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Federal Character Commission: Dr Dankaka and her best of reforms

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FCC Chairman, Dr Muheeba Dankaka
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By Musa Wada

It took less than six months since her appointment as the chairman of the Federal Character Commission, FCC.by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, for her to fish out the bad dogs sabotaging the system.

Investigations revealed that the vacuum created before the appointment of Dr Muheeba Dankaka and other Commissioners led to the illegalities being unearthed at the Commission.

While we continue to bemoan the decay and dysfunctions in the public service, we must be honest to acknowledge the sincere and genuine efforts of diligent people and patrots like Dr Muheeba Dankaka who has consistently been working hard and diligently over the almost 2 years of her appointment to make a mark in government and justify her appointment by the President who has graciously shown that there is a place for the women at the table.

Thankfully, Dr Muheeba Dankaka has proved the President right despite the shenanigans of ‘naysayers’.

Since the inception of the Muheeba Dankaka’s led administration at the FCC, she has deliberately introduced key reforms at the Commission to put it in tune with the expectation of the President and indeed Nigerians. Her commitments in making the Federal Character mandates work through the instrumentality of the FCC has never been in doubt.

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She has put in place a pragmatic and systematic process of reforms that is today being acknowledged as the impetus needed to achieve its mandates.

Many today sees the appointment of the Chairman by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Commission’s eve of independence.

Dr Muheeba Dankaka has always argued that her time in the agency would and should be seen as a period where the Commission would be seen as an agency of laws and not of men and she has simply lived up to this assertion.

Her warning echoes even more loudly through the current era, when the administrative state of the Commission has eroded many of the structural safeguards designed to protect its targeted rule of law dispensations.

Strict judicial enforcements of the rule of laws and separation of powers and non-delegation has yieded our faith in expert agency’s to make important governance decisions. This trade-offs may be, in the words of Dr Muheeba Dankaka, a neccessary concessions to an increasingly complex Nigerian society, but it highlights the importance of internal safeguards designed to preserve the rule of laws within the Commission.

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Dankaka must be commended because of her introduction of the process, reform initiative at the FCC. For this reason, process reform is importantly her legacy as Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, FCC, because upon her assuming office as Chairman of the agency, she expressly named process reforms as a key part of her strategic vision.

She follows through on that commitment over the past one year in office, making much needed improvements to enhance transparency, accountability and robust data-driven decisions making part of the reforms implemented in the agency and in the process, strengthening the place of the rule of laws within the FCC.

On the transparency frontline, her initiatives included a committment to the release of draft orders to the public and at the same time, there are circulated internally – a welcome change that reduced the secrecy that encouraged corruption and systemic fraud at the agency prior to her appointment.

This to many has reduced the powers of the Commissioners and special interests to manipulate the system during the period before the FCC takes decisions on important items.

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Improvements in accountability including limiting the powers of the Commission, staff to make substantive edits to agency’s orders and to settle certain investigations without the chairman’s approvals. These changes helped shifts powers away from the permanent bureaucracies to the more politically accountable agency’s heads.

The introduction of a centralized department of monitoring and implementations has reflected Muheeba Dankaka’s commitments to fulfil on her mandate. Her data-driven decision making process is also reflected in the creation of the Office of Economics and Analytics, which helped concentrate the FCC’s economics talents and integrate it more systematically into the commission’s operations.

As a result of these and other reforms, the Commission is stronger today than it was a year ago, but there is the pretence that there remains work to be done. One hopes that Muheeba Dankaka will help sustain and equally be committed to the rule of laws and principles of the FCC.

Musa Wada, a public Affairs analyst writes from
Abuja and can be reached through: muswady7424@gmail.com

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