Reflecting on Yelwa’s giant strides at HYPPADEC

“The growth and development of any society and its people is the highest calling of leadership” – Harvey Firestone, American businessman (1868 – 1938).

The Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) was established by an Act of the National Assembly (HYPPADEC Establishment Act 2010) to address ecological challenges from the operations of hydroelectric dams.

This followed agitations by individuals, groups and formal institutions affected by the construction and operations of these dams in Nigeria. The move was to cushion the ecological, socioeconomic and psychological effect of the dams on the communities that suffered a great deal of imbalances from the projects without commensurate reward to bridge the gap created in their lives.

Since his appointment as the Managing Director of the Hydro Power Development Commission (HYPPADEC) by President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Yelwa has left no one in doubt in his managerial acumen and dexterity in piloting the commission.

Under his leadership, Yelwa, according to the mission and vision of HYPPADEC, has harnessed resources of the commission in the most transparent, acceptable and cost-effective manner towards ameliorating the negative effects of hydroelectric dam operations in HYPPADEC member states, comprising Benue, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger and Plateau.

The managing director has also worked towards bringing equitable and sustainable development that will impact positively on HYPPADEC member states. The commission has left no stone unturned in its swift and prompt response to ameliorate and attend to the needs of member states. Interestingly, the core mandate of the commission is to address ecological challenges being faced by host communities.

“HYPPADEC under my watch discovered that major issues in the host communities, were during rainy season. The communities become so devastated, their farms, schools, homes, hospitals and business premises are flooded and there is the need for prompt response from us as a caring government to some of these challenges to show our love and compassion to the affected communities.

“We have identified over 150 communities that need immediate pipe borne water and solar-powered boreholes to over 120 communities. Plans are underway for the construction of at least 10 hand pumps in each political ward of the affected communities of HYPPADEC states,” Yelwa said.

It is worthy of note to know the far-reaching initiatives being put in place by HYPPADEC leadership in the area of capacity building. The commission embarked on a 4-day capacity building training exercise for the newly recruited staff to ensure efficient service delivery and to equip them with civil service rules, procedures and regulations.

The commission has also distributed 2,500 motorcycles to support security operatives in the affected host states as it believes that no meaningful development can take place in crisis-prone environment.

Interestingly, on assumption of office, Abubakar Sadiq Yelwa carefully selected youth from across the affected states, trained and dispatched them to the 25 political wards for HYPPADEC needs assessment enumeration exercise carrying out and assessing level of environmental degradation, different types of erosion, its impact, flooding and other menace associated with them for field back report to the leadership of the commission.

And as part of measures in carrying critical stakeholders along, HYPPADEC organised a one-day stakeholders’ meeting to brief government functionaries, traditional institutions, local communities and other interest groups on the enumerators’ findings and the approach which the leadership of the commission intends to put in place as a result of devastating effects of the construction of Kainji Dam.

Because youth are the catalyst of any meaningful development of any nation and as part of the laudable initiatives of Sadiq Yelwa and his amiable team towards youth transformation, HYPPADEC has designed series of technical, vocational, domestic and agricultural enterprise programmes that will engage the youth in computer programming such as software engineering, web designing and development maintenance and repairs, electric installations and maintenance, aluminum fabrication, tilling, solar installation and inverter manufacturing, among others.

To show the caring nature of the managing director of HYPPADEC and his amiable team, he rose to the occasion by providing 10,000 live jackets in the affected communities in order to reduce incessant loss of lives from boats mishap.

“The life jackets will be of utmost importance to all boats operators in those communities to save lives”, Abubakar Yelwa said .

Looking at the lofty initiatives put in place by the visionary and dynamic leadership of Sadiq Yelwa and his team in just one year of their inauguration, there is no doubt that affected people in HYPPADEC host communities are enjoying the dividends of setting up the commission.

Ibrahim writes from Abuja via [email protected]