FCT Pilgrim’s Board: The Challenge before Mallam Danmallam

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By Ibrahim Muhammed
National Coordinator
Independent Hajj Reporters

It is intimidating to mount a seat where your predecessor has won laurels; and sets benchmark which you either maintain or surpass. It is even more tasking when the big boss (FCT Minister) himself was the pioneer Chairman of NAHCON and an authority on the issues of hajj administration and operations in the country. He knows what you know not, he understands what a ‘successful hajj operations’ means. In such a situation, you must find a way to surmount all obstacles towards surpassing the achievements of your predecessor or at least maintain the status quo.
On assumption of office, the templates of Hajj operations bequeathed to you by your predecessor suddenly substituted due to COVID 19 pandemic. It is like a man who is being guided by google earth and suddenly lost internet services in the middle of the journey. This is the time to think and act outside the box.
The scenario I highlighted above reminds me of a quote from George Bernard Shaw. He said “Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits because we don’t grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges”
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.” You can recreate the environment to suit your set objectives.

As stated in our opening remark, “Hajj operations as we know it before will not, and may never remain the same again due to COVID 19. While the Manasik of hajj will hardly be altered, the operating system in terms of arrangement, movements, accommodations, protocols, guidelines will be restructured especially if we consider the Hajj 2020 template used by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”
However, the road to success is not as tough and rough unless we jettison the act of ‘doing the right things’ and ‘ignore the failure alarm which always comes visiting when we are in our comfort zone. FCT Muslim Pilgrims Board under Mallam should focus on service delivery to the pilgrims. The pilgrims are the clients who must be satisfied under whatever circumstances. They must receive commensurate services for what they paid.
Mallam Nasiru Danmallam, please do resist the temptation of promising more than the board can offer or far above what is penned down in Hajj service agreement. Don’t play to the gallery because the types of pilgrims within your catchments area are people that know book more than me and you. They will ask questions both in private and in public. Many states pilgrims’ executives have fallen victim of this.
Our conversation with Mallam Nasiru Danmallam portrays him as someone who is ready to go the extra mile to deliver. He admitted that the award given to the board by IHR was never his efforts and that he hopes his awards will come when the Hajj operations come alive. Hajj 2021 is around the corner and we hope the Double Mallam will adhere to those promising and fantastic plans of his – a.k.a work the talk.

What makes the issue of FCT unique is the calibre of pilgrims that usually perform hajj through the board. They are men and women of timber and calibre – people with high tastes. Top government officials, top security personnel, politicians that has the ear of those in ‘highest authority. Top media practitioners and all classes of traditional rulers. People that frequents developed countries where first-class services are offered. First-class airline service, five-star hotels, assorted meals and other leverages that come with their class.

Meeting such expectation can be very challenging due to the mass-oriented structure of hajj service delivery. The Executive Director might have acknowledged this hard fact when he told HAJJ REPORTERS that “FCT remains the epicentre of pilgrimage in Nigeria due to the high profile pilgrims that perform Hajj through the territory. Most pilgrims in FCT are people who know their left and right, people who know what is due to them and always ask what is due to them”.

He said one of the ways of meeting the operational challenge is through training. “Training and retraining of staff is our priority because if we don’t have a well-trained staff there is no how we can deliver effective services to the pilgrimage. FCT pilgrims Welfare board has recorded achievement in the past which is due to the committed hard-working staff of the board and by the special grace of God we build on that”.

“On behalf of my management, we welcome the idea of partnering with the Independent Hajj Reporters on manpower training of our personnel and we are looking forward to your submission on that,”

Our visitation to FCT Muslim Pilgrims’ Board on the 17th of September 2020 was in continuation of Independent Hajj Reporters visitations to State Muslim Pilgrims Boards. We arrived the boards premise earlier than the schedule for a reason.

Finally, we hope that the FCT Muslim Pilgrims Board office under construction will soon be completed for the board to operate in a more conducive and encouraging environment.  The impact of workplace environment on productivity is very high in Nigeria. The Board should work hard to ensure the creation of a more conducive working environment for its staff. This will in turn motivate the workforce. A quality workspace leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere.

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