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President told me Amaechi wanted me sacked as NPA MD — Hadiza

A former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, in a book published on Tuesday, has said that President Mohammadu Buhari told her that the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had requested for her sack as MD of NPA twice before her final removal from office. NIGERIAN TRIBUNE reports.Information Guide Nigeria

This is even as the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in an exclusive chat with the Nigerian Tribune, revealed that his own book detailing how things transpired between him and Hadiza Bala Usman will soon be published anytime soon.

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According to excerpts of Hadiza Bala Usman’s book, titled “Stepping on Toes: My Odyssey at the Nigerian Ports Authority” which was obtained exclusively by the Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday, the former NPA MD explained how the former Minister of Transportation hurriedly pushed for the reconstitution of the Governing Board of the NPA, without putting into consideration geo-political balancing.

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According to Hadiza Bala Usman, under the sub-topic: ‘Reconstitution of the NPA board’; the former NPA MD stated that, “As Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Ports Authority, every day came with a different issue. By the beginning of 2020, we were approaching our fourth year in office and had acclimatised to the turbulent environment.NYSC Portal

“The year 2020 however came with a peculiar challenge, with the COVID-19 Pandemic disrupting business activities globally. But the maritime sector had a critical role to play in fighting the pandemic. Supplies needed to be transported. Anyone familiar with maritime activities knows that it is a 24-hour industry. While our administrative offices were closed, the ports remained open for operations.

“Two weeks before the Federal Government declared a full lockdown in Nigeria, there was a significant development at the NPA. Out of the blue, we learned about the approval by the President for the reconstitution of the Governing Board of Authority.

“The announcement of the replacement of the board that was appointed in 2016 raised a lot of concern in the industry. However, the Act provided for a four-year term for Board members and Executive Directors, while the Managing Director/CEO had a five-year term.

“On 10 March 2020, the appointment of a new governing board for the NPA with Mr. Akin Ricketts as Chairman was announced.

“He replaced Mr. Emmanuel Adesoye, who had been Chairman since 2016. The Minister also appointed Mr. Ghazali Muhammed, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe, Sen. Binta Masi Garba, Alh. Mustapha Dutse and Abdulwahab Adeshina. The Minister announced the renewal of the appointment of two of the three Executive Directors and members of the Executive Management team whose tenure should ordinarily expire in July 2020. Mr. Muhammed Bello Koko, Executive Director, Finance and Administration and Prof. Idris Abdulkadir, Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services were retained. Dr. Sekonte Davies, Executive Director, Marine and Operations was removed and replaced with Mr. Onari Brown.

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“A few weeks after the appointment of the new board, Nigeria went into the COVID-19 lockdown. This made familiarisation between the Executive management and board members a bit challenging. Remote work became the order of the day and most meetings held virtually. We however managed to keep the NPA running.

“Along the line, the #ENDSARS protests broke out. On 21 October 2020, hundreds of miscreants marched on the Marina Headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority, vandalised the building and set a substantial part of the premises on fire. During the assessment of damage afterwards, it became clear that the Authority suffered damages running into billions of Naira.JAMB Result

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Essien, Goodnews is a gruaduate of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, Uyo; Currently working at Infoguide Media as a news writer.

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