By Saleh Abubakar
In the past, I had argued that there should be a periodic performance appraisal of public office holders in order to access their input and output. It is only through such review that we can put public servants in the spotlight. Since the appointment of Alh Nuhu Kuki as Executive Director of Katsina State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Hajj Operations has not been conducted due to the impact of Covid 19 and the subsequent cancellation of hajj operations two years consecutively. So, I was searching for criteria to assess his performance.
My interests in the affairs of Katsina State Muslim Pilgrims Board is hinged on the fact that the previous board was dissolved a week after hajj 2019 exercise over an allegation of racketeering in accommodation, feeding and transportation. It becomes paramount for us to focus on the administration of the board in order to forestall the repeat of the 2019 episode.
Speaking when receiving the 2019 Hajj report, Katsina state governor Aminu Masari said by then that the government dissolved the state Muslim pilgrims welfare board and sacked its executive secretary after a report revealed “under dealing and racketeering” in collusion with service providers in Saudi Arabia. The racketeering was especially in accommodation, feeding and transportation.
Thereafter, the Governor promised to reorganize the board hence the appointment of Alh Suleiman Nuhu Kuku as the Executive Director. In summary, Alh Kuki primary assignment is to reorganize the board for effective service delivery and to reposition the board to be able to operate within the current hajj operations realities.
He climbed the leadership ladder of Katsina Pilgrims Board in February 2020 with a marching order from His Excellency, Aminu Bello Massari to replicate the laudable successes recorded by the state in his previous offices. Presenting the appointment letter to him on behalf of the Governor, the SGS, Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa had told those present that “Suleiman Kuki’s appointment was made on merit and in recognition of his dedication to duty and the selfless services he has been rendering to the State in various capacities”.
How far since then and what has transpired inside the Katsina State Pilgrims’ House under his watch?
His first action in office was to begin ‘operation search for capable hands’ where he facilitates the return of some dedicated staff of board that have been posted out of the board. Currently, Katsina state Muslim Pilgrims board is presently undergoing transformation that will enable it operate Umrah and expands its revenue base. Payment of refunds to Hajj 2020/21 pilgrims were carefully carried and with Him personally supervising the refund. Training of staff of the board on ICT and his open door policy has raised the tempo of service at the board.
Unknown to many, Alh Suleiman Nuhu Kuki brought fame and pride to Katsina State when he served as the Katsina State Universal Basic Education Boss. Between 2007 and 2011, he marshaled a comprehensive strategy to support the Local Government Areas educational structure in the state with a high level of dedication and focus. His efforts and his equally committed team manifested when Katsina State emerged as overall best state in the implementation of State universal basic education SUBEB programmes in the country, an award that comes with seven hundred million naira to the state coffer.
Having served as special adviser to his Excellency the Executive Governor of Katsina State on science and technology and member of the state executive council from 2011 to 2015, he should brace up for the challenges ahead, especially now that Hajj administration and operations has gone online. Governor Masari must be commended for sticking to merit in the course of appointment and we hope to see a replication of desirable achievements and awards.
Hajj operations have gone digital and whoever desires to impact must embrace the application of Information Communication Technology in driving the wheel of hajj management.
However, Kuki must think outside the box to meet the high expectation placed on his shoulders by the Governor and the state, especially now that hajj operation is undergoing transformation. It is my suggestion that he adopts the three-skill approach to manage the state Muslim Pilgrims Boards. It is believed that a result oriented administrator is one who directs the activities of other persons and undertakes the responsibility for achieving certain objectives through these efforts. Successful administration relied developing the technical, human, and conceptual skills of his staff
Saleh Abubakar is a Katsina based journalist and can be reached on [email protected]