How infighting, high-handedness cost Habib Abdullahi, others NPA top jobs

Co-founder of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign, Hadiza Bala Usman, who was appointed Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Monday last week is set to resume duties at the NPA headquarters, Marina, Lagos today. This is even as reasons emerged weekend for the change of guard at NPA.

Habib Abdullahi, who was unceremoniously sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari barely one year after his reinstatement, hurriedly returned to the country weekend to hand over to Usman today. Abdullahi was cooling off in the United States of America when he received the news of his ouster. Curiously, he was also out of the country – in London – when he was sacked from the same position by former President Goodluck Jonathan on April 29, 2015.

Abdullahi, who was first appointed NPA Managing Director on 25th July 2012, had been engaged in running battles with NPA’s three Executive Directors since his reinstatement by Buhari on August 13, 2015.

The three Executive Directors – Olumide Oduntan (Finance and Administration), Mohammed Saleh (Engeneering & Technical Services) and David Omonibeke (Marine and Operation) – were sacked along with Abdullahi last week.

“There was no love lost between him and the EDs, especially between him and the ED Finance as well as the ED Marine and Operation,” a staff at NPA headquarters who did not want his name disclosed told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.

The source also stated that at a point, Abdullahi and Olumide Oduntan (the ED Finance) were not on talking terms.

“Not only Oduntan, the former MD turned a lot of people to his enemies. It was as if he came back with vengeance to deal with those he considered his enemies.

“Some top management staff who did not call him to sympathise with him for the three months that he was sacked by the former President became his enemies when he was reinstated. Some of them were even threatened and hounded with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),” the source stated.

A Director at the Federal Ministry of Transport, Abuja, who also did not want her identity disclosed, told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that Abdullahi was found wanting as a leader and manager, hence his removal.

“Don’t forget that he and the EDs had not even completed their initial four-year tenure before they were kicked out. The problem is that the Minister is not convinced that the executive management team could move the organization forward with the bickering and war of attrition between them.

“The former MD in particular was rather high handed and very argumentative. He trusts only in his own views and opinions. He doesn’t listen even to the Honourable Minister. He argues a lot with the Minister and I am sure you know very few bosses can tolerate that,” she said.

President Muhammadu Buhari last week jolted many maritime industry operators as he approved the appointment of Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman as the new NPA Managing Director.

Director of Press of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mrs Yetunde Sonaike, in a press release sent to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Tuesday, confirmed Usman’s appointment. She is the first female Managing Director of NPA.

Sonaike also said the President approved the appointment of three new Executive Directors for the NPA. They are Mohammed Bello-Koko (Finance); Prof. Idris Abubakar (Engineering) and Dr. Sekonte Davies (Marine Operations).

The appointments took effect from Monday 11th July 2016.

The new NPA MD was an active member of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign – the group advocating for release of the abducted Chibok girls. She is also an active member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Hadiza Bala Usman was born on 2nd January 1976 in Zaria, Kaduna State.

She holds a B.Sc. Degree in Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and a Post Graduate in Development Studies from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom in 2009.

She started her Career with Centre for Democratic Development and Research Training (CEDDERT) Zaria, a Non-Governmental Organization in June 2000 as a Research Assistant.

She worked at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) from July 2000 to August 2004 as an Enterprise Officer.

She was hired by the UNDP for the Federal capital Territory Administration (FCTA) from October 2004 to January 2008 as a Special Assistant to the Minister on Project Implementation. She worked as Director of Strategy of Good Governance Group, a Non-Governmental Organisation from 2011 to July 2015.

From July 2015, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman was appointed as Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kaduna State, a position she held until her present appointment.


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