Hadiza Bala Us­man and the doubt­ing Thomases

Daily Trust - - OPINION -

The last few days have been ex­cit­ing in Nige­ria’s so­cial sphare, cour­tesy of “pres­i­dent Buhari’s ap­point­ment of Ha­jiya Hadiza Bala Us­man as the new head of the Nige­rian Ports Author­ity (NPA). Her ap­point­ment did not come as a sur­prise to many, par­tic­u­larly those who are fol­low­ing events with keen in­ter­est in Kaduna State. It is not out of place to as­sert that Hadiza’s pedi­gree, ca­pac­ity, and ex­pe­ri­ence have been phe­nom­e­nal to the suc­cesses recorded in Kaduna State in the last one year un­der Mal­lam Nasir El­r­ufa’i.

It is there­fore laugh­able to see her crit­ics ad­vance ar­gu­ments that are not only in­tel­lec­tu­ally im­po­tent, but also log­i­cally im­be­cile in or­der to seek at­ten­tion and score cheap po­lit­i­cal points. More shal­low are the rea­sons given by an “au­thor” Muhammed Auta in his ar­ti­cle ti­tled: Hadiza Bala Us­man: A Square Peg in A Round Hole, Pe­riod! Pub­lished on the 14th of July 2016.

From his ar­gu­ments, it is ap­par­ent Muhammed Auta is a Doubt­ing ThomasOne who ha­bit­u­ally or in­stinc­tively doubts ac­cepted be­liefs. Doubt­ing Thomases are non­be­liev­ers, skep­tics, un­be­liev­ers, pes­simists and dooms­day prophets. The au­thor ad­mit­ted he “has never met Hadiza in per­son, but has read about her since her days at the BPE as an aide to el-ru­fai when he held sway as the DG….” Hadiza must have made gi­ant strides as an aide to be no­ticed and even read about by Muham­mad in far away Jalingo.

It is un­for­tu­nate that the only ex­pe­ri­ence the au­thor saw af­ter tak­ing a “cur­sory look” at her CV was when she worked as a re­search in­tern at the Cen­tre for Demo­cratic Re­search and Train­ing (CEDDERT) in the early stages of her ca­reer “ex­cept as an aide to Mal­lam El­r­u­fai”. This nar­ra­tive is my­opic and mis­lead­ing. In­deed Mal­lam Nasir has been phe­nom­e­nal in Hadiza’s ca­reer, and that has pre­pared her to take up greater chal­lenges in the ser­vice of the peo­ple in which she has so far demon­strated her al­tru­ism and ca­pac­ity.

As dif­fi­cult as it is to con­vince Doubt­ing Thomases, here is Hadiza’s CV in a cur­sory look… Bach­e­lors De­gree in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion (ABU), Masters in De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies (not a Postgraduate Diploma as the au­thor sug­gested). It may also in­ter­est Muham­mad Auta that while at BPE, Hadiza played a key role in the pri­va­ti­za­tion pol­icy of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment that saw the con­ces­sion of many gov­ern­ment as­sets in­clud­ing our sea­ports. She was the Spe­cial As­sis­tant to (ar­guably) the best FCT min­is­ter on Project Im­ple­men­ta­tion in the FCTA. She was also Di­rec­tor of Strat­egy and Plan­ning at the Good Gov­er­nance Group (3G) un­til her ap­point­ment as Chief of Staff to the Kaduna State Gov­er­nor.

Muham­mad Auta’s ig­no­rance of pub­lic ser­vice rules and pro­ce­dures is glar­ing, he is not fa­mil­iar with the dif­fer­ences be­tween main­stream civil ser­vice and other gov­ern­ment agen­cies. What is good for the goose can­not be good for the gan­der in this case. He sug­gested and I quote…“I thought the seat should be ad­ver­tised, cer­tain num­ber of can­di­dates should be pre-qual­i­fied, in­ter­view and or ex­am­i­na­tion be con­ducted prefer­ably by a for­eign con­sul­tant, and the can­di­date with the high­est score ap­pointed”.

Oga Doubt­ing Thomas! This is not a Fed­eral Ten­der’s Board and nei­ther is it a con­tract award ex­er­cise. It is a pres­i­den­tial pre­rog­a­tive to ap­point whomever the pres­i­dent wishes to, be it on a per­sonal rec­om­men­da­tion or ex­pe­ri­ence, and Hadiza is so qual­i­fied on both fronts.

I bor­row your words, “Lets call a spade a spade”! Your ob­ses­sion with the name El­r­u­fai which you have men­tioned many times in your write up, seems to sug­gest that the piece is more about Mal­lam El­r­ufa’i than Ha­jiya Hadiza. Good­will and prayers are what Hadiza Bala Us­man needs from all of us -the doubt­ing thomases, the wail­ing wail­ers, the hail­ing hail­ers, and the fenc­ing fencers, to de­liver her man­date and re­vamp the Nige­rian Ports Author­ity.

CAR­TOON by Ak­ila Jib­rin

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