Gonistation of National Parks - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Gonistation of National Parks

By Frank meke

I had stumbled into what has emerged as the "gonistation of Nigerian national Parks after a detailed study of the landmark achievements within the system by Dr Ibrahim Goni, the conservator General of National Parks service.

For instance, notable, is the remapping of national park architecture from seven to additional ten, spanning five geopolitical zones, unfortunately leaving out the south East.

The birth of these new Parks across the country emerged as a deep study in strategy and orientation, and if we can take some minutes to situate the landmark opportunity, we then must understand that getting the presidency and the national assembly to effortlessly agree to the request and presentation of the new order, must be gain to gonistiazation of the protected areas in Nigeria.

But for the "blemish" and absence of south east in this swopping gift from the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to new conservation proposition and statement, the gonistation vision for protected areas would have been totally unquestionable.

Even at that,  this new interest was driven with absolute commitment and dedication; and  gives us an idea of what possibly defines the five years goals of Dr Goni' administration for the emerging National Parks in Nigeria.

It was a process that took thirty years to achieve and may actually drew stream within the framework of the operationalization of entire Nigerian conservation intentions which began under Lawan Marguba, the truth is that we cannot in anyway discontinuance the message and interpretation of these new protected areas.

Let me add that this massive achievement should have been celebrated as a great milestone in our conservation history, knowing that such strides excites the world ambushed by climate change and unbridled human exploitative situation against the silent beings. 

Indeed, Dr Goni has stamped his name and vision on the map of Nigerian national Parks, a feat which he claimed was not his absolute imprint alone. 

In my quest to audit his achievements, Dr Goni had called in two of his most senior and trusted " tag team and requested them to explain if he has never carried the system along in the the strategic plan to turn around the fortunes of the Parks. 

Though not yet uhuru, there were many within the conservation and cultural tourism circles who are not happy with the status of the original seven National Parks. Even hushed whispers of what befalls younger and up coming conservators adds to the anxiety of the future but under Goni, the promotion of conservators has leapfrogged beyond measure. 

From mere eight six staff, opportuned to climb the ladder of leadership, Goni ensured that a record of six hundred and sixty six offers wore new ranks in five years.

The hush and hiss maybe human but the teething challenges of operationalization of the new flora and fuana enclaves  stand to gain management solutions with the ranking of new conservators. 

Collaborations with sister senior agencies with the organized security and intelligence parameters, was also a master stroke initiative under "gonistazation" conservation theology which has repositioned the Nigerian conservation protectors as key partners in the national security architecture, in view of the rise in insurgency and bandits using vegetation covers and national border frontiers of the Parks to trouble the nation.

Today, Goni has won the confidence of the Nigerian Army and Nigeria civil Defense to enable the  Park Rangers host superior armament to help confront poachers and other armed groups not allowed within the precincts of the protected ecosystems.

Again, the process is not complete package, and gradually been addressed, the future possibilities of arm bearing Rangers corps of the Park system is as sure as the northern star and it is part of gonistazation imprints.

Infrastructural  renewals in system may have thawed due to funding expectations but the systemic application and wise use of  released funds to touch and address  needs of each unit Parks, will take up my space if we must mention their vestas across board. 

On personal note, that Goni through his achievements may have kept politicians away from polluting the system with their unbridled ambitions to run over institutions which their experience and qualifications does not deserve, gonistazation as a thought process is the measuring tape against those who are out to grab the Parks for their pockets.

 Am indeed as good as lost with many people  who wants  the future of our protected areas properly defined within the context of unbridled political penchant to subsume the system which has proven beyond doubt that it deserves our respect, response, support and buy- in. The world is on fast lane to reverse conservation failings and Nigeria cannot fan embers of ignorance. 

And to wit, President Muhammadu Buhari has clearly shown leadership in this new global thinking, reminding the world that our new ten new parks stands as evidence of the empowerment of our conservation dreams. 

Significantly, the take off funds set aside and released to this initiative are indicative of the drive of Kognan Borgu, Dr Goni Ibrahim to leave an enduring benchmark presence in the history of conservation business in Nigeria. 

What awaits a leader at the place of accountability is performance sheet, every other parameters are in hands of God. Gonistazation as carefully explained here is the scorecard and worth our time. It may not have answered all our questions and anxieties but we know, Rome was not built in a day. We are not yet through in interrogating anxieties in leadership ecology of the Park system and there are plenty opportunities ahead to visit them but today, Dr Ibrahim has shown capacity and resilience.

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