NYSC: Acting Director General Steadies the Ship

By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Brigadier-General Muhammad Fadah lasted only 6 months as the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) before he was unceremoniously axed out of the leadership of the Scheme and the most senior Director Mrs. Christy Uba was asked by President Muhammadu Buhari to act as the Director General of the NYSC pending the appointment of a substantive DG.

Her stepping in into the hierarchy of the NYSC in acting capacity has already started restoring faith, confidence and trust in the Scheme by both the staff and participants in the NYSC and within two weeks she has made impacts that are concrete and verifiable. 

From a good observation,  it wouldn’t be wrong to classify her stint as Acting Director General as that of transformational Leadership Style.

Scholars say that among all the recognized leadership styles in business, transformational leadership is perhaps the most focused on the leader’s personality. With this type of leader, employees are guided by a clearly defined vision for success, which may be the leader’s personal vision or the company’s mission statement. According to Northeastern University, this kind of leadership inspires innovation and generally creates a positive workplace culture.

Transformational leadership is characterized by: The leader acting as a role model to employees

Close, consistent focus on the company vision;  A high value on interpersonal relationships; Inspiration as a tool to motivate employees; Like the other leadership styles, there are benefits and drawbacks to transformational leadership. 

Pundits say that a transformational leader can inspire employees to try to be their best selves, create a workplace where mutual respect is highly valued and encourage employees to think critically about the values they hold. But this type of workplace can also become a cult of personality or create an environment where gaining the leader’s approval becomes a priority for employees, diverting their focus from performing their jobs well or supporting each other. The acting Director General has made impacts that are concrete and verifiable as earlier said.

Specifically, the milestones made by the Acting Director General within two weeks are as follows-: She and her team have reinvigorated and inspired confidence in the workforce which invariably enhanced productivity;  Has reinforced the Trust and assurance of the Governing Board on the Leadership and Management of the Scheme; Reestablished the mutual relationship between the Scheme and the Press which was almost battered; Has recreated cohesion among the top echelon of the Scheme’s Management; Has librated the shrouded free flow of administration which was at the point of breakdown; Successful supervision of the documentation of newly recruited staff; Supervised the successful conclusion of Batch C Stream 1 Orientation Course; Smooth take-off of the Batch C Stream 2 Orientation programme.

Her profile is rich. And she is charismatic.  Christy Ifeyinwa Uba was born on 25th December, 1963 in Maiduguri, Borno State. A native of Nnewi in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Mrs. Uba is a graduate of Mathematics from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where she graduated with a first class degree in 1988. Her quest for further education inspired her to enroll and earn a Master’s Degree (MSc) in Mathematics in 1992. She also acquired a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Science in 1998 from the University of Abuja; going further to bag professional qualifications in Computer Technology.

Mrs Christy Uba had earlier participated in National Service. She was mobilised and deployed to Oyo State in the 1984/85 Service Year upon the conclusion of her National Certificate of Education programme, (NCE).

She began her public service career as lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where she was given an automatic appointment as Graduate Assistant in the Department of Mathematics in 1988, arising from her brilliant academic performance. 

Driven by the passion to inspire the youths and mould  their character, she transferred her services to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as Senior Programme Analyst in 1994. By the reason of her strong analytical skills, she spent the early part of her career in the Planning, Research and Statistics Department of the NYSC, before her appointment as Head of the erstwhile NYSC Computer Centre from 2000 to 2008.

Mrs Uba pioneered and led the technical team that revolutionised the operations of the NYSC from manual to an online-based platform between the year 2008 and 2014 as Deputy Director, Hardware and Software Development Support.

Prior to the creation of the NYSC ICT Department in 2012, Mrs. Christy Uba was part of the technical team that initiated and worked tirelessly for the establishment of the Department. Her drive for perfection and her administrative skills earned her an appointment as NYSC Nasarawa State Coordinator between 2014 and 2015. As an astute IT professional, Mrs. Christy Uba was promoted to the rank of Director in 2015, and subsequently deployed to the ICT Department. 

The quintessential public servant has distinguished herself in Service as a round peg in a round hole, through her resourcefulness, intellectual prowess, technical expertise, creativity, innovation and unassailable commitment to lift the public service to the acme of excellence.

As the Chief custodian and leader of the NYSC Integrated platform team, she ensures that the objectives of the integrated solution remains invaluable and a model in the Nigerian public service. This development earned the Scheme award as the Best MDA for e-governance in Nigeria, in 2016.

Following the development in the Scheme that saw change of Leadership, Mrs. Christy Uba by the virtue of her position as the most senior Director in the NYSC, was invited to take-over the mantle of leadership as Acting Director General, overseeing the Scheme. 

A cosmopolitan Nigerian, Mrs. Uba is widely travelled and has attended several management courses within and outside Nigeria. She is Member, Computer Professional Council of Nigeria, Fellow, Nigerian Computer Society, as well as Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administration.

She is happily married and blessed with children.

It is generally expected that President Muhammadu Buhari will appoint someone that is vast in leadership charisma and armed with the requisite competencies to sustain the tempo of stability within the NYSC even as the new person wouldn’t find it difficult to have seamless transition because of the fact that the current Acting DG has brought candour,  honour, accountability and transparency to bear in the operationalisation of leadership of the NYSC and once more stakeholders are happy that in no time the NYSC will once more occupy her pride of place in the polity.

* EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA. 

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