Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has pulled the trigger on the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, culminating in her suspension and probe.
Hadiza is passing through a baptism of fire, for the very first time in her public service career. El-Rufai who had been the sole on the place had put up a strong defense of his decision to remunerate them handsomely.
However, this time around, Hadiza is your one straight at the eye of the storm and she’d need to throw in everything to shield herself, decisions, actions and inactions, and standing against being deliberately clobbered and dented for whatever reasons- be they personal, political or arising from proximate association using a foe.
Hadiza is one of his seven kids.
The consensus is that having been well brought up by the esteemed Bala Usman, Hadiza would not need to take part in official actions that could call to wonder this pristine pedigree.
It could appear relieving to her supporters the Ministry that initially called her outside to the grounds of several eccentric misdemeanors, has narrowed the range of Hadiza’s supposed original sins.
Which started with non-remittance of usable surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue of the Federation (CRF) to a single infraction, to wit: failure to obey directive to procure equipment for draining of stations rather than giving out the job as contracts.
For this reason, Minister Amaechi chose to wield the big hammer. The ministry had been piqued that the NPA had continued to award the clearing of stations as contracts to companies rather than procuring essential equipment and executing the contracts in-house.
But, then, this type of somewhat recondite problem that the Minister appears to not understand. The research will shed light on it and potentially raise different problems.
Agreed that if this had been strictly done, as canvassed by the Ministry, cost savings and effectiveness could be achieved and the country’s revenue base could have witnessed some enormous accretions.
However, who says the method adopted by Hadiza is not utilitarian? The ministry’s proposed strategy and Hadiza’s strategy make a smart financial sense.
Procuring necessary gear and executing the contracts in-house aren’t too dissimilar type the extant strategy. But this is a simple issue that might have been quietly looked into and resolved with no ballyhoo from the public space.
if Minister Amaechi were sincere and there was nothing else to it. Whether there are different infractions that may be played up, the probe provides the chance to do so and also for Hadiza to install her defense.
Speaking about silent resolution, it might have become hopeless as it had been, having gone beyond the intersection of justification together to the grand market location where they are now involved with a macabre dance.
It has become a matter of necessity for both parties to defend their integrity. Unlike Michael Jackson in one of his popular hit tracks,”Beat It” wherein he admonished foes into: “Just beat it…nobody wants to be defeated.
It doesn’t matter who is wrong or right; just overcome it…”, here it things to understand who is the victor and the vanquished in this reputational struggle; it matters to understand who’s right or wrong.
It matters if Nigerians would know who is guilty of executive impunity and official ribaldry in the contemplative proceed to intimidate one or another.
Whereas one ponders the chances of amicable resolution of the impasse, not in the interest of some of the gladiators or protagonists, but in the national interest amid fears which are looming just like a veritable bugaboo concerning the hurt this face-off could cause the market.
An array of questions continue to play themselves out: in what ways will this feud, which is largely about personal greed and ego, benefit the national economy? Can it strengthen international investors’ confidence in the marine sub-sector of the economy?
And, what consequences would it have for national trust funds in the management of the nation’s ports?
What legacies perform Amaechi and Hadiza want to leave behind from the background of the fact that this would be the very first time there would be a face-off of this nature between a serving minister of transportation and a sitting (now suspended) Managing Director of NPA?
Sans the festering feud, there is a soothing calmness from the atmospherics as well as the nuances of management of the nation’s ports through the instrumentality of the NPA and the strong supervisory function of the ministry of transportation.
This is the irreducible minimum that’s anticipated from the operators of the sub-sector to bolster the national economy. I am not positive if Amaechi is quite conversant with this philosophy that undergirds the performance of the revenue-generating services of the government.
Otherwise, he would not have elevated mendacities into the base and pass them off as guiding principles of his ministerial leadership in the guise of ensuring accountability when the real motive for his official assault is private and, perhaps, vengeful. This is just another theme for another story for another moment.
However, Hadiza’s thinking is in pari materia with the NPA’s doctrine of conducting strictly as a business/revenue-generating authority and not as a slush fund, which many politicians lately had turned into the NPA into-to fund elections, prebendal politics and outlandish empowerment of cronies.
Hadiza knows quite well how the ports over which the NPA superintends are the tactical foundation for economic development.
In”The Nation” papers’ Economic Forum on Thursday, May 4, 2017, she said the strategic role of vents in economic development was that they functioned as gateways to global trade and, accordingly, were considered as significant accelerators of neighborhood economic growth.
Quoting the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), she noticed that”that the Netherlands has managed to sustain a relatively high economic growth rate due to the Port of Rotterdam, in spite of the intensely competitive environment in Europe.
The achievement of Singapore is evenly credited to the Port of Singapore, which has developed a transportation logistic center and has successfully been able to attract foreign investment.
” These are quite instructive referrals. They signposted clarity of thoughts, vision, destination, and possibilities, where she wanted to shoot the Nigerian Ports to throughout her superintendence in the NPA. Are Amaechi’s shenanigans not obstructing the realization of this vision?
Her essential summation, to the impact the marine industry, as an important component of the transportation system, is crucial for wealth creation, continues to enjoy eternal approbation.
But her warning afterward in 2017, is what’s rearing its head in 2021 with all the impulsive and avaricious disruption of processes and procedures from the NPA through overbearing ministerial supervision that’s knee-jerk in approach and apparently reluctant in actions.
Which explains why the ministry’s rapid modification of Hadiza’s supposed original sins and a refocus of the contending issues. And what was the warning? Read here:”But, a port becomes a dynamic wheel of a market only if it’s run economically.”
It is to the credit of her understanding the NPA in her opinion realized that the function of a vent isn’t merely restricted to the traditional activities but has expanded to a logistical platform. Based on her,
“Ports not only system the basic operations, but they also provide inland accessibility and intermodal relations in addition to complimentary services to shipping carriers.” Within her further summation, she’d announced that they need to adequately explore the port industry for a road to fostering economic development in Nigeria that couldn’t be over-emphasized.
One is at great pains, therefore, to fault Hadiza’s passionate commitment to the development of the country’s ports, which she was working at prior to the disruption by Amaechi.
She said developing the vents was very crucial for realizing the lofty but achievable development objectives of the Federal Government,
Stressing; “our port infrastructure like the quay walls and aprons would have to be rebuilt and strengthened to make them fit to manage expected heavy solid minerals cargo.
The stations have to be constantly dredged and preserved and deep seaports must be developed to tackle the dynamics in trade and transport demand.” It’s the constant dredging of channels that have become her undoing in the contemplation of Amaechi the Transport Ministry cabal.
Consider still another substantial benefit from her stable: “Improved port infrastructure will bring about improved port actions, which would stimulate economic growth and in turn would impact positively on the market.” This was after it had been realized that the claim on nom-remittance of usable surpluses was not going to soar as it was debunked with facts and figures.
The only claim of how to dredge channels, which is standing one leg may soon collapse like a pack of cards, but the issue now is the negative effects this feud is having on vents operations concerning operators’ relaxation, confidence, and trust in the system during the pendency of the probe. I therefore submit.