Hadiza’s Replacement: Uneasy Calm as Presidency Awaits Amaechi’s nomination
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Palpable air of unease envelopes the maritime industry following the dramatic end of the immediate past managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, who was unceremoniously sacked last week.
The saga of her elephantine proportion fight to reverse her suspension not only failed and entered into history book as the first to lose such fight, industry observers believe that she is also the first to acquired strange political character over the decision of the presidency to hire and fire.
But much more than that, her antecedent has introduced a repertoire of careful weighing by appointing authorities as the nation awaits the appointment of a substantive managing director for the port authority.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had replaced the embattled port authority’s boss with the Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko on acting capacity.
Her suspension and ongoing probe however took a dramatic turn last week, when reports filtered in that she has been sacked. Even though that appeared to be the end of the game, in reality her travails are yet over as the presidency denied extending her tenure, which sparked much controversy, following its perceived constitutional breach.
The announcement of her reappointment had been made six months ahead of the constitutional time frame for her first tenure to lapse. The development sparked much public debate leading to a legal flurry, which ultimately sent her packing, and permanently stalling her hopes of ever returning to NPA House Marina.
Sequel to her suspension, authoritative sources said she busied herself pulling high level strings to persuade the president to allow her return to her job. But that did not happen until last week when she got the shocker of her life over her quiet sack, based on authoritative official position.
As Hadiza prepares for a possible fresh hurdle in the politically charged atmosphere regarding her second term and her futile kicks to question the authorities over her suspension, she is on record as the first NPA boss that may have given the appointing authorities the most unwarranted embarrassment in the history of the organization, and indeed, in the politics of appointments.
Following her final sack, permutations are rife that President Buhari believed to be awaiting the recommendation of the minister of transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, is already under pressure of intense lobby on who will succeed the port authority’s first female managing director.
Would the acting NPA boss, Bello- Koko’s be ratified as substantive managing director? Grapevine holds that few of the power brokers routing for the ratification of his appointment are frontline members of the president’s kitchen cabinet.
Will Hadiza engage in strings pulling from the sidelines to puncture the possibility of the status of her successor in acting capacity getting upgraded into substantive position? Those familiar with the industry and business of lobby thinks that she has no business meddling, given her own serious battles.
Analysts say under the present circumstances and the ominous clouds hanging over NPA, the fate of the un-constituted board led by Emmanuel Adesoye also hangs in the balance, following the legal suit challenging the president on the said appointments, and the attendant moral and integrity issues it has unavoidably exposed the presidency to.
It is believed that the controversial Adesoye led NPA Board does not have the endorsement of the minister of transportation. Informed sources say the board has remained largely a moral burden for all stakeholders and emotional trauma for the members, made worse by the transportation minister’s refusal as it were, to honour it with official inauguration.
Will the board as presently constituted and ‘unrecognized’ by the ministry also go with the tide?
Only time will tell.