A new ministry to take care of humanitarian affairs resulting from disasters has just been created with Sadiya Farouq at the head. UJI ABDULLAHI ILIYASU in this report writes that her appointment is akin to a round peg in a round hole.
The name Sadiya Umar Farouq is familiar among Nigerians of diverse cultures and family backgrounds. For a name from an ethnic stock that has cause to seek succour from the federal government because of natural disasters, communal crisis and armed banditry, her appointment is akin to a round peg in a round hole as the pioneer minister in charge of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters and Social Services.
The ministry is, no doubt, new but to the personality charged with the responsibility of pioneering this all-important ministry, the formula might not be too different from when she was in charge of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
The ministry, from all indications, has a lot of significance to her compatriots and as such she undoubtedly needs all the cooperation from federal and state governments, her fellow ministers and Nigerians to succeed.
At the present, no Nigerian is unaware of the regional agitations that have spread from the various geopolitical zones of the country like wild fire.
As we celebrate Hajiya Sadiya and other ministers just sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari, some people who are naturally inclined to sabotaging government’s efforts towards securing the country for the future of our children are fuming and devising strategies to frustrate political leadership at all levels with the intent of giving the government a bad name in order to hang it.
No government has, since the history of the country, been confronted with myriads of problems like the administration of President Buhari. The masses, however, are not deceived; they know their tormentors. That was why they defied calls to vote out Buhari in the last general elections so as not to nip in the bud the benevolent plans he has in store for the masses.
That Nigeria is currently contending with insurgency in the North-east, kidnapping for ransom, herdsmen/farmers clashes in rural areas, banditry in Zamfara and the North-west, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) menace in the South-east, the violent protests of the outlawed Islamic Movement in Nigeria led by Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky and Revolution Now led by Omoyele Sowore is no longer news. Many Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora know that the violent crimes and criminalities are offshoots of corruption fighting back the government that plans to build and strengthen socio-economic institutions rather than making billionaires out of individuals who hitherto turned the country to their personal estate.
Before now, President Buhari had diplomatically dealt with the Niger Delta Avengers and some covert regional agitators whose activities were inimical to the direction of the new administration poised to eradicate all corrupt tendencies.
This is why the task before Sadiya in the new ministry is huge and numerous, but she is equal to the task.
Apart from regional agitations, national disasters like violent storms and the ravaging flood, incident of market fires, accidents on high ways, inter communal crises, displaced persons and the indigent children’s school fees, all of which probably fall under the new ministry, are all begging for attention. Many Nigerians might be expecting the youthful Sadiya to oversee the affairs of the interior ministry, but she has a duty greater than that. Therefore, putting her in a new ministry such as disaster and humanitarian affairs is ideal for a leader who loves challenges.
As federal commissioner
Her exploits as the federal commissioner for refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons has proved that she can stand to any national assignment she could be challenge to undertake.
She came to national prominence when she, for the love of country, voluntarily resigned her position from the National Assembly in order to assist Buharis in his drive for the presidency in 2014.
She served the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) as its national treasurer after an election in which she beat her male challengers.
After the merger, she was reappointed the National Treasurer of the new party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of her probity and accountability while overseeing the CPC treasury.
Sadiya is a picture of a patriotic woman who is a role model to other women and an asset to the country. No wonder she told Blueprint in an interview that her role model was Margaret Thatcher.
While serving in the Commission For Refugees, Migrants And Internally Displaced Persons, she called on all the staff to support her leadership in order to achieve the set tasks.
“We will intensify efforts to rehabilitate victims nationally and empower them in conjunction with local, state, federal governments and the international community,” she said.
“Now that our dear President Muhammadu Buhari, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has regained lost grounds and degraded the Boko Haram insurgency; permit me to appeal to the international community, patriotic Nigerians and you my colleagues in this commission to join in the Operation Back Home (OBH) for Internally Displaced Persons.
“OBH also includes Benue, Ekiti, Enugu, Zamfara and other states displaced by herdsmen, flood and sundry disasters. It is my considered view that IDPs are not only subjected to undue hunger, homelessness but dehumanised. We must put all hands on deck to provide them food, shelter and hope for better life. This is our task.
“We are going to conduct a survey to know who the real IDPs are, know where they are coming from and if it is not safe for them to go back home, we would find a way to make life very comfortable for them for the time being. That is what we are going to do because this thing is not something that can be achieved over night but we would do our best.”
Her previous records
Sadiya had developed a strategic roadmap of action that repositioned the commission as the lead government agency responsible for coordination, protection and assistance of people in distress.
The roadmap focused on total provision of durable solution to IDPs by implementing standardised procedures for utilising research, data gathering and planning for resettling, rehabilitating, reintegrating and readmitting IDPs.
Sadiya has double master Degree from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria.
On completion of her mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) she joined the National Assembly Service Commission as an administrative officer II in 2003 where she rose to the position of principal administrative officer before leaving the commission in 2010 to answer greater national call.
In the National Assembly, she served under the Senate Committee on Aviation as well as the Senate Committee on Appropriation before resigning to join Buhari in the then CPC.
Between 2011 and 2013, she became the national treasurer of the party, and then Interim national treasurer of the APC from 2013-2014 before her appointment as Member, All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council. In the council, she served in the Directorates of Election Planning and Monitoring, Field Operations, and Fund Raising in preparation for the 2015 general elections of which the APC won by defeating former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In September 2016, Hajiya Sadiya was appointed the federal commissioner for National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and now minister of humanitarian services, disasters and social services. With her wealth of experiences better days are ahead.