When the appointment of a new leadership was announced two years ago for the National Institute For Legislative And Democratic Studies NILDS, under the management of an erudite scholar, technocrat, bureacrat, academic, virulent public speaker and former Minister of National Planning, Professor Abubakar Olarenwaju Sulaiman, it was a jolly good decision taken by the government in quest to reposition the institute.
The institute with dual responsibility of academic and adminstrative activities came on board to promote democratic practice not only in Nigeria, but outside the shores of Nigeria, to also complement and deepen the popular practice across the world.
Though, confronted with alot of challenges that militated against it’s operations, the new Director General, embarked on massive staffs orientation and reorientation through trainings and retrainings, along with the addressing the critical welfare of members of staff of both at the academic and adminstrative arm of the institute.
With deep exposure and indepth academic and adminstrative wizardry, the development expert deployed his wealth of experiences into bringing on the stream modest democracies templates that had brought positive developement to the democratic institute.
The Political scientist embarked on wholistic review of salaries and emoluments of staffers, a departure from the previous handlers that left a demoralized, decapitated and dilapidated equipment, with upward review of salaries in line with the prevailing situations.
As an academic institute, with the new DG coming from the ivory tower, the need for constant reinvigoration of academic staff through research in modern democratic norms was prioritised with effects across all it’s activities , with the administrative arm not left out of the scheme of things.
This had brought to the institute, alot of improvement, with constant trainings and retrainings, workshops and talkshops, seminars, symposiums organised for members of the National and state assemblies including their aides as well as parliamentary staffs of the legislative arm of government across the country.
Professor Olarenwaju deployed alot of managerial knowledge and expertise garnered over the years to both national and international programs, that had positive multiplier effects on the thriving and threatened democracies across the globe, particularly in Africa, that had reflected of not only Nigeria’s democratic practice, but world over.
Based on the needs assessment, recruitment of new staffs across board with attractive salary packages to effect hardwork, results as well as ensured new initiatives among many expectations.
The academic giant introduced not only e- learning and live coverage and technology driven activities in the institute, but ensured the systematic movement of all it’s activities online inline with the new order .
Before his assumption of duty, proceedings at both green and red chamber was not aired live outside the chambers, but the pursuant of digital template of the institute brought alot of dynamics to its activities under Professor Abubakar Sulaiman Olarenwaju, as billboard that displays live proceedings was initiated among many innovations.
Sulaiman drove the establishment of zonal offices, and the engagement of renowned academics to assist in the continuous inculcation of basic democratic tenets that had affected it’s practice positively from the local , state and federal level.
He introduced intra and inter parliamentary visits, seminars, workshops, talkshops,and symposiums that had impacted more knowledge both on the institute, nation’s and participants across countries.
With his appointment at the peak of the global pandemic of COVID, economic downturn, and the Endsars upheaval, the International scholar turned both natural and artificial phenomenon as an opportunity to propagate a continuous democratic approach towards ressolving the multifarious situations, prevalent not only in Nigeria, but a global phenomenon.
Inspite the pandemic, he was at the forefront of both national and global campaigns for a more concerted efforts at ensuring best approaches to participatory democracies.
Students parliament’s were brought on board, were students of various high institutions of learning carried out internships and trainings in the institute to acquaint themselves with the intricacies of democratic engagements both in Nigeria, African subregion among many nations of the world was convened under his leadership.
Professor Olarenwaju constant interface with lawmakers, presentation of papers, reports, and address in public foras that had reoriented a new approach to democratic practices was instituted, hence creating awareness on the need to continue to embrace democracy as one of the global and modest form of government.
The new leadership also introduced the maiden parliamentary fora were members of the National Assembly were acquainted with the dynamics of democratic dispensation and engagements with a view to improving their perfomances and by extension attract more dividends of democracy to their constituents and Nigeria.
Two years down the line, the erudite scholar’s determination to bequeath a lasting democratic norms with more innovations at the institute remained undaunted and unwavering towards an virile society.
Abubakar Yusuf, Writes From Abuja.