The newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF has hardly settled down to the responsibility of his office, but from all indications he appears to be a man of great zeal who is eager to deliver on the mandate handed down to him by his principal writes State House Correspondent SUNDAY ODE.
Like the saying that a chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it is hatched, the new Secretary to Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha received a standing ovation at the joint sitting of the National Assembly penultimate Tuesday. The occasion was the presentation of the 2018 national budget estimates to the federal lawmakers by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Giving the vote of thanks, the Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara singled Mustapha out among the huge crowd of government officials that accompanied President Buhari to the National Assembly, for commendation. “Your Excellencies, permit me to single out the newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Bar. Boss Mustapha who only yesterday (penultimate Monday), in an unprecedented move, visited the leadership of both Houses of the National Assembly to canvass support for government policies and to strengthen the often strained executive – legislative relations,” Dogara said.
And come to think of it, the SGF had only been appointed a few days earlier and had just taken his oath of office barely a week before the budget presentation ceremony. Apparently, he understood prior to his appointment that the relationship between the executive and the legislature had not been cordial as referenced by the Speaker in his remarks. What with the controversy hovering over the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as the EFCC boss despite the disapproval by the legislature as well as the feud Mustapha’s predecessor, Babachir Lawal had dragged the executive into following his investigation and indictment by the Senate, and President Buhari’s refusal to act on the report. There are other sundry issues that had bred visible enmity between the two arms of government.
Mustapha was, no doubt, sensitive to this ugly development and quickly moved in to build bridges between the lawmakers and the Presidency in order to stem the tide and forestall further rising of tempers especially at the budget presentation session which was the first major official function he would be attending after his appointment. He certainly knew the signs of the times and consequently earned for himself an accolade from the most unlikely quarters.For those who knew the SGF before his present appointment, President Buhari may have found the right man for the job; someone who sees himself as the chief marketer of government policies for the ultimate benefit of the populace, beyond sitting in the exalted office in Bullet House in the Presidential Villa Abuja to dish out orders and mark files.
Even before his oath of office he had hit the ground running in that respect. In an interview with journalists covering the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja a day before he was sworn-in, he had this to say when asked to state his vision for the SGF office: “Well, I’ll wait until the oath of office is administered on me. Once that is done, I’ll now begin to take briefings from the office and begin to chart a roadmap. It’s always not too fashionable to begin to talk about an office you have never occupied. That will be being too presumptuous and I wouldn’t want to do that at the moment. I will want to step into the office first.
“But I have a general picture of where we should be going and I can assure you that my responsibility is that of coordination and ensuring the implementation of government policies as generated. We need an emergency acceleration to get out of where we are, and I can assure you that Mr. President is focused on the three-pronged approach to take his government to fight corruption, diversify the economy and also the other aspect of security. We’ve done so much in the area of security. Even the diversification of the economy so much has been achieved.
“There are no poor farmers in Nigeria again. Honestly, for anybody that is able, we can deploy our hands and our energy to growing our agriculture. I’ve been speaking to some of the governors, they are doing remarkable work. With the Anchor Borrowers Scheme and other schemes that are coming up, I believe that if we can do that consistently for a number of years we’ll get out of this quagmire because a nation that cannot feed itself has a long way to go in terms of institutional and industrial development.
“So, like I said I will not be too quick to say what I am going to do in office, but I have a general picture. Mr. President has cast the vision all of us that are appointees of government have the singular responsibility to ensure that we run with that vision. He has made it plain and whichever vision that has been made plain for those that are being charged with responsibilities we are supposed to run with that vision to ensure that at the end of the day the dividends of democracy is delivered to the people of Nigeria. “We went round and campaigned and sought for their mandate, freely they gave us and it behoves on us charged with responsibilities to ensure that we do not disappoint them. The expectations are great out there. You live with families and you know the expectations of families. You live in communities and you know the expectations of those communities. You live in geographical jurisdictions and you know the expectations of those people.
“But we’ve come at a time when the resources are very lean, in some cases not available but I believe with prudent management as being put in place by Mr. President we’ll be able to navigate this very difficult terrain and at the end of the day every Nigerian will have a smile on his face. We are not promising heaven on earth, but we can move our people from this state of squalor in which they are to a state where there will be hope, there will be expectations”.Mr. Boss Gida Mustapha is a lawyer, management consultant, politician, business man and boardroom guru of considerable repute. His appointment as the SGF has been well received by stakeholders, no doubt, on account of his vast public sector experience, legal background, extensive travels and contacts in both government and business.
The confidence in the new SGF is well placed. Born in Adamawa State, North East Nigeria, Mr. Mustapha began his education career very early in life. He attended Hong Secondary School, in Hong Adamawa State and North East College of Arts and Sciences Maiduguri Borno State, crowning it with WASC and HSC in 1976. He earned his Bachelor of Law (LL.B) from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 and was called to bar in 1980. From 1980 to 1981, Mustapha did the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – Directorate of Legal Services at the Army Headquarters and was in charge of review of Court Marshall Proceedings.After his compulsory one-year national service, he joined Sotesa Nigeria Limited, an Italian consultancy firm, as an Executive Director in charge of Administration, leaving in 1983 to join the prestigious law firm Messrs Onagoruwa & Co in Lagos. With his law practice fully taken off, the SGF was appointed Principal Counsel in the firm, Messrs Mustapha & Associates. His legal interests and expertise included Privatization, Commercialization and Liberalization of Public Companies/Corporate and Government Parastatals.
He was also involved in preparation of varied and miscellaneous banking documents such as Debentures, Guarantees, Mortgages, Bonds and Loan Syndications.One of Mustapha’s career highlights was his appointment as a member of Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the defunct Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), serving meritoriously from 2000 to 2007. At the PTF, he was responsible for production of an up-to-date comprehensive project and programme report, including location, coverage and whether performed, performing or abandoned, production of final report of assets and liabilities, examination of the administrative structure and cost effectiveness of projects and services among other duties. Mustapha also played key leadership roles at the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) serving as Social Secretary and Chairman at the Yola branch.
After his stint at the PTF in 2007, Mustapha was appointed Principal Partner of the law firm, Adroit Lex. His law practice and the burning desire to serve the larger society conspired to attract the SGF into politics, at various times, he was member Federal Republic of Nigeria Constituent Assembly (1988-1989), Chairman People’s Solidarity Party-Gongola State (1989-1990), state chairman, Social Democratic Party-Gongola State (1990-1991); he was even a gubernatorial candidate for SDP in Adamawa state in 1991. He was the Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria from 2010 to 2013. In 2007, he again played a prominent role, serving as the Deputy Director General of the party’s Presidential Campaign Organization. His services remained in high demand after the fusing of ACN to join forces with other parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC). He was a member of National Campaign Committee and Secretary APC Presidential Campaign Organization Mobilization (2015) and member, APC Transition Committee (2015).
He is also a member, APC Board of Trustees.
In addition to the NBA, the SGF is a member of various professional bodies including African Bar Association (ABA), Commonwealth Lawyers Association, International Bar Association (IBA) and Human Rights Institute (HRI). But Mustapha’s accomplishments go beyond politics and the Bar; he is respected boardroom guru, having been appointed into the boards of several companies in the manufacturing financial services as well as oil and gas sectors. He is the National Vice President, Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship international Nigeria. His address to management staff on assuming office set the tone style and direction of his tenure as SGF. He pledged to guide the staff and the 21 agencies under his office to ensure the success of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. At a handing over ceremony, Mustapha urged staff to drop all appellations like “His Excellency” which he said is like a banana peel and simply call “SGF” or “Boss” and that he would treat those who work with him on the basis of their individual skills and competencies, rather than prejudices.With this unassailable pedigree, it is therefore little surprise that Mr. Mustapha is the man that the King has chosen to honour based solely on merit.
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