The Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a civil society orgainsation that reports and monitor Hajj/Umrah in Nigeria, has commended the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for adopting rigorous and open process in appointing its Secretary.
In a statement issued recently in Abuja by the IHR and signed by its National Coordinator Malam Ibrahim Muhammed, the group said:
“The Independent Hajj Reporters has reviewed the process adopted by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria in the appointment of its Secretary, Dr Abdullahi Rabi’u Kontagora and we are pleased that the procedure adopted in the eventual selection of the appointee deserve commendation. Such strict plan of action can only produce the best out of the rest and therefore, IHR has commended the Chairman of NAHCON, Barr. Zikrullah Hassan, and its management over the due process that produced the scribe,” the statement read in part.
NAHCON had earlier outlined the process that leads to the selection of the new Secretary. According to NAHCON “Selection of the new Secretary to the Commission ensued after rigorous screening handled by an independent group of consultants. Out of the total 448 applications received following advertisement by NAHCON in three major newspapers; namely Daily Trust, Blueprint and The Nation, 281 were found to be eligible after screening. From that number, 33 applicants met all the requirements. The 33 applicants were administered an online examination resulting to the emergence of 14 successful persons. A second online examination was administered for these 14 whereby nine passed with distinction.
“NAHCON stated that nine appeared for oral interview with the consultants while “seven candidates scaled with 50% and above marks and the names of the seven were them submitted to NAHCON management by the consultants. NAHCON Management forwarded these names to its Establishment Committee for further selection. Following laid down criteria, the 11-member Establishment Committee made up of three Executive Commissioners, seven Board Members and the Acting Secretary to the Commission arrived at the final three names that were recommended to the board. With above process, it is clear that the recruitment followed rigorous procedure,” the statement noted.
Though, IHR said it understand that NAHCON Secretary is an appointee of the commission as stipulated under Section 8 of NAHCON Act with clear cut responsibilities. Section 8 of the NAHCON Act outlines the basic responsibilities of NAHCON Secretary as: to keep the records and conduct the correspondence of the Commission; serve as the Secretary at all meetings of the Commission; and perform such other duties as the Commission or the Chairman may from time to time direct.
IHR however advised NAHCON to utilise the last functions of “perform such other duties as the Commission or the Chairman may from time to time direct” to create a robust intra- and inter-Hajj stakeholders correspondence management system to tap from Hajj intellectuals and personalities that can contribute ideas on how to meet the evolving challenges in Hajj operations.
In the same vein, the group further urged State Governors to adopt the NAHCON model in appointing State Muslim Pilgrims Boards Chairmen/Executive Secretaries. It said: ”The engine room of Hajj operations in the country are the States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and agencies and it is our hope that State Governors will utilise ‘a merit based’ approach to appoint Chairmen and Executive Secretaries of such important Hajj body.
It said: “Hajj is undergoing transformation in structure, organisation and operations and we need people with capacity to paddle the canoe of ever dynamic Hajj administration at the state level as opposed to current political consideration that gave birth to ‘trial by error,” the statement added.