•How He Has Remained Relevant 22 Yrs After He Left LAGOS
Everybody remembers him as the handsome, ever-smiling Governor of Lagos who was well-loved for his people-oriented policies. Brig-General Muhammed Buba Marwa Rtd is the new NDLEA boss, and this comes after President Buhari made the announcement a week ago. This has set him in another high pedestal as a feather added to his cap. It’s no gainsaying that the former Lagos Milad has always been in the news and very relevant when politics comes to play. He has always been rallied around by the northern cabals and in extension to the southwest. This can be penciled down to his calm and mien nature despite he is a general.
Military men are generally known to be unsmiling and tough-looking, but he has always had this calm, friendly mien which might also be part of his unique characters. Just few months ago, he was in the news when his stepson, Turad Sha’aban got married to President Buhari’s daughter, Hanan. It was a colourful wedding which had all the power brokers in one place. This further cemented the close friendship between President Buhari and Gen Buba Marwa, more so they have the same common background, they are simply soldiers.
Recall, when President a Buhari called a peaceful meeting between the Ex-generals on the End SARs saga, it was reported that Gen Buba Marwa was also involved in the scheme of things.
He has always been relevant and loved by all in the north and also down southwest, especially in Lagos where he held sway as an outstanding ex-military administrator.
Marwa it was, who brought his gift and acumen of talented leadership traits to govern Lagos State at the heydays of the political struggle to rid the nation of military autocracy and insecurity at the hands of criminal elements who held the state to ransom.
Of course, millions of Nigerians living in Lagos, a mini-Nigeria, will not forget in a hurry the breadth of fresh are that ‘Operation Sweep’ which Marwa personally commanded cleaned the state of criminality to the extent that at one point, criminals resorted to writing letters begging the governor to go on ‘leave’ even if for one day, so that they can operate and have money to take care of their families.
What about the exploitative tendencies of shylock landlords and house owners that threatened to wipe out accommodation for middle-income earners and the poor people with exorbitant rents; a situation that was saved by Marwa’s enactment and implementation of the only official Rent Edict that ever worked in Nigeria. Getting another appointment as the NDLEA boss further puts him on the limelight for his continual disciplinarian nature to put to bear within the agency. Ever since he has left the position as Lagos Ex-military administrator 22 years ago, he has always been relevant and not relegated in one way or the other. Gen Marwa who came to Lagos as a child in 1964 where he concluded his primary school went back in the ’70s to work at the Army Headquarters where he was privileged to be Aide de Camp (ADC) to the then Chief of Army Staff, General TY Danjuma. In the 80’s he was back again to Lagos to work at the Armoured Corps’ Headquarters in Bonny Camp.
The 67-year-old is a retired army officer who served as governor of Borno State, and then Lagos State during the military administrations of Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha. Born in Kaduna, He hails from Michika L.G.A of Adamawa State. He attended the Nigerian Military School, Zaria and the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna. Later, while in the army, he studied at the University of Pittsburgh, where he obtained a master’s degree in International Relations, and he obtained a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.
He was commissioned as 2nd lieutenant in the Nigerian Army Reconnaissance Corps before moving to the Armoured Corps. He held various posts in the army, including Brigade Major (23 Armoured Brigade), Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Theophilus Danjuma, academic registrar of the Nigerian Defense Academy and deputy defence adviser in the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC. In 1990, he was appointed Governor of Borno State. In 1992, he became the defence adviser to the Nigerian Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
From 1996 to 1999 Marwa was Military Governor of Lagos State. During his administration, he implemented programs such as “Operation 250 Roads” which greatly improved motoring conditions. He revamping public health institutions and ensured that free malaria treatment that was available to all. His administration upgraded infrastructure in poor neighbourhoods. He proclaimed an edict to regulate rents, stopping the “Jankara” method of eviction of tenants and ensuring that due process was followed. Marwa became well respected in Lagos because of “Operation Sweep”, joint police and military venture that helped reduce Lagos’ notorious crime rate.
In May 1998, Mohammed Buba Marwa imposed fuel rationing in Lagos State in an attempt to tackle petrol shortages and reduce chronic queuing at petrol stations. In July 1998, Marwa opened a new asphalt plant in Lagos, the largest in Nigeria.
After retiring from the Nigerian army at the end of his term as Lagos State governor, Brigadier General Marwa founded Albarka Airlines and the Buba Marwa Endowment. In September 2003, Buba Marwa gave up his position of Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Albarka Airlines. In May 2007, the government of Nigeria withdrew the operating licenses of Albarka Airlines in controversial circumstance, some say for political reasons. In December 2006, Marwa had announced he would be running in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) primaries to become the party’s candidate for President of Nigeria. His bid was unsuccessful, and he gave his support to Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who went on to become president. In 2007 he was appointed Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa. Marwa then in 2011 was the gubernatorial candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC in his Adamawa home state against the then incumbent governor Murtala Nyako. Marwa decamped from APC due to complaints of unfair treatment of his followers after his party CPC merged with ANPP and the ACN following the decamping of Governor Nyako to the same party. In June 2015, Marwa returned to the APC with his followers following the swearing-in President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015.
In January 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Marwa as the Chairman/CEO of Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). He is happily married to Mrs. Munira Marwa, Ex-First Lady of Lagos and has four sons and four daughters.