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Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), OFR

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…MAN OF THE YEAR

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PROFILE

Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), OFR, is a thoroughbred soldier known for meritorious service and a distinguished career in the Nigeria Army. Renowned as an administrator par excellence, he is also a diplomat, author of seminal books and an accomplished entrepreneur.

Born in Kaduna on September 9, 1953, scion of a military family, his father, Buba Marwa, and grandfather, Buba Yola, had served in the Nigeria Army, and Marwa did not deviate from that path. He had his primary school education across Nigeria in Enugu, Zaria, Abeokuta and Lagos (1960-65) and went on to attend the Nigerian Military School (NMS), Zaria (1966-70). Subsequently, he completed a regular combatant course at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and was commissioned into Nigeria Army Recce Corps (NARC) in June 1973.

 

Military Courses

While in the Army, General Marwa distinguished himself as an outstanding scholar in the several courses he attended in Nigeria and abroad, such as:

  • Communication Instructors course, School of Armour Nowshera, Pakistan.
  • Regimental Signal Officers (RSO) course, Nigerian Army Signals School, Apapa.
  • RSO (All Arms), Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, Mhow, India.
  • Armour Officer Basic Course, Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA.
  • Advanced Armour Officers Course in the Armoured Corps Centre and School, Ahmadnagar, India.
  • Junior and Senior Staff College courses at Command and Staff College (CSC), Jaji.

 

He was the best student in several exams and courses including:

  • Lieutenant to Captain practical promotion exam, Enugu (1975)
  • Regimental Signal Officers Course (1975)
  • Junior Staff College Course (1979-80) where he was the only B Grade student and also the first person in the history of the college to be awarded the grade
  • Captain to Major qualifying exam, Kaduna (1981)
  • Staff College Senior Division, 1982, where he obtained B Grade

 

 

Academic Qualifications

General Marwa has two postgraduate degrees, namely Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh (1983-85) and Master of Public Administration from Harvard (1985-86).

His other qualifications include certificates in International Security Studies, Leadership and Organisational Innovation and Project Planning and Evaluation (PPE).

A cerebral scholar, he is the author of the books Nigerian Army Dictionary, Appreciation and Grand Tactics. He is a co-author of Nigeria in Peace Keeping Operations, a reference book on the history and nature of peacekeeping by the Nigerian Armed Forces and Police since Independence.

 

 

Public Administration

He has held several command and staff appointments in the Army, including Deputy Defense Adviser at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC. By and large, he is renowned for his public administration acumen.

Appointed Military Governor of old Borno State (present Borno and Yobe states) from June 1990 to 1992, his administration had a far-reaching impact on the populace in diverse ways including in health care delivery (where he built seven hospitals from scratch and equipped 14 general hospitals), education and agriculture. Marwa created the first Ministry of Water Resources (first of its kind in the country) and by direct labour, the state undertook the construction of roads and completed the Maiduguri International Hotel.

In the area of security, his administration remains evergreen in the annal of Borno State.

The appointment of Gen Marwa as the administrator of Borno State coincided with the time Idriss Deby, erstwhile rebel, seized power from President Hisen Habre, thereby dislodging members of the Chadian Army, some of who went rogue and carried out raids across the border into Borno State. The marauders’ pillaging of towns, villages and communities, was not unlike Boko Haram’s.

Marwa’s immediate response, the establishment of Operation Zaki, a joint military operation by army and airforce formations stationed in Borno State, nipped the problem in the bud and brought the situation under control within one year.

In 1992, Gen Marwa was posted as Registrar of the Nigerian Defence Academy. And in 1993, he returned to foreign service as Defence Attache at the Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations in New York.

In August 1996, he was appointed Military Administrator of Lagos State. His three-year tenure in the state was accompanied by resounding success.

He orchestrated a turnaround of Lagos with several strategic programmes and actions which, amongst others, are:

  • Operation Sweep, which brought violent crime, especially armed robbery, under effective control.
  • Operation 250 Roads, which eventually culminated in the construction and rehabilitation of over 700 roads mainly through direct labour.
  • Construction of mini-water works and boreholes that provided potable water for over 500 communities.
  • Revamping of the healthcare sector with construction/rehabilitation of several general hospitals, construction of two accident and emergency hospitals (the first in Nigeria), the establishment of a diagnostic centre, and construction of Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) from scratch. A new order of free treatment of malaria and admission of children was instituted.
  • Taming the scourge of area boys, with thousands of the street urchins rehabilitated, trained and empowered with vocations.
  • Construction and completion of eight housing estates.
  • Construction of Eko Tourism Resort with 120 individual chalets by the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Establishment of integrated public transport service which included hundreds of buses, ferry service, train shuttle between Alagbado and Iddo, and, for the first time in Nigeria, the introduction of the now-ubiquitous three-wheeler vehicle (popularly called ‘Marwa’).

 

The feats were achieved on a strict budget of N14billion. Marwa, who did not borrow from any bank throughout his tenure, handed over a cash amount of N2billion―the highest amount handed over from one state administration to another.

His exemplary leadership earned him “Nigeria’s Man of the Year 1997” by Newswatch, Nigeria’ oldest and influential weekly magazine.

 

Post-military Service

After retirement from the Nigeria Army, General Marwa was appointed Chairman of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) (2000-2006).

His tenure at DICON witnessed the resuscitation and upgrade of arms production from rifles, pistols and furniture to RPG–7, 60mm mortar and 81mm mortar, all produced from scratch using local materials. DICON then proceeded to the next logical step, which was the production of the Artillery 105mm Pack Howitzer.

General Marwa was subsequently appointed by President Umaru Musa Yar’adua as High Commissioner of Nigeria to the Republic of South Africa, with concurrent accreditation to the Kingdoms of Swaziland and Lesotho in 2008. He resigned in 2010 to run for political office.

 

In 2018, he was appointed Chairman of a 27-member Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari. PACEDA was tasked with the task to critically examine the drug abuse problem in Nigeria, which was thrice the global average, and make recommendations as to how to effectively and urgently rid the nation of the scourge in a sustainable manner.

 

 

Awards & Honours

  • National Honour

2003―Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)

 

  • Nigerian Armed Forces Honour

1998―Distinguished Service Star (DSS)

  • Academic Awards

―Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa),

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi                      ―Doctor of Public Administration (Honoris Causa)

University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)

―Doctor of Management Technology (Honoris Causa) Federal University of Technology, Owerri

―2003 Outstanding Leadership Award by the Centre

For Multicultural Leadership University of Kansas,

Lawrence. * First African so honoured by the

Institute in its ten years of inaugurating the award. Reciprocating, General Marwa endowed an annual “Marwa Africana Lecture Series” in the Department of African and Afro- American Studies. The late Prof Ali Mazrui presented the inaugural lecture.

 

 

  • FELLOWSHIPS

Marwa is a Fellow of many prestigious institutes including:

  • Institute of Aviation Management (FIAM)
  • Chartered Institute of Local Government and Public Administration of Nigeria (FCILGPA)
  • Fellow: Chemical Society of Nigeria (FCSN)
  • Fellow: Institute of Transport Administration of

Nigeria (FInstTA)

  • Fellow: Nigerian Institute of Marketing (FNMA)
  • Fellow: Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, London (FCILT)

 

  • Other Awards

A recipient of Gold Merit Award from the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Marwa is Grand Patron of the Nigerian Youth Association and also Nigeria Maltese Business Council.

 

His leadership acumen has been recognised with various awards such as the Zik Award for Political Leadership, Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award (Ghana),  and Outstanding Leadership Award by the Joint Youth Association of Nigeria.

He also has in his kitty Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Memorial Foundation’s Outstanding Corporate Citizen Award, Millenium Award by Youths Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) and National Distinguished Merit Award in Transportation from the Centre for Transport Studies, among others.

Marwa, 2003 Diversity Speaker at the College of Business Studies, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, and winner of the First WOTCLEF Merit Award, is Patron of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ, Oyo State Council) and Grand Patron, All Africa Students’ Union (AASU).

 

Chieftaincy Titles

In recognition of his contributions to the development of Nigeria and empowerment of humanity, General Marwa has over 15 chieftaincy titles across Nigeria. These include:

  1. Atunluse of Ikorodu
  2. Aare Agbaakin of Lagos
  3. De Nukonga Gbedite of Badagry
  4. Ochi Oha I of Umuozzi in Enugu
  5. Ochinigwe of Igboland
  6. Soludero of Egbaland
  7. Mayegun of Ibadanland
  8. Turakin Angasawa (Pankshin)
  9. Akinrogun of Osogboland
  10. Babalaje of Ijeshaland
  11. Ciroman Zah (Adamawa State)
  12. Apesin-Ola of Saki
  13. Aare Atayese of Ayetoro
  14. Atobase of Okeho
  15. Mene-Yereba of Ogoniland (Rivers State)
  16. Fagacin Adamawa

It should be noted that all the cheiftaincy titles were awarded to General Marwa after he exited public offices either as Governor or Administrator. In 2018, Gen. Marwa was appointed Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, PACEDA that developed a blueprint on how Nigeria can win the drug war and in January 2021, he was again appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, where he resumed on January 18, 2021. And in 12 months on the saddle, Gen. Marwa has completely turned around the fortunes of the Agency. Some of his achievements within the period include:

 

  • Restoring the visibility of the Agency for local and international partnerships
  • Boosting the morale and confidence of officers and men of the NDLEA through practical steps to address their welfare and career stagnation issues
  • Attracting international support such as the donation of operational equipment and technical assistance by the UNODC, EU, US, UK, French governments and others
  • Launching non-stop actions against drug cartels across the country with the new maxim “offensive action”, which has in 12 months yielded among others:
  • The arrest of 12, 306 offenders including 7 drug barons
  • The seizure of 3.4million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs
  • Conviction of 1,400 traffickers with 1,502 pending cases in court

. 7, 761 drug users counselled and rehabilitated in NDLEA facilities

  • Cash and drug seizures valued at over N130 billion
  • Reviving and strengthening the Agency’s Directorate of Assets and Financial Investigations to go after all assets and funds linked to drug trafficking.
  • Setting up of Special Purpose Committee to mobilise and involve stakeholders in the war against illicit drugs
  • Instituting a bi-monthly assessment and cash-backed award for Best Performing Commands as well as officers and men to motivate them
  • Unprecedented goodwill for the Agency through Advocacy visits to Governors, LGs, CSOs, CBOs, FBOs and other stakeholders as well as visits by international partners to pledge their support
  • Creation of additional Directorates to reposition and enhance the performance of the Agency as well as strengthening of existing ones; among others
  • Establishing a well armed and trained Strike Force to beef up the Agency’s enforcement capabilities
  • Securing approvals for the construction of six standard rehab centres, and barracks across the country over four years, starting from 2022.
  • An improved budget of N38.1 billion as against the regular N8 billion in the past.
  • Successful recruitment and training of 5, 000 officers and men

 

General Marwa, an avid lover of sports, is happily married to Hajiya Munira Marwa with children.

 

 

For a better society

 

 

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