The sack of Hadiza, Eto, Koko and NPA: The Unsavoury Saga of an Agencyby-Kelvin Kagbare
From the streets of Abuja to the Boardroom of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, the transition must have caused Hadiza Bala Usman to stagger and assume that such heights could be attained for next to nothing. The dispositions of such a mindset could be accurately deduced even by under the bridge dwellers within and outside Nigeria.
In Nigeria, patronage has displaced merit just as godfatherism is the token for political preeminence. Personal labour, patriotism, hard work, commitment to national development count for nothing if you do not know who knows. The few exceptions there could be are far outnumbered and outshined by their peers who get pushed through the ladder by political godfathers.
Hadiza’s appointment as Managing Director of the NPA in 2014, hit stakeholders in the maritime industry like a thunderbolt. The outcry and protests were soon droned by visitations and congratulatory messages by vested interests seeking protectionist policies in their favour.
Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman was first appointed NPA MD on July 12, 2016. Meaning that her five-year tenure has about six months to expire when the federal government announced her reappointment in January 2021, an action described as unprecedented by maritime stakeholders, followers of events, commentators and media managers.
First appointed as MD 12.7.2016
Reappointed 21.1.2021 (six months to end of 1st 5yr tenure)
Suspended/Sacked from office May 21, 2021
While there are many pluses for her as MD, the Endsars debacle and the fire incident therefrom threw up many issues yet unresolved:
Why were gifts of computers/accessories received from donors by Hadiza if the NPA house Marina, Lagos was fully insured?
Are such donors unaware of less endowed government institutions/Agencies in dire need of such items?
What is the outcome of inquiry/investigation into the fire incident thus far?
Has the insurance company responded and paid for damages?
Which, among the copious insurance firms in Nigeria is/are the insurer(s) for NPA?
Issues surrounding Global Marine Systems Limited and INTELS Group with their leases revoked and how such action affects investors’ confidence are different issues in another realm of operations while Hadiza reigned at NPA.
Dredging contracts, procurement of dredging equipment by NPA to save cost are even ethereal as well as the probe panel constituted by the Federal government to probes her tenure.
This is a brainchild of the Hadiza led management of NPA which the acting Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, is grappling with, not to mention the queries from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation bothering on untidy financial appropriations.
The acting MD has been in NPA for over five years. As Executive Director, Finance and Administration, he has a deep insight into and a good understanding of the workings/operations of NPA. His efforts to reset the Eto Application has not worked so far in resolving the dare devil traffic gridlock of Apapa.
Responding to financial queries from the National Assembly and other federal government organs must be giving Bello-Koko sleepless nights even as politicians, terminal operators and others prey/pry on him to gain favours.
Is the Ag MD untangled by Hadiza’s actions? What about the Board which has its composition/ appointment challenged in court by elder Asu Beks, a maritime journalist?
Indications show that an affidavit deposed to by the Federal Ministry of Justice, FMJ on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, in connection with the suit challenging the premature re-appointment of Hadiza, and which disclosed that Hadiza’s appointment has been terminated by the President and therefore, neither Hadiza nor her employer can be sued on the basis of her reappointment, already overtaken by her sack by the Presidency.
The reverberations from that disclosure resonates across the country.
The Nigeria Ports Authority is not a stranger to news, views and comments on its operations, award of contract, regulatory functions and even Corporate Social Responsibilities.
Contract splitting scams have rocked the agency repeatedly just as dredging of navigational channels, removal of wrecks are everyday matters shadow boxing the agency.
In reappointing Hadiza, the Federal government also approved the reconstitution of the Non-Executive Board of the NPA, with Emmanuel Adesoye (from South-west zone) as Chairman.
Other members of the Board are: Ekenyem Nwafor-Orizu (South-east zone), Akinwunmi Ricketts (South-south zone), Ghazali Mijinyawa (North-East zone), Mustapha Dutse (North-West zone), and Abdulwahab Adesina (North-Central zone).
Could this Board pass the legality test haunting Hadiza?
The foregoing are some of the unsavoury saga of the Nigerian Ports Authority predating Hadiza’s appointment/reappointment.
Amidst suspensions, recalls, outright sacks, accusations/counter accusations, indeed, Hadiza came, she saw, but, is it that she refused or failed to stoop to conquer? And, is anyone thinking of making an award winning movie from the sojourn of Hadiza to and fro NPA?