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How Hadiza Bala Usman succumbs to power play politics  at NPA.



Our Correspondent
In a surprise move, President Mohammadu Buhari, yesterday approved the removal of Hadiza Bala Usman, as the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

The sack, which caught many stakeholders, including Hadiza herself on wrong footing, came against the run of play, given the perceived closeness of Hadiza to the presidency.

It could be recalled that Hadiza was part of the think- tank team who worked tirelessly for the re-election of President Buhari in 2019.

For her visible role, she was rewarded with the second tenure appointment as the MD of the super rich govenment agency, six months before her first tenure was over.

However, it was gathered that the perceived closeness with the presidency and the support she enjoyed from her “foster father”  Governor El- Rufai of Kaduna state, has given her  what a source desribed as “false sense of invincibility and unusual boldness”  which was said to have made her to step on many toes, including that of her direct boss, Rotimi Ameachi, the Minister of Transportation.

Sources claimed that Ameachi, who supported and recommended the appointment of Hadiza for the plum job in 2015 when Habib Abdullahi, the immediate past NPA MD was sacked, never wanted her to come back for the second term.

However, he was beaten to his scheme to get  one of his associates appointed .

In a deft political move said to have been  masterminded by El- Rufai, Hadiza appointment for another second tenure was hastly announced, six months before her first tenure expired, thus effectively frustrating the plan of Ameachi to unseat her.

Sources claimed Hadiza was aware of Ameachi opposition to her re-appointment and how he was beaten to his game, a realisation which sources said emboldened Hadiza to act in a way which Ameachi found distasteful and frustrating.

This development, sources said, thereafter led to the collapse of the once thriving  relationship between the two.

However, the development made most of the internal forces against Hadiza to have the ears of the Minister in whom they found an ally  to unseat Hadiza.

This led to the series of petitions against Hadiza over her alleged financial impropriety, high- handedness and other activities  that bordered on flagrant abuse of civil service extant laws such as appointment of staff that defiled due process, favourism .

It was gathered that it was on the basis of these litany of allegations that the Minister recommended to the President that all these allegations should be investigated while Hadiza steps aside.

It was learnt that President Buhari, who defers to Ameachi’s advice, approved that a panel of enquiry be raised to thoroughly investigate the allegations while Hadiza should step aside.

In confirming the Presidential approval, Garba Shehu, the Special Senior Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement issued yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the setting up of an administrative panel of inquiry to investigate the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Graba Shehu said the approval was granted sequel to the recommendation of the Ministry of Transportation headed by Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

The panel, according to the statement, is to be headed by the Director, Maritime Services of the Ministry of Transportation while the Deputy Director, Legal of the same Ministry would serve as Secretary.

“Other members of the panel will be appointed by the Minister”, it further said.

Meanwhile, “The President has also approved that the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman step aside while the investigation is carried out.

“Mr. Mohammed Koko will act in that position”, the statement declared.

Stakeholders believed that this statement has put paid to the ambition of Hadiza to becoming the longest serving Managing Director of the NPA.

“Step aside is an euphemism for sack. Hadiza has been sacked, forget the semantics. I don’t see her returning back as the MD” a source at NPA told our correspondent.

Those who are well versed in the politics of NPA said Ameachi may have gotten his own pound of flesh as he has shoved Hadiza out of the way and installed one of his cronies as Acting MD.

However, it is yet to be seen how long Mohammed Kolo would be in that position before a substantive helmsman is expected to be appointed.

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