The appointment of Ms. Hadiza Usman as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) leaves a lot to be desired, especially following the manner in which top administrators are selected to head parastatals in the Transport sector.
The Nigerian Ports Authority may not relive the glorious days when it enjoyed the monopoly of running the nation’s port, but it still has a unique and very delicate role as the landlord of the port ensuring the major players do not rob the nation as well as managing port infrastructure.
While there is no doubt that an enormous task lies ahead of Ms. Hadiza Usman as she begins her tenure as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, her appointment continues to stir varying views, assertions and expectations.
Speaking shortly after taking the plum job Ms Hadiza stressed that the ports are the critical arteries of the economy and she assured that the new management would support President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of economic diversity.
“We will listen to our customers, importers and exporters and other agencies working in the ports to improve on our service delivery to the nation. Anything less than world class service is simply not acceptable. Attaining such height is the mission to which we can all subscribe. As the team leader, I have come to add my best efforts to yours. We must work as a team, pursuing common goals with professionalism and diligence,” she said.
“To function as regulator, all of us at NPA must be committed to the highest standards of performance. Let us uphold the most diligent work ethics in our individual beats as well as collective undertaking to achieve result.
Everyone at the NPA has a role in promoting best practices in upholding good governance, standards and delivering quality services. We would jointly work hard with integrity and zero-tolerance for corruption” she added.
Nevertheless, some industry stakeholders continue to reiterate the fact that the new NPA boss, like other recent appointments in the Transport sector, lacks the requisite experience to deliver, others wonder why the qualified personnel within the agency were overlooked but others remain optimistic that her appointment could instigate positive changes.
MMS Plus met with some industry stakeholders to get their views and agenda for the new MD of NPA who also holds the record of being the first female Managing Director of the Authority.
The Deputy President of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Mr. Dahiru Abubakar expressed worry that the new MD was yet to disclose her agenda to the maritime populace.
“I was at the handing over ceremony and I observed that she didn’t mention her mission, goals or plans. She only reiterated the president’s stand on corruption. She couldn’t even talk about restructuring or the main agenda she is bringing to the fore. I’m aware that all the general managers and the Head of Department have been briefing her on happenings and achievements” Dahiru said.
However, Dahiru revealed that the union had written officially to congratulate Ms Hadiza and to seek for a meeting with the new management. “If our application for a meeting is granted, we are going to ask for her plans and goals and offer advice at our level because as stakeholders we have a crucial role to play.
Meanwhile, the Chairman Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin has admonished the new NPA management to give urgent attention to the following; implementation of the landlord model, review the 5 year Strategic Plan and devise implementation strategies.
Otunba Folarin also advised Ms Hadiza to work on the intermodal transport modes to service the ports for goods and people moving in and out of the ports and step up revenue generation models whilst blocking leakages.
He also emphasized on issues such as the development of manpower to boost the quality of the work force, ensuring the competitiveness of Nigerian ports and improving the quality of service delivery and port productivity.
“Ms. Hadiza Usman should also ensure the creation of sustainable infrastructures in the ports, engage stakeholders on their needs and workout consensus and solutions, examine issues of maritime security and lobby the National Assembly for the passage of the Ports and Harbours bill” Otunba added.
To Chief Paully Shedrack, the Chairman of the Containerized Port Complex at Tin Can owned by NPA, the emergence of a new MD at NPA affords the aggrieved tenants an opportunity to discuss with the NPA management over its planned eviction.
“Our prayer is that she doesn’t get corrupt by some of the bad eggs at the agency. As the Chairman of the Tin Can Island Containerized Complex, I am optimistic that the change of MD at NPA which brings Ms. Hadiza Usman to the helm, would led to a change in NPA’s plan to evict all tenants at the complex” Chief Shedrack said.
According to Shedrack, an opportunity to meet with NPA representatives would be attainable with the new MD. He also expressed hope that the NPA would see reasons to change its stand if it meets with the distressed tenants who are mostly agents.
“There are several issues for the new MD to address but the most pertinent to me is the eviction. We don’t have intentions to fight over this issue if they decide to listen to us. But they have refused to listen or reply our letters and we have hired a lawyer because we are going to court if diplomacy fails” Chief Shedrack added.
So many expectations on the young administrator but we hope her emergence brings that feminine homely touch to transform NPA, even as we believe that as an activist she should maintain the zeal and courage to always stand for what is right.
By Kenneth Jukpor