Following the current global outbreak of the novel Coronavirus and its potential of causing significant disruption to health services in the country as well as impacting negatively on the economy, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed a 12-member Presidential Task Force chaired by a distinguished Abusite, Mr. Boss Mustapha to Control the virus in Nigeria.
The committee has a mandate of six months to deliver on the assignment. The National Coordinator of the committee is Dr Sani Aliyu.
Other members are Minister of Health, Prof Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Services, Sadiya Umar-Farouk; Minister of Education.
Others are Mr Adamu Adamu; Minister of Environment, Mr. Mohammed Mahmoud; Director-General, Department of State Services, Mr. Yusuf Bichi; Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control; Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu; and World Health Organisation Country Representative.
Who is Mr Boss Mustapha?
Boss Mustapha is a distinguished Abusite, respected lawyer, management consultant, politician, businessman and boardroom guru of considerable repute who is current Nigeria’s Secretary to the government of the Federation (SGF)
Born in Adamawa State, Mr Boss Mustapha 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 Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 and was called to the Nigerian bar in 1980. From 1980 to 1981, Mr. Mustapha did the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – Directorate of Legal Services at the Army Headquarters and was in charge of reviewing Court Marshall Proceedings.
After his National Service, Mr. Boss Mustapha 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 of 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 the preparation of varied and miscellaneous banking documents such as Debentures, Guarantees, Mortgages, Bonds and Loan Syndications.
One of Mr 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 the production of up-to-date comprehensive project and programme report, including location, coverage and whether performed, performing or abandoned production of the final report of Assets and Liabilities, the examination of the Administrative structure and cost-effectiveness of PTF Projects and Services among other duties.
Mr. Boss 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, Mr. 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 MD 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 CAN joined forces with other parties to form the All Progressive Congress (APC). He was a member of NCC 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, Mr. Boss Mustapha 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 his 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.
Mr. Boss Mustapha who is married with children, enjoys golf, lawn tennis, travelling, documentary films, charity work and meeting people.
Nigeria’s Successes with Covid-19
The Presidential Task Force for the Control of COVID–19 in Nigeria has so far done a fantastic job. Aside from the series of proactive measures and daily briefing of Nigerians through the minister of health Prof Osagie Ehanire, it has also been instrumental in sourcing for resources and making the same available to various stakeholders and agencies involved in the fight against the virus.
According to Andrew Weigh, Nigeria is so far a success story on the fight against the coronavirus epidemic and there is a lot to learn from Nigeria. In an article in Forbes titled “What The US Could Learn From Nigeria’s Response To The COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak,” he said
“Nigeria, despite having reported its first case of COVID-19 nearly two months ago and having a population of over 190 million, still has fewer than two dozen confirmed cases– a stark contrast to the over 15,000 reported in the US, as of Sunday.”
The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Nigeria on 28 January 2020, with the country’s first death on Monday and a total of only 77 active cases, with 3 people now recovered.
Ifeanyi Nsofor, a senior New Voices fellow at the Aspen Institute and director of policy and advocacy at Nigeria Health Watch has also praised Nigeria’s handling of the epidemic. He said this is partly because tropical countries have the advantage of having built capacity over the years from managing frequent, smaller outbreaks.
“Reporting the index case was done within 48 hours of the Italian’s arrival in Nigeria and since then the NCDC has been giving regular daily updates and also revising its public health advisories,” he said
Nsofor said the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been investing in epidemic preparedness for the past three years and has helped to set up Public Health Emergency Operations Centers (PHEOCs) in 23 out of the 36 states inside Nigeria.
He praised Nigeria’s federal and state authorities for wasting no time in communicating clearly with the public and immediately upgrading the four testing centers spread geographically throughout the country to serve as reference laboratories.
The mandate of The Boss Gidado Mustapha led Presidential Task Force for the Control of COVID–19 is no mean task but so far, they have not disappointed. we can only hope and pray they keep up the good work and kick the dreaded virus out of Nigeria