WHY PEOPLE LOVE BRIGADIER GENERAL M.I. TSIGA (RTD)
Submitted by C.A. MBAMA
I never desired to undergo my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) outside Eastern Nigeria because I wanted to stay close to my family, since I lost my ONLY brother not up to a year before the NYSC in 2009. More so, I needed my mother to have rest of mind that her only son is undergoing his youth service within Eastern Nigeria as there was tension in the North that time which emanated from the killing of Boko Haram Leader, late Mohammed Yusuf. For my Father (of blessed memory), he didn’t have any issue to where I would be posted because he had spent so many years in Kano (Northern Nigeria) as a Trader.
To ‘cut the story short’, I was posted to Katsina State (Northern Nigeria) and to Bakori LGA (Funtua Zone) for my NYSC primary assignment. I never knew Brigadier General M.I. Tsiga (Rtd), the former Director General NYSC, is from that local government area. One day, we were told to go and greet our “Father, the NYSC Boss”, and lackadaisically we went and on getting to his home town, Tsiga village, we saw a mammoth crowd who also came to greet him with different expectations… which are usually met. We went, had good chat with him and left with smiles on our faces… and this happens each time he visited.
Honestly, my experiences during my service year changed the negative perceptions I had over the years about the North. Some of the things I realised about them are their hospitality, love and sincerity. The people of Katsina showed us the strangers so much love and care. In fact, those were some of the major attributes I also saw in General M.I. Tsiga (Rtd) that made people admire him so much. I saw the way he reaches out to people with love, care and humility, that I had to wish we have MORE of such kind of people in the society, then, the society would have been better by now, just as Martin Kornfeld said, “if such act of kindness is done daily, we just might set the world in the right direction”.
I remembered when General Tsiga (Rtd) visited our camp then, the first thing he did was to release his personal phone number to corps Members and said “if you have any problem, call me”. Wow!… I was really surprised because that was my first time to have seen such a high personality relates with his subjects. One funny thing is that, Gen Tsiga attends to every call irrespective of who you are, so far you are a corps member and he still uses that same MTN phone number till today.
I remembered an incident where five (5) corps members were kidnapped at River State in June 2011. On hearing that his corps members were kidnapped, the DG immediately flew down to Rivers State and mobilised the State Security Service (SSS), Army and Police for the rescue of the corps Members. Their operation yielded result within two weeks with the help of strong intelligence they deployed, aiding to the rescue of the 5 corps members together with other victims that were also kidnapped, without paying any ransom and they all came back unhurt. Gen Tsiga (Rtd) later received the title “Ochendo” because of his strong believe and commitment to people’s safety especially the Corps Members Safety.
Is it the empowerment programme he introduced during his time as DG, called War Against Poverty (WAP) Loan which so many Youths benefited? One of the things I know about him is that he always desire that the Youths get engaged. He introduced WAP Loan, a programme that guaranteed graduates (corps members) Loan after training them on any Enterprise of their choice. The initiative which the federal government welcomed and give out for a start Five Hundred Million Naira (N500,000,000) to support and encourage Youth Entrepreneurs and so many Youths benefited (including myself) irrespective of ones tribe, religion, ethnicity etc.
When he assumed office as NYSC DG, he promised to push for an increase in corps members’ monthly allowance, which he fulfilled within one year in office that gave corps members 100% increase in their monthly allowance. The man is an epitome of love not only to his people but to everyone that comes across to him. There was a time we sampled opinion from people about Brigadier General M.I. Tsiga (Rtd), about 98% who are not from Northern Nigeria talked good about him. In fact, one said “I wish Tsiga will contest for any national post, and I am ready to mobilize support for him” as he was described as a very nice man.
General Tsiga (Rtd) is a very strong, intelligent yet humble man that has all it takes to bring powerful development to the society, he is an acceptable man (well accepted across Nigeria) who has demonstrated that his purpose on earth is to leave a legacy that people will remember, even when he is no more. Due to his selfless service to humanity, he was crowned the tittle “Barden Kudun Katsina on 31st March, 2018. Barden Kudun Katsina has always live up to expectations at meeting the needs of people.
I think in such a time that Nigeria, has witnessed so much problems ranging from youth unemployment, insecurity, hunger etc, it can take people of notable character, people that can sacrifice their “ALL” to bring a visible positive impact in the society. I think if the country, Nigeria, really need to bring such true change to her citizens, then such person like General Maharazu I. Tsiga (Rtd) and his likes need to be engaged to work in bringing a lasting solution to peace and poverty in the land of Nigeria. People who are experienced and can also sacrifice are people that can truly bring the needed change, not the “greedy vampires” who are only selfish and self-centred. My prayer always is that God Almighty raises more of such people like Brigadier General M.I. Tsiga (Rtd) in Africa, in order for Africans to have a better Continent.