The Papyrus Monthly News Magazine came into existence on the 2nd of January, 2006 and has been on stream since then as a veritable platform for information dissemination and entertainment.
Primed to enhance developmental journalism via accurate, fair and unbiased reportage, the Papyrus Magazine focuses mainly on politics, entertainment and general lifestyles as well as highlights and celebrates people’s achievements as a way of inspiring performance on various fields of human endeavor.
Published under the auspices of Damsas Venture now Damsas Mega Business Limited, the magazine has a young CEO who is also the publisher, Hon. Chief (Mrs) Doofan Abu-Amali, a very courageous, hard-working, energetic, strong and beautiful young woman who once intoned, “If there is something to do, no matter how tired I am, I will stand up and attend to it.”
Hon. Chief (Hon.) Doofan Abu-Amali, the young woman who has introduced on the fiat of Papyrus Magazine ten awards across board, bares her mind on sundry national issues in this interview and unveils her forth coming event, THE NULGE AWARDS, scheduled to take place on the 21st of October, 2017 in Abuja.
The Papyrus Magazine Local Governments Awards, NULGE version, is intrinsic as it serves as a tool for proactive engagement in Local Government administration. Kudos goes to Hon. Chief (Mrs.) Doofan Abu-Amali for this laudable initiative which gives NULGE its pride of place in national affairs.
Below are the excerpts of the interview:
Good evening Ma! Please, can we know you?
My name is Doofan, Abu-Amali nee Damsa. I am the CEO of Damsas Mega Business Limited, the Publisher of The Papyrus Monthly Magazine and project initiators of so many successful projects here at the Magazine.
I am married to Hon. Abu Sylvester Amali, a grassroots politician, a mother of three adorable kids and above all a devote Christian, a child of the Most High God.
We understand that you are into awards too. What spurred this decision?
That’s one of the projects I have initiated in the Papyrus Magazine. The Papyrus Magazine celebrates people in our monthly publications and via Awards. That is one of the focal points of the Magazine.
Overtime, I have been able to work with many people; I have been a staff of some people as well. I have realised that when one is appreciated in little things, they tend to do better the next time. For me when you appreciate me, I strive to do more but where you try to bring me down, I just fizzle out completely. I tried harness some of these experiences as the focal point of the magazine or what the focus of the magazine has become today.
We choose to celebrate rather than castigate people, not because they don’t have flaws of their own or they couldn’t have done better on the job. But, we discovered that when you encourage people and in the process of encouraging them, highlight some areas that you think need to be improved upon, you will see them working towards that positive side of things.
When you condemn someone in totality, they can just say, “What? The worse has already happened, so, what can I do?” However, when you say, “Oh, you are beautiful, you are fine, your dress is okay, but I think, if this dress was a little bit longer, it would have been more beautiful!” the person tends to listen to you more than when you say, “Argghh! Why are you dressed like a prostitute?” Basically, that is what my going into awards is all about.
Nigerian is not in a very good shape or place right now; Nigeria is not perfect as it is. I have never been to any country and stayed for more than a week, except when I went for my programme abroad. I went for further studies. I haven’t travelled outside and stayed for more than a week. That is how much I love my country. I feel so comfortable in my place, not because our country is better than other countries, but this is my home. Then, how can we make our home better, where we can actually stay and not pray to go out and look for something that actually can be built here? I decided that, it is better to appreciate our people in politics or whatever categories they are in. It is basically, to encourage people to give and do more for our nation.
You have many awards, but right at hand is the Papyrus Magazine Local Government Awards (PAMLOGA) NULGE Version. What makes you want to honor Local Government employees?
Whether we love to agree with this fact or not, Civil Servants are the ones that drive this country, not politicians. I’m sorry to say this. All the accolades and applause go to the politicians, but they are not the ones that run this country and if this country is bad today, they are not the ones to be held responsible. I am sorry; I served as a political appointee. If the Civil Servants desire, they can rubbish your government, if they want, they can make it a great one as well. So, for me, it is the Civil Servants that make the country run. However, often times, they have been relegated to the background. Could it be why in most cases they are not helping the politicians that come in with no knowledge of the environments at all to succeed?
Now what I have been doing overtime, is to see where Nigeria’s problems are and put life in them, to encourage people that are been relegated to the background help the politicians succeed. Imagine, I’m coming in and it is a Civil Servant that is handing over to me, he might decide to keep some information away from me. If you get to any office at all, it might take you a maximum of two years to fully understand the details of things that go on in that particular office. But, the Civil Servants have been there for years and they know everything. At the end of the day, when they help someone succeed, they (politicians) take the glory alone. If they don’t help someone to succeed, the politician take the blame alone. So, my idea is to shed light on the Civil Servants and try to say, ‘Oh, we understand what you are doing back stage! What you are doing back stage can equally be brought to the front burner as well.” Let people see that you are actually the pillar that holds politicians, you are actually the pillar that holds Buhari presently, held Goodluck Jonathan, held the Late Yar-Adua, held Obasanjo since the return of democracy and as such you can be held responsible too but we must start somewhere, and right here is where I am starting. So, that is basically what the awards are all about.
Why NULGE? Why not the Civil Servants from other areas or even at the top?
Because, my passion is for the rural people, the city seems to have much. At least, we have light, we have basic amenities, but, the people at the rural areas don’t have. They don’t even have basic things like light, good water, roads or whatever, for them to build on. If we have basic amenities in the rural areas, the cities will be decongested and we won’t be talking about air pollution, traffic jam, because, I can actually stay in my Local Government and open a barber salon, a laundry and make money there. So, that is why our focus is on the Local Government. We have been organizing PAMLOGA, an acronym for the Papyrus Magazine Local Government Awards annually where we honoured Local Government Chairmen only but NULGE (Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees) version actually came into the picture when we discovered a particular NULGE Branch Chairman who built a clinic and it was taking care of the health needs of the entire community. Our findings further revealed that, prior to the establishment of that particular clinic, a woman in labour would have to travel more than 30 kilometres before she could get to a clinic and cars don’t go out of that area on daily basis. So, imagine a woman who is in labour the suffering she would go through. Prior to building of the clinic, women were giving birth at home, you can then imagine how much of child mortality that village would have recorded before that particular clinic was built. That was when it dawned on me that, NULGE are not just trouble makers, they are doing something worthy of recognition. Aside assisting the politicians, they are doing something on their own to help their communities.
One notable thing about this is that, the efforts are from their salaries, personal monies whereas; the politicians are doing theirs from the money allocated by the Federal Government to the people. So, if anybody deserves to be appreciated, it is the Civil Servants that have come together under the platform of NULGE, NUT, etc, that are ensuring that workers come to work to help develop the communities, help the politicians to succeed or fail. NULGE to us now are not just troublesome people, they have other good sides and the trouble they make is one that can help them get something to develop the people and the communities they live in. So we feel that it is the right time for us to shed light and recognize NULGE for their activities.
Also, remember we fought and are still fighting for autonomy. Remember, I was at the forefront with ALGON (Association of Local Governments of Nigeria) in the fight for autonomy; we are working towards achieving that. These are the people that will make sure that what we fought for (autonomy), in the first place, is preserved, so that the Local Government Chairmen, after getting autonomy, don’t become demi-gods like the Governors of today, thus forgetting to impact on the society. These people, if they are encouraged and recognised, they will ensure that whatever money is given to these politicians is visibly seen in the society they come from.
From these explanations or points you gave now, are you sure you are not just passing judgements on the rest through one person? Are you sure other NULGE Chairmen and Presidents are performing?
Not just one, they are all doing things; they have actually impacted on the society. Take, for instance, the example of the clinic I mentioned earlier, or the work they are doing in terms of welfare, ensuring that the staffs of the Local Governments help the politicians to succeed or fail depending on the situation. They are working.
Some have gone to build educational structures. I have travelled to over twenty-eight states of the Federation for this same purpose and other purposes too. I have seen what is on ground, first hand. You will see the awards on that day. We have packaged an edition to showcase what they have done. So, I want to tell you that NULGE has done amazingly wonderful, all over the states of the Federation.
Where did you derive the strength from? Travelling from one state to the other to get nominees whom, out of the motley crowd, some are hopeful recipients today?
It has not been easy, but, you know I am a visionary person. When I set a goal, regardless of how I’m feeling, I don’t allow it to deter me. Sometimes I wake up with a headache; sometimes I don’t feel like leaving my bed, but I just remind myself of what I need to do for the day. I jump out of bed immediately to embark on them. I can even wake up without taking my bath (laughs) and run to the office to ensure that the road maps are spelt out clearly. What are the challenges in the things I want to achieve? I tackle them one after the other. So, if there are jobs to be done, I ensure that I do them. Although it has been hectic. I even had a time when a car ran into mine; I thought I was going to die (laughs). That was because, I travelled by road. It is easier to connect one State to the other through the road, and, since we don’t even have flights going to all States of the Federation and even if you do, the mobility around a State and the Local Government for me it’s better done with my car.
The risks are enormous, but, I’m not just looking at the risks because I have somebody that I rely on for that aspect, He is my guardian – JEHOVAH, through his son JESUS CHRIST. I fear nothing, I just pray for strength and favour, and then I move. I know that He is going to guide and protect me. It has not been easy but God gave us favour and today, we have done over twenty-eight States and FCT. So, I am happy!
That’s impressive! I believe you have some criteria for giving out awards?
We looked at people that have motivated their staff to work, even when there was no salary. Those that have been able to say, let’s look at the bigger picture. The bigger picture is not just to come to work and get paid, but, the fact that we are impacting on the society. Some people have not received salary for three months to six-to twelve months, but, the NULGE Presidents and their Branch Chairmen are still encouraging their staff to come to work when it would have been easy to go on strike. That is one of the criteria, Nigeria has to come first. Does that mean that the government should sit back and not pay them salaries? No, or on the other hand should I say because I’m not being paid, the community should go down the drain?
Another one is that, like the clinic I talked about, the recipients also must have visible project (s) that are impacting positively on the society. Thirdly, you have to fight for these workers, you have to give a blueprint that you have fought for these workers, and you are still fighting for their welfare. We also look at the relationship between the leadership of NULGE be it at the State or Local Government with the staff entirely. Are they bossy ones? Are they listening leaders? Are you a leader that is carrying everyone along? So, these are the criteria that we use. It goes down to five, minimum, and ten, maximum per State except for Kano.
Okay ma, you mentioned earlier, of other awards you have doing. Do you think you have been making impacts on the society? If yes, what are these impacts?
Okay, let me use the PAMLOGA (Papyrus Magazine Local Government Awards) as an example in answering this question, we don’t just give plaques and go home; we give prizes. The Best Performing Local Government Chairmen, each of them take home a prize, but we don’t give out cash. We look for a project that is dearly needed in a community; we go there and plant a project with the prized money. So, like it or leave it, we are giving something back to the society through this award in different ways. For the Local Government awards, if we give six projects every year, you know a drop of water makes an ocean. Six projects this year, six projects next year, six projects the other year, we are making progress and impacting on the society. And, the fact that we are encouraging the leaders of the rural people we believe very soon you will begin to see projects that will blow your mind. They are on-going already but it will take a while for it to become visible for all to see. For the NULGE version, we are giving prizes to the President and Branch Chairmen, Best Performing in the States and Zones.
As related to this NULGE Awards, do you have other upcoming awards?
My years are usually very busy. We are working on the State Houses of Assembly Awards and it comes twice in every tenure, which is four years, that is the other phase that we are going into immediately after this one. We also have the Papyrus Magazine Local Government Awards (PAMLOGA) for Local Government Executive Chairmen, which is annually while NULGE Version is once in five years. NULGE leadership had three years tenure before the congress extended it to four years. For the Local Government Chairmen Awards, it is every year because they need to be watched and ensure that, even the money that they are being given are judiciously used.
We have the Papyrus Magazine Screen Actors Awards (PAMSAA) annually, Most Outstanding Lawmakers Award, once in four years, Distinguished CEOs Awards annually, The Papyrus Magazine Merit Awards (PAMMA) which happens every other year. So, it’s been a busy year in, year out for me and my team.
It seems your scope has just been within Nigeria. Do you have plans of spreading your reach outside the shores of the country?
Yes, PAMSAA is already an international award. It has involved Ghana, Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria. So, if the NULGE version will graduate into something big, I’m not going to talk about it now, it’s in the oven (laughs).
It has been nice talking to you!