HomeHajjThe Man Mai Aliyu Usman: Leadership and Dedication in Hajj Management

The Man Mai Aliyu Usman: Leadership and Dedication in Hajj Management

“He who strives, finds.”

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In 2022, the Executive Governor of Yobe State, Hon. Mai Mala Buni CON appointed Mai Aliyu Usman Biriri as the helmsman of the State’s Pilgrims’ Commission. Though a seasoned administrator who had worked in several Ministries in the State as a Permanent Secretary and as an Islamic cleric whom we stay glued to our television set to watch and listen to as children, many doubting thomases doubted his capacity to head the Commission- their reason being that he has not being in the Hajj administration before. It is mind-blowing how people easily forget that every journey starts with a step. Mistakes are inevitable when we start something new and we shouldn’t be discouraged by initial setbacks, as they are part of learning process. Those in the academia will understand this better where a Post-Graduate Thesis undergoes series of academic critique until it reaches a certain level of perfection that will later make it an award-winning work. With patience being the key to relief, the Executive Chairman persevered and this resulted in better outcomes. Matters they say are judged by their outcomes.

However, The Man Mai Aliyu despite all odds didn’t give room for the doubting thomases. He defied the naysayers by staying firm and applying wisdom in all he does. As an astute administrator, he demonstrated core skills which distinguish him.  I thought of writing this piece after the completion of his first Hajj Operation as the Chairman of the State Pilgrims Commission who saw first-hand how the Man worked along his staff right from Hajj Transit Camp in Maiduguri to their departure, something whispered to me that people will say it is too early to carry my trumpet and sing his praise. I shelved the idea of telling the world how he actively participated in the nerve-breaking Hajj Operations. Anyone who knows how Hajj Operations works will tell you how tiring the work is that one can compare it with nothing but a battle field. One has to anticipate the worse and act swiftly to forestall any unpredicted and never-thought- of conundrum.

Fast forward to 2024, the Man Mai Aliyu came with another rigour, vigour, commitment, extra energy and braveness of a General to this Year’s Hajj Operations. Least I forget, what makes some works easy for the Man Mai Aliyu is his power that lies in effective communication that will dowse any tension or confusion that arises either on Camp, Madina, Makkah or anywhere amongst Pilgrims. He ensures he keeps track of what all the committees set are doing. His doors are open for any complaints for problem solving and redress. If you are wondering where his good communication skills and on the field complaint-handling skill comes from, he was a teacher for years.  His ability to speak the language which 80 plus percent of the State’s Pilgrims speak was and is an added advantage and will continue to be. His near native fluency of Kanuri Language is another tool he uses. You will see him cracking the Fulani-Kanuri banters with Kanuri speaking pilgrims. The Fulani and Kanuri satirical jokes makes the both his office staff, Pilgrims and Hajj Stakeholders like the Customs, Immigration, NDLEA, POLICE, FAAN officials, HAJJ REPORTERS, NAHCON ZONAL staff and others too numerous to mention endear him the more.  Humility they say is the crown of manhood. His wealth of experience also came handy when ensuring devolution of power in the office.

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As a youth myself who is just in his early 30s, I find it difficult to understand how a man of his age will stand on his feet at the Maiduguri International Airport for hours and leave until the Flynas Aircraft departs. This, between me and God, he did in all the flights that airlifted the Pilgrims. At some point, myself and other staff of the Commission had to rest at the Airport’s departure lounge and come back to the airside to continue standing with the workaholic Chairman.

It was during one of such foot arching waiting(s) for takeoff when a Max Air aircraft landed. When passengers started coming out of the plane, lo and behold, the Executive Chairman of the National Hajj Commission was among the passengers. It was an unscheduled visit to see for himself how the airlift was going at the Maiduguri Airport. He was very happy and impressed to see Yobe’s Executive Chairman standing on his feet alongside mid-level and junior staff, assisting pilgrims to board the Flynas Airbus that had started boarding.

You will hardly see a sign of fatigue in him but you will not fail to see the anger boiling in his heart when he comes across anomalies that keeps occurring from either his staff or anyone. But guess what? In the next couple of minutes, you will see him blushing and returning pleasantries as if it wasn’t him you saw boiling in rage minutes ago!

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