By Abubakar Jiddah Usman

It is a norm in governance that, as in the military parlance - *soldier come; soldier go but barracks remain*- there is always a time to come and time to go. What matters is what transpired between the two ends.

It is a truism of life that no one comes to say - I'm here to destroy, but whoever comes his mantra is, I'm here to make things better. It is only the end that can confirm whether things got better, or not.

The Hajj industry in Nigeria, since 1975, when the Federal Government, officially, became fully involved in its affairs, there have been intermittent changes of guard. This apart from the nomadic position the government subjected the industry to, on where it should properly belong to - presidency, foreign affairs, adhoc et al. 

The industry never found its bearing until the year 2007, when it became a Commission by an act of the National Assembly, even at that it has been oscillating between the presidency and the office of the SGF.

From 2007 to this year the Commission has seen and witnessed three times solid change of guard, with the fourth one now.

Unfortunately, though, only its first eight formative years witnessed some relative calm in the bickering, backstabbing, accusations, counter-accusations, condemnation, pull him down syndrome, envy, etc, etc, etc the industry was notoriously known and noted for.

However, to the best of this writer's knowledge, never was there a time these negativity trends got to their crescendo than between 2015 - 2020, when the then Board was seen as not only evil but the monster of Hajj operations in Nigeria. Though candidly speaking, it was not the Board, perse was seen as such, but the head of the Board, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad. However, for any discerning observer, it was not unexpected. From the day his name was submitted to the National Assembly, the arsenal - ballistic, scud missiles et al(including biological weapons) were deployed from expected and unexpected quarters to undo him. It could be vividly remembered that the head of the Senate Committee that screened him and his Commissioners submitted to the Senate that they found all of them competent, and experienced without any iota of blemished records, but that since those within the industry amongst whom are Tour operators and Islamic organizations, Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs, in particular, which claimed it/"they" were not consulted, Malam Abdullahi should therefore be dropped. Allah Being the Ultimate qualifier and disqualifier, made the Senators disregard that suggestion. From thence till 2020 the forces against him never had a wink, either at night or in the afternoon until the very minute their Board was dissolved.

If Abdullahi, whom Nigeria's Hajj history would never be complete, without writing his contributions in gold could be this hated then, I don't think, (I'm not being pessimist), Nigeria will have someone to be celebrated in the industry holding sway at its top.

Of course, Abdullahi is human, susceptible to all human failings, but then take it or leave it, no one has surpassed him in handling Hajj affairs in Nigeria since 1975 to date and his positivities should have been appreciated. I stand to be educated/corrected though with cogent facts.

JALAL ARABI is here now! There are many odds against him. The earlier he, in particular, and all concerned in general appreciate this the better for all of us. Whatever negativities, or failures, Allah Shi kyauta, Shi kuma tsare, that might occur, or be seen, might not be a surprise and therefore, we might not need any hypertensive drugs to lower the pressures.

JALAL ARABI, firstly, from his resume has never been in the industry. This wouldn't have been a problem, if the industry was not mired with cutthroat pull him down syndrome, corruption, and other ills within the industry. To date, I've not interacted with a government parastatal that, those within, hate themselves, almost always everyone digging his colleagues' graves, and those outside trying hard to oust those inside like the Hajj Commission at federal and state levels. If what goes on in the Hajj industry, could take place at NNPC, CBN, FIRS, CUSTOMS, etc, certainly Nigeria would have been grounded today.

Secondly, the time he came on board, and virtually nothing tangible on the ground.

Thirdly exorbitant Hajj fares, exchange rate, and Nigeria's culture of last-minute rush.

Fourthly Saudi guidelines, reviewing, negotiating, and implementation within the timeframe.

Fifthly cooperation from state actors, which could be anything but satisfactory, unless allowed business as usual.

Sixthly, someone might be out there saying Abdullahi is back at NAHCON through a proxy, caring less about the mutual friendship and professional relationship that exists between him and JALAL, NAHCON, or no NAHCON. Therefore whatever good, whatever achievement, and whatever measures for the good of Hajj operations and whatever positive impact JALAL ARABI would make would amount to naught to such a person because of Abdullahi, whom he must hate with passion.

Lastly, JALAL ARABI would do himself no good to think he is in a position to please somebody and anybody.

However, borrow a leaf from Abraham Lincoln, when he said - I'll do what is right and continue doing what's right, if the end brings me out right it does not matter what people say, but if the end brings me out wrong, if ten angels would be swearing I was right, I'll never be right.

JALAL ARABI, people are congratulating you, I'm not! I only pity and sympathize with you because I don't envy you one bit. However, I owe you a big congratulations at the end of your tenure, if I'll be alive then.

For now, I wish you Allah's guidance and protection. Ma'assalamah!

Post a Comment