Written by Quadri.R.Atanda
Since the exit of Late General Musa Bamaiyi as head of Nigeria’s drug law enforcement agency(NDLEA),during Late General Sanni Abacha’s administration,no one has been able to give the agency the kind of bite the no nonsense general from Kuru in Kebbi state did, he pursued drug barons,ran after the businesses they used as smokescreen to cover their real source of income to the extent that some fled the shores of Nigeria, he gave NDLEA a real bite.
The baton for fighting illicit drugs is now firmly in the hands of Brigadier Mohammed Buba Marwa(rtd),an excellent administrator from a family of four generations of soldiers who started his military career at age of 12,he served as Aide De Camp to General T.Y.Dajuma,the then chief of army staff, got moved to armoured corps, served as Borno state governor and defence attaché to Nigeria embassy in New York,USA before ending up in Lagos as military administrator.
Brigadier Mohammed Buba Marwa served as Military Administrator of Lagos State from 1996 to 1999,during which milestone achievements were recorded such as “Operation 250 Roads” which really improved road conditions and improvement of health facilities with free malaria treatment for all. The popular commercial tricycles emerged as part of transportation measures under his administration to add value to transportation means in Lagos and got nicknamed,’Keke Marwa’.
The unjust method of tenant eviction was challenged by his government as he proclaimed edict to ensure due process concerning rent and tenant eviction with focus on lowbrow areas such as Amuwo-Odofin,Bariga, Ajegunle, Shomolu,Agege, Mushin,Badia,Yaba, Ebutte-Meta,Isale-Eko and others where those with less than 250 thousand naira annual rent and face to face type of accommodation are mostly found, while also ensuring infrastructure upgrade of lowbrow neighbourhoods.
His administration constructed seven housing estates and completed two that were left behind with one by each former Lagos state civilian governors’, being Late Sir Michael Otedola and Alhaji Lateef Jakande, and it was ensured the housing estates were named after Jakande and Otedola who started the construction projects, the estates comprised of six low cost and three medium ones built in Amuwo Odofin, Ikorodu, Lekki, Ikeja, and Ojodu etc.
Before his emergence as MILAD,Lagos state was firmly in the jaws of criminals which led to the icing on the cake of his administration, being”Operation Sweep”, a joint military and police patrol used to combat crime which his predecessor Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola established,Marwa’s administration improved on the operational approach and it was not just effective but highly successful, while motor park touting became almost non-existent under his watch due to tough security and monitoring measures put in place.
As a strategist, Mohammed Buba Marwa in May 1998 orchestrated fuel rationing in Lagos State to tackle fuel shortages and endless queues in fuel stations, just as his administration established Nigeria’s largest new asphalt plant in July,1998 in Lagos state. He led as a disciple of Stephen Covey’s leadership by prioritisation principle as he focused on key areas and left indelible footprints of success in those areas.
No doubt, the new NDLEA chairman has what it takes given his education, brilliance, exposure, network, pedigree and track record, as such the hope of the country lies on his shoulders to find means of tackling the illicit drugs menace as it is obvious that youths who constitute the largest proportion of our population and the manpower for building a stronger and virile nation are succumbing to the influence of various kinds of illicit substances as time goes by.