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NPA: Suleiman’s removal shocks stakeholders
Everyone, including the newly appointed Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Managing Director, Mallam Habibu Abdullahi, who was about taking over from the former Managing Director, Mr Omar Suleiman, wore somber looks. The career of a young man who had served his country meritoriously was being unceremoniously terminated. Observably, it was a depressing event.
“This is going to be a very brief ceremony. This will be a very brief ceremony,” declared the ‘Master of Ceremony’ and image-maker, Chief Michael Ajayi, who invited a staff for an ‘Opening Prayer’. The prayer came and the content was simply to reassure the former NPA boss that since God would not allow any door to be closed if he had not opened another, the former Managing Director should be rest assured that a bright light, no doubt, lay at the end of the tunnel
The ceremony was brief. The only time a little smile played on the lips of some people was when the new managing director announced that this was the second time he was indeed taking over from Omar Suleiman, having first taken over from him, at the London Office, as the organisation’s representative.
Majority of the stakeholders, like the ‘mourning’ NPA staff, were also yet to recover from the shock of Suleiman’s removal. It was a rude shock to them. Firstly, the Adamawa-born engineer was doing very well. Secondly, he was yet to spend up to 20 months in office before being replaced by his Kano-born kin, who was formerly, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration.
Some shocked staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, mainly prayed for both the organisation and the new Managing Director, stressing that sending Suleiman on compulsory early retirement might come with some negative multiplier effects. They were particularly sad that ‘outsiders’ were also ‘smuggled’ in to occupy the executive directors level, a situation which they opined was most likely to retard general staff promotions.
”This development is saddening. Government has decided to play politics with an operational parastatal like the NPA, while preaching a phony transformation agenda. Ibaka (deep sea port) is ongoing. Badagry is on the drawing table, being strenuously pursued by highly experienced officers.
”Then suddenly you removed experienced hands and introduced politicians in their stead. Is that not what the government is doing presently? And should the same government expect the same laudable result thereafter?” asked a staff, wondering why President Goodluck Jonathan had decided to derail the ongoing note-worthy progress being recorded in NPA.
Ironically, several industry stakeholders shared the sentiments of the staff as they too, gave the government a thumb down. They feared the impression the removal could create, in the long run.
An importer in Lagos, Joseph Nwokoye, while frowning on the sack, also pleaded against policies that could further worsen the fortunes of the industry.
“If this is true, then government has been terribly unfair to this man. Did they appoint him so as to ruin his career? He was a general manager capital project; and they appointed him purportedly because they had faith in his ability to effect the desired changes. So, why did they have to do this to him?” he asked, cautioning that “if government continues with its warped policy of destroying workers careers with shoddy appointments that would not last the distance, new appointees may also be encouraged to first feather their own nest, rather than focus on enduring policy execution, in fear of the unexpected eventuality.”Share