Sadiya: That Ideal Accidental Public Servant

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By Patrick Eza

When the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development was established, it seemed awkward given that there are existing agencies of government saddled with the responsibility of addressing those critical sectors in the country. But what we didn’t know was that effective coordination and leadership were lacking.

Little did we know that Nigeria and Nigerians were in for a pleasant surprise with the appointment of Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq as the Honorable Minister. And since then, she has hit the ground running with laudable initiatives that touch on the lives of ordinary citizens across the country.

The story of Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq is a magnificent one. She has succeeded in displaying uncommon courage in the course of the discharge of her work. Not many think it is a deliberate action. Some think it is a fluke. But they are wrong because she is not new to leadership. Recall that at some point, she was a Federal Commissioner at the National Commission for Refugee, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons.

There she brought to bear her passion for the development of the country. Some called her the workaholic. Some also called her the brainbox because she worked tirelessly towards achieving the agency’s mandate at the time. Little wonder she settled down easily upon the assumption of office as minister. If you call her a consummate administrator, you won’t be wrong because of how she has carried on in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

To properly understand her impact in the course of service to the country, we must understand the mandate of the ministry she heads. The ministry is saddled with the mandate to develop Humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of National and International Humanitarian interventions; ensure strategic Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, and Response; and manage the formulation and implementation of fair-focused social inclusion and protection programs in Nigeria.

Quite a tall mandate, we must admit. We must also acknowledge that achieving such requires high dedication, devotion, passion, and commitment. I must state that these attributes define Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq. I dare call her the accidental public servant who redefined leadership. And her footprints are felt tremendously across the length and breadth of the country.

Under her leadership, the Federal Government social intervention programs, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme to Mpower, Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, and the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, received a boost. Also, her ministry supervises the National Emergency Management Agency, the North East Development Commission, the National Senior Citizens Centre, the National Commission for Refugee, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.

Quite a handful, we must agree. But she has effectively handled her ministry’s affairs with decorum and delivered on her mandate with passion. She is undoubtedly an uncommon leader whose slogan remains that the reward for hard work is more work. This much can be attested by staffers of agencies under the ministry.

Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq falls under the category of leaders driven by purpose. They have a hunger to make a lasting impact in service. They drive long-term results by creating a culture of excellence, intentionality, and discipline. They set their teams and organizations on a trajectory that delivers real results.

You wouldn’t be wrong if you called her the star girl of this administration. Even though she is camera shy, she is a silent achiever. She does not believe in gracing the pages of newspapers. She is interested in results; hence the notable achievements witnessed since she assumed office.

Those that have had the privilege of encountering her would describe her as a woman of substance and with a heart of gold. She sees her position as an opportunity to be of service and she is unrelenting. She is also meticulous in formulating and implementing policies and programs that positively affect ordinary citizens in the country.

Those displaced by the insurgency in North East Nigeria, the poor and vulnerable in the society, and other categories of people that require government intervention in getting back their lives have been the most beneficial of the various interventions spearheaded by the ministry under the leadership of Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq.

Nigeria is indeed blessed to have her likes in government and heading such a strategic position. Her passion is infectious. But you would find yourself in her bad book if your stock in trade is to cut corners or engage in unwholesome practices that defeat the common good. Another attribute of Hajiya Sadiya Farouq is that she is unfazed by slander or blackmail. She is always focused on the onerous task at hand, to the chagrin of those who have launched scathing attacks on her stewardship of the ministry in an attempt to cause a distraction.

There is a lot to learn from her leadership template in our quest for sustainable growth and development. I believe she has a lot to offer even after her tenure as minister. And I can only wish her husband, the APC Gubernatorial candidate in Bauchi state wins the election. I bet that the Bauchi state will benefit tremendously from her wealth of experience.

Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq is a lesson in leadership, and Nigeria needs more of her. This piece is in celebration of the epitome of hard work and passion for the common good of the country. I wish her more strength in the years ahead. Bravo! Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq; is the ideal accidental public servant.

Eza is an anti-corruption crusader based in Abuja.

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