Recently, the President of the Senate, Senator David Bonaventure Mark spoke overtly in unmistaken terms, endorsing the transparent leadership of the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Mr.

John Kennedy Opara.
Precisely on 27th March, 2014, it was on the occasion of the formal commissioning ceremony of the NCPC three Storey Pilgrims Reception Centre in Abuja in which the No 3 citizen was the Special Guest of Honour.

Specifically, Senator David Mark congratulated the NCPC boss for the completion of the new edifice which would serve the interest of Pilgrims by providing lodging facilities for them, that was not the main issue; the theme of his statement was that he recommended to the Public a man who could be trusted In budget implementation, a Chief Executive who was able to access and utilize the budget allocations released to his Agency judiciously and effectively.

A Chief Executive that should be emulated.
His words: 'I am very impressed that within a financial year, NCPC was able to access what was allocated to it and was judiciously used to execute the project which it was meant'.

He added, 'It is good for other people to come and learn from Mr.

John Kennedy Opara on how to implement budget'.
This, as far as I am concerned and most Nigerians who were at the simple, but colourful event and perhaps those who watched it on screen or read through the dailies would describe the Senate President's eulogy and endorsement as very instructive, especially in view of the fact that he is a man that does not mince words.

The no 3 man in his remarks at the event actually stated that in October, 2013 when he represented Mr.

President at the flag off of the 2013 presidential pilgrimage at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, that he was highly impressed by the level of organization put in place by the Leadership of the Commission, so he did not expect anything less.

It is interesting that this assessment emanated from the Senate President who understands the intricacies and dynamics of budget allocation and releases to the MDAs.

Sometimes one begins to wonder how Mr.
Opara was able to achieve these milestones, considering the fact that the Commission is still relatively very young.

NCPC was established by an ACT of the National Assembly in 2007, it commenced operations in 2008 in a shared apartment with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NHCON).

In 2010, it moved into its own Corporate headquarters which was commissioned by no less a personality, than the No 1 citizen of this great nation - Mr.

President Three years later, through prudent management of resources and transparent leadership, NCPC was able to complete and commissioned the Pilgrims Reception Centre in Abuja at the corporate headquarters of the Commission Some of us who have worked closely with some Chief Executives of Federal parastatals, this is not a mean achievement.

Most Agencies had existed for more than three decades, yet they cannot boast of having their own permanent office structures.

Yet, every year money is being appropriated to these Agencies to build their headquarters complex and there is nothing visible to show.

The transformations that have taken place under Mr.

John Kennedy Opara led administration in NCPC is visible and palpable even to the blind, because they can easily be felt.

It is also germane to state that the Senate President's recent scorecard on the leadership of NCPC has been corroborated at different fora by some eminent Nigerians.

For example, during the submission of the 2012 and 2013, Federal Government Delegation, Mr.

President scored the leadership of NCPC very high.
In the same vein, during the flag off ceremony of the Presidential Pilgrimage in Abuja, the Senate President, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, DSP Ike Ekweremadu, inter-alia, all admitted that the leadership of NCPC was worthy of emulation.

Aside the Pilgrims Reception Centre, the leadership of NCPC had gone ahead to secure a large expanse of land in the high brawl Central business District of Abuja to build a prototype 15  storey Towers with lodging facilities which would be used for the sustenance of the Commission.

I must affirm categorically that this character of leadership which is proactive and visionary is uncommon.

The new NCPC Pilgrims Reception Centre has 150 seater conference hall, Chapel for pilgrims prayer devotion, Christian pilgrims-e-library, 26 well furnished rooms, restaurant and dinning section, central stores and archives for Finance and Accounts documents.

According to Mr.
John Kennedy Opara, 'the objective of the project is to increase the internally generated revenue and reposition the Commission towards self-sustenance capabilities'.

He explained that the project which started in 2012 was completed on scheduled with the Federal Government releasing the total sum of N186,385.

56 out of which N177, 064,722.
99 was utilized for the retention of the project and the sum of N9, 321,248.

57 ware house with sub treasury.
This is unprecedented.
The Executive Secretary of NCPC, Mr.
John Kennedy Opara, a quintessential Nigerian, an exemplary leader should be encouraged by Government to do more for the country.

Infact, such a high flying Chief Executive deserves a national honours award.

It is therefore not surprising that only recently; the Editorial Board of the African Leadership Magazine considered the NCPC boss worthy for an award of 'best Public Servant' in Nigeria in 2013.

The award will be officially presented to him in far away United States of America this April.

The Magazine did their independent investigations and considered him worthy and deserving of the award having fulfilled all the criteria set by the Editorial Board of the Magazine.

It is indeed very fundamental to emphasize that NCPC under the present leadership has been able to enhance the spirituality of the entire pilgrimage by using pilgrimage as a tool for Moral and Spiritual Transformation.

This has turned the general perception about pilgrimage from being a jamboree as it were, to a life transforming spiritual exercise.

The leadership of NCPC should not rest on its oars to ensure that Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria would continue to grow in leaps and bounds, especially in content and form.

Certainly, the NCPC helmsman has made an indelible mark in the sands of time.

The best, no doubt, is yet to come.
Written By Toruka Celestine Ogugua Writes in from Abuja

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."