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Second coming of Bala Usman

By Sulaimon Salau
27 January 2021   |   3:03 am
Now that President Muhammadu Buhari has reappointed the Katsina-born icon, Hadiza Bala Usman, as Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), expectations are for the development

Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman

Now that President Muhammadu Buhari has reappointed the Katsina-born icon, Hadiza Bala Usman, as Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), expectations are for the development in the maritime sector.

Stakeholders believe the second coming of Usman would usher in seamless port operations through business-friendly policies, infrastructure, and human capital development.

Buhari had on Thursday announced the reappointment of Hadiza as managing director of NPA for another five years. Also appointed are Chairman, Emmanuel Olajide Adesoye, and other members of the board.

Stakeholders have commended the development, expressing optimism that the appointee would champion necessary reforms in the port operations.

Some of those areas expected to be perfected in her second coming include the maintenance dredging of the waterways, capital dredging of Calabar port, completion of the review of the port concession agreement, among others. Operators also charged Bala Usman to champion the campaign for the repair of port access roads as well as restore sanity on the roads.

The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Iju Tony Nwabunike, said the decision of the President was in the best interest of the maritime industry, adding that this would enable the management team to continue in its efforts to address challenges facing Nigeria’s ports.

According to him, Usman’s reappointment was important in view of the various reform measures being introduced to tackle issues of congestion in the ports and gridlock on the ports access roads.

“Bala Usman has done well so far. She deserves this reappointment from the President. I believe the president himself keeps track records of how his appointees are performing in areas of assignments and this is what earned her reappointment. The task in the ports is enormous and she has been equal to the task. With the reappointment, she will continue in the efforts to address various challenges affecting trade facilitation. The gridlock is there and other issues affecting smooth operations, so I believe she will continue where she stopped for the industry to be better”, he said.

President, Shipowners’ Forum, Margaret Orakwusi, said the re-appointment was as a result of the hard work of the NPA boss in the last five years.

Orakwusi, however, charged her to consolidate on her achievements, open up the eastern ports as well as end congestion on the seaside and port access road.

A public affairs analyst, Kayode Oluwatoyin said: “If not for any other thing, Bala Usman has in the past four years, showing an uncommon passion for the entrenchment of transparency and the prioritisation of national rather than class interests. If only for the hitherto untouchable forces that this lady has confronted and fought to a standstill, her re-appointment is not just worthy but an example of a nation’s appreciation of service.

National President, Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics in Nigeria (APFFLON), Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, hailed the giant strides of the first female Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority whom it described as a “thorough and seasoned Administrator and Patriot”.

Ogunojemite said the reappointment of Bala Usman goes a long way to erase the impression that Nigerian youths are lazy, the only thing the youths need is the opportunity to prove themselves. And from the records being bandied across the globe, Nigerian youths are indeed firebrands.

“Bala Usman has proven that she is an administrator per excellence and in her second term, l urge relevant stakeholders to give her the needed support to deliver on the job,” he said.