Hadiza Bala Usman: A Square Peg In A Round Hole, Period! By Muhammed Auta

When Thisday Newspaper reported that it was reliably informed that President Muhammadu Buhari was set to appoint Hadiza Bala Usman as the new MD of The Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), I dismissed it as one of those allegations aimed at denting the already dented image of the President by the “South Newspapers”. However, on deeper reflection based on the well known relationship between the Transport Minister who is responsible for the supervision of the NPA and on whose recommendation we were told Mr President acted, and Hadiza’s boss, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, I decided to keep my fingers crossed to see how things unfold.

Not long thereafter, we saw a Press Release by the Ministry informing us of Hadiza’s appointment which effectively confirmed what Thisday Newspaper alleged. I have never met Hadiza in person, but I have read about her since her days at the BPE as an aide to el-Rufai when he held sway as the DG of the government privatisation Agency, the Bureau of Public Enterprise.

A cursory look at Hadiza’s CV shows that, she is 40 years old which is quite interesting and encouraging, with a Postgraduate Diploma. But all her life, she has never worked a side the one year she spent in her father’s think-tank, Center for Democratic Development Research and Training (CEDDERT) in Zaria except as an aide to Mallam el-Rufai. From his days at the BPE, to FCTA, and to the Good Governence Group (3G) which he co-founded when he was being chased by Yar’adua government and to the Kaduna State Government House where she was serving as his Chief of Staff before her appointment. If we are to be honest with ourselves, a person with that credential is not qualified to handle a delicate task of managing our port. Being a personal aide is entirely different from heading a every strategic agency like the NPA.

Some e-rats may try to justify this nonsense by citing the case of Osita Chidoka who was appointed Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps without any experience aside being a Special Assistant to a Minister and in the Presidency and other similar irrational appointments by the past government. My answer to them is simple: We are tired of the status-quo, that was why we demanded for change, and through shared effort, and the will of God we got it.

President Buhari should be careful with the way he handle some of these issues. He should not approve all the junks being wrapped by his ministers as recommendation with scrutiny. Because, Hadiza’s appointment clearly indicated that Mr President’s gospel of reform in the Transport sector is not for real.

I thought the seat should be advertised, Certain number of candidates should be pre-qualified, interview and or examination conducted preferably by a foreign consultant, and the candidate with the highest score appointed. With that, we are sure of the quality of the person so appointed. Lets call a spade by its name: el-Rufai ask his friend, the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi to recommend Hadiza for the post and cornered the President to approve the recommendation of the Transport Minister.

However, what we have now is a clear case of Square Peg in a Round hole which clearly indicated a clear evidence of Nepotism!

Muhammad Auta, Jalingo

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