This year, the tenure of Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director (MD) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), will come to an end. It is either she gets re-appointed or someone else takes over from her.
Nonetheless, the battle for who succeeds her has commenced. The politics for NPA’s leadership is not new to both ordinary Nigerians and the political class. Today, the only difference is the Buhari administration which tends to do things differently. Probably this time around, performance, competence and only little politics will play a role in the appointment of a new managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority.
It is certain Hadiza will want her tenure renewed and at the same time, there will be persons lobbying to take over from her. But there are questions that need to be answered: Has Hadiza Bala Usman performed excellently to deserve a renewal of her appointment? Are there other experienced Nigerians that can do better than her? Will the on-the-job experience and new approaches she introduced give her an edge over other persons?
In 2016, Hadiza’s appointment as MD of the NPA generated some grumbles from some quarters – many people suggested that, Hadiza was appointed because of Rotimi Amaechi and Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s influence – and that President Buhari will always give the duo whatever they wanted. But this is 2020; the politics and high-wired power struggle of 2023 will have a degree of impact on the appointment of the NPA new MD.
Buhari is a thorough man and often unpredictable. Will he reappoint Hadiza Bala Usman as MD of the NPA when her tenure ends? Hadiza is an expert in development and research. She is ‘young’ and a goal-getter in a class of her own.