Wednesday, 4th October 2023

ASRTI faults Sirika’s last-minute appointments

By Wole Oyebade
01 June 2023   |   8:53 am
Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) has faulted the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on new appointments in key aviation parastatals, and rechristening of the Ministry of Aviation as Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace.


Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) has faulted the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on new appointments in key aviation parastatals, and rechristening of the Ministry of Aviation as Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace.

The aviation think-tank group questioned the timing and rationale of those fresh appointments, describing them as unwarranted for an administration in its twilight.

Last week, the ministry, supposedly with the backing of the President, appointed Kabir Yusuf Mohammed as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive O
officer of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). Mohammed replaces Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, whose tenure ends this month.

Tayib Odunowo, an engineer, was appointed the substantive Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). Odunowo takes over from Matthew Lawrence Pwajok, who had occupied the seat in an acting capacity.

Similarly, a total of 28 directors and general managers were appointed across the five aviation agencies.
ASRTI, in a statement signed by its Secretary, Olumide Ohunayo, stated that the tenure of the outgoing minister could have been a failure, but for the appointment of “capable and qualified individuals to run the various departments and agencies under him.”

“These astute professionals in our view discharged their duties creditably well despite the ministerial bottlenecks placed on their paths. Hence, there is no justification for their hurried replacement,” ASRTI stated.

The body noted that for eight years, the minister appropriated the required governance structure under his control by allegedly neglecting to appoint the statutory governing boards required to ease the functions of the agencies and parastatals under the ministry.

“The ASRTI is of the opinion that this among other actions taken by the minister regressed instead of growing the organisations. The minister’s direct control resulted in transactional, rather than functional operation of the agencies, thereby impeding their progress and his rating.
“The minister through his micromanagement activities has further demonstrated the need to scrap the Ministry of Aviation and place the various departments with proper governance structures back in the Ministry of Transport, while granting independence to Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority under the appropriate internationally recognised structures for regulating the Nigerian aviation sector to achieve global best practices. Nigerian aviation requires strong institutions with solid processes and systems, rather than strongmen.”

The ASRTI equally frowned at the appointment of heads for aviation agencies, with barely a few days to the end of the new administration, adding that it forecloses the opportunity for new presidential appointees that will be more suited to the agenda of the incoming administration.

“The ASRTI was of the view that a more appropriate action would have been to nominate a new candidate for appointment by the incoming minister, and there is nothing wrong in extending for a further 30 days, the term of the existing Managing Director and Directors on a transitional basis, to enable the new administration to pick their personnel to drive their agenda.”

The ASRTI also condemns the change of name of the Federal Ministry of Aviation to that of the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace, purportedly approved by the outgoing Federal Executive Council.

The ASRTI was convinced that the annexation of the underfunded National Aerospace Research Development Agency (NASRDA) into the Ministry of Aviation would impede the appreciable progress so far made by NASRDA under its parent ministry – the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

“We further opine that the Centre for Space Transportation and Propulsion, whose activities include the sustenance of rapid advances in the propulsion systems and rocket science should not be impeded by the Ministry of Aviation’s terrestrial operations.
“This deliberate attempt to muster the NASRDA under a Ministry that the Minister of Aviation is about to leave only creates organisational confusion for the incoming administration. The ASRTI is of the view that the Aviation Ministry is already overwhelmed by the existing workload and the departure of capable hands, that it is not equipped to handle the additional function of Space Research and Administration.

“The ASRTI believes that the nation will benefit tremendously if the Nigerian space agency remains an independent but properly funded organisation with the inclusion of the Minister of Aviation or his representative on its governing Board alongside other ministerial appointees as provided in Section 2 of the NASRDA Act,” the statement read in part

Aviation Security Consultant, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said it makes no reasonable sense for the incoming administration to accept all the appointments made by Sirika at the twilight of the administration.

“I can only advise most of them (appointees), especially those appointed from the backdoor not to be too comfortable in the seat yet. There will be the reverse of many. Aviation is not road transportation; without qualifications at any level of it, it makes no sense to be elevated to the level of GM,” Ojikutu said.

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