The coming of Barry Ndiomu as Presidential Amnesty Interim Coordinator

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Barry Ndiomu, Interim Coordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme

By; Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi

The recent disengagement of Colonel Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), as the interim Coordinator, Amnesty Programme after two years of being in saddle, by President Muhammadu Buhari, precisely on Thursday September 15, 2022, and has in his place, appointed Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (retd ), has again shown that Bosses are neither a title on the organization chart nor a function. But they are individuals and are entitled to do their work. It is incumbent for the occupier to do this work or be shown the way out by the real owner of the job.

Qualifying this recent development as a departure from the old order is the new awareness that the out gone Interim Administrator, Col Milland Dikio (rtd) has unlike his predecessors, congratulated the Odoni, Sagbama Local Government Area, Bayelsa State- born, and Nigerian Defence Academy 29th Regular Combatant Course trained, Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (rtd) for succeeding him as the new boss of the programme.

While thanking God for His grace, and profound gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for giving him the opportunity to serve the country, Dikkio in that report explained that he has firmly set on course the mission to transform ex-agitators to become net contributors to the economy of the Niger Delta and the nation at large.

To keep issues where they belong, it is important to underline that the purpose of this present intervention is not to subject Dikkio’s tenure to intensive scrutiny. Rather, it is aimed at assisting the Coordinator succeeds in his new responsibility. That notwithstanding, the truth must be told to the effect that Dikkio’s claim on transforming ex-agitators to net contributors to the economy of the Niger Delta and the nation at large, had not gone without eliciting reactions from stakeholders and the general public.

For instance, while some considers the claim as true and objective, others view it with skepticism.

Moreover, from the above experience, Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (rtd) , the Presidential Amnesty new interim Boss must as an incentive to success, design a circle of learning and empowerment for himself that will allow him see things that his predecessors did not see, and formulate transformational strategies. He must not fail to remember that the luxury of leisurely approach to an urgent challenge is no longer permissible in modern day leadership arena. He must recognize the fact that what partially explains the failure of his predecessors is traceable to their decision to do good instead of doing well.

For a better understanding of this position, ‘doing-good entails charity service or so-called selfless service where one renders assistance and walks away without waiting for any returns. On the other hands, doing well describes reciprocation and ‘win-win’ because the doer is also a stakeholder and has an intention to benefit at least in goodwill and friendship’.

To change this trend, localize, grasp and find solution to the critical issues plaguing the programme, it is important to recognize that, bringing a radical improvement or achieving sustainable development will not be possible if you present yourself as all-knowing, more generous, more nationalistic, selfless, more honest or kind, more intelligent, good looking or well-briefed than other stakeholders.

Again, succeeding on this job will among other things require two things: First, you should guard against the euphoria inspired by such appointments; make no grandiose plans or claims while your thinking is altered by feelings inspired by triumph; and secondly, the corrupting tendency of the additional power you have won. Try not to feel that much less accountability because you have that much power. You still must answer to yourself and you must more than ever lead.

Another point you must not also fail to remember is that your enemies are everywhere and have with this appointment increased in number, locations and forms. “You must love your neighbour but keep your neighbourhood’, view corruption as something/act that destroys and breaks that trust which is absolutely essential for the delicate alchemy at the heart of representative democracy.

You must avoid the ongoing experience at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). A sister initiative also established by the Federal Government to facilitate integrated development in the region but has for yet to be identified reason like a sheep gone its way ’abandoning the people of the coastal areas it was created to protect. There is an urgent imperative to carry the stakeholders along, particularly the Niger Delta youths who are supposedly the real beneficiary of the programme.

At this point, it is important to remember that the original amnesty document as proclaimed by Yar’Adua was meant to stand on a tripod-with the first part of the tripod targeted at disarmament and demobilization process; the second phase to capture rehabilitation which is the training processes, while third phase is the Strategic Implementation Action Plan. This last phase was designed to massively develop the Niger Delta, but was unfortunately ignored by the Federal Government. You must look into this to succeed.

Remember, stakeholders have recently questioned the wisdom behind teaching a man to fish in an environment where there is no river to fish or training a man without job creation plan. They are particularly not happy that the amnesty initiative which was programmed to empower the youths of the region via employment, has finally left the large army of professionally-trained ex-militants without job. In fact, the region is in dire state of strait because unemployment has diverse implications. While pointing out that security wise, large unemployed youth population is a threat to the security of the few that are employed, and any transformation agenda that does not have job creation at the centre of its programme will take us nowhere’.

In making this call, it is obvious that there is nothing more ‘difficult to handle, more doubtful of success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating such changes as the innovator will make more enemies of all those who prospered under old order’. But any leader that does, come out powerful, secured, respected and happy. This is an opportunity you must not miss.

Finally, as flood of congratulatory messages continue to flow into your home, two things stands out. The moment portrays you as lucky. But like every success which comes with new challenges, the appointment has thrust yet another responsibility on you- an extremely important destiny; to complete a process of socioeconomic rejuvenation of the Niger Delta youths which we have spent far too long a time to do. Therefore, you must study history, study the actions of your predecessors, to see how they conducted themselves and to discover the reasons for their victories or their defeats so that you can avoid the latter and imitate the former.

If you are able to correct the above challenge; it will be your most powerful accomplishment for earning new respect and emulation. And if you are not, it will equally go down the anal of history.

Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Cordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social And Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), A Lagos-Based Non Governmental Organization.

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