda;
*Setting-up of a Special Think-tank and delivery of Report on Repositioning the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps;
*Participation in the Development of the President Tinubu 4-D Foreign Policy Objectives;
*Complete Rehabilitation of the NTAC Headquarters;
* Complete refurbishing and upgrading of near- moribund vehicles at NTAC Headquarters;
*Complete Settlement of Outstanding Entitlements owed Volunteers for June 2023 and on other activities that took even before the appointment of the current TAC DG;
*Debriefing and Settlement Exercises for Volunteers returned from Uganda, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau;
*Complete ICT training for ICT/Media Staff and NYSC members serving at NTAC;
*Building more Bilateral and Multilateral openings for further cooperation for NTAC and the Federal Government;
*Visits of a delegation of NTAC led by Buba to meet with Volunteers, Stakeholders in Recipient countries, such as Uganda, Ruwanda, Tanzania (Azb) and Seychelles,thereby, opening greater opportunities for the Agency’s services and greater global impacts and cooperation with the Tinubu Administration;
*Collaborations of various organizations with NTAC, including,TOSSD,WAHO Chartered Institute of Certified Fraud Investigators, World Institute for Peace,
Chartered Institute of Economists of Nigeria;the National Assembly, Political Parties, Ministry of Education and others to strengthen inter-agency support, collaboration and synergy;
* Intervention on Anti- Corruption Efforts with the ICPC in line with the Tinubu Administration’s zero tolerance for official sleaze ;
* Development of Internet Facilities and new official Website for the entire NTAC;
*Provision of comprehensive, 24-hour security surveillance at the Agency;
*Provision of Easy Telephone access and Communication among the Agency’s workforce and offices;
*Equipping of the Media and Information Unit with the necessary equipment, including cameras, laptops etc;
*Commencement of an In-house publications as Magazines and Newsletters, among others.
Script: Nkem Anyata-Lafia