Success is attained with a mindset to achieve or lay a foundation to accomplish something that would be unparalleled in any sphere of human endeavour. This statement succinctly describes the new helmsman of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Abdullahi Inde Dikko, when he assumed leadership of the cash-cow popularly referred to as “House of Corruption.”
Considering his unassuming personality, stakeholders doubted CG Abdullahi Dikko’s capability to pilot one of the revenue engine rooms of the nation’s economy. Therefore, many tongues were left wagging on whether he has the Midas touch or magic wand to turn things around within a short period of time.
With this mind frame, many assumed that his elevation is one aimed at extending favour to the cronies of the power-that-be. Buoyed by strong determination to excel, Abdullahi Dikko retreated into his shell to chart a new course for the Nigeria Customs Service that will be responsive and proactive to the challenges of improving the revenue base of the nation. The CG also resolved to forestall serial attempts by unscrupulous elements, who through their collaborators in government denied the country accruable revenue by granting unrealistic duty tax concession to foreigners and multi-nationals. The CG in the last couple of months, had insisted that things must be done properly no matter the cost in adhering strictly to the ethics of the wo
As a demonstration of his commitment, the CG enthroned professionalism in service. In about one year, officers and men have enjoyed better welfare package and promotion in all cadres. For the first time in the history of the Customs, salaries of staff were increased by one hundred percent. Having risen through the rungs, CG Dikko had the benefit of insight to look into some challenges that inhibit the performance of staff.
In less than nine months, CG Abdullahi Dikko has provided 165 housing units in Kuje, Senior Staff Barracks in Abuja, Okokomaiko in Lagos and in Kano to ameliorate the accommodation need of officers and men. The task of improving the training facilities of the customs has led to the establishment of Customs Academy for the senior officers’ cadre while the training schools in Lagos and Kano states were upgraded. The thirst to ensure that the service becomes more compliant with the challenges of the 21st century, every officer, even the lower rank was “compelled” to be computer literate by subtly endearing them to possess laptops at no cost to enhance officers performance in the discharge of their respective duties.
At the headquarters of the Customs House, the fear of Dikko is the beginning of wisdom as both officers and men were in tandem with the word diligence in the discharge of duties allotted to their care. Not only that, the code of ethics has become more stringent that there are some ‘’no-go” areas for officers. The CG quarter is a forbidden place to all cadres of officers at odd hours no matter the exigencies. By and large this had restricted those who use the cover of night to do the unspeakable such as giving returns after several undercut deals with those whose practice is to cut corners in paying necessary tariff and taxes at ports and border stations.
The out-bound notice was not too complimentary to those who over the years have become acquainted with the slipshod posture of the previous office holders who saw no big deal in using such office to line their pocket to the detriment of nation’s interest. Rather than fall for the pot of porridge laced with corrupt virus, the helmsman is concern with ensuring that probity and accountability at work becomes a watchword in all its ramifications at the Custom Service.
The stance of this ebullient officer has impacted on the nation’s revenue drive, and thus brings into government coffers monies that usually settled into private pockets/accounts of officers in such positions. How best does one need to explain the astronomical jump of internally generated revenue between August last year and May 2010 from N7.72 billion to N166 billion? The only answer to that is that CG Dikko had affixation to arrest and stop all the haemorrhage points within the service and placed the office on the path of rectitude. While the once-known as absorbent borders has now come alive to its task in curbing the nefarious activities of smugglers and their agents and police of all entry points/routes effectively.
The seizure of ammunitions in the recent time at our border posts, point to the fact that it’s no longer business as usual for those who feels that anything goes as long as they could pay.
Work and no play makes jack a dull boy, hence the efforts CG has also geared efforts towards the revival of sports schemes. The aim is to get his men mentally and physically fit on the job and to further ensure the reduction of pot-bellied among the generality of his workforce.
Now at 50, Abdullahi Inde Dikko, the CG is a toast of all of us his friends and brothers. Seeing him excelling at his duty post reminds one of our collective desires to leave our footprint on the sands of time. This also brings to fore a sacred pledge we owe ourselves as friends to remind one another of our secret pact that it is a task to us all to lay solid foundations for this nation in order to rise on our wings. Say it to nations within and beyond the shores that our age group and indeed our youths has something up their sleeves to offer this great country in terms of good leadership and honesty of purpose in steering the ship of the great country in whatever spheres of human endeavours we may be assigned.
To the CG at jubilee anniversary, thumb up as the Lord leads.