Federal Character: NPA denies northernising managment


Alleged northernisation of the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has continued to trend, even as the Authority has been accused of flouting the Constitutional provision’s of the Federal Character principle in the appointment of it’s General Managers; the highest ranking career officers of the government agency charged with the management of Nigerian ports under a landlord port model.



But NPA in a statement refuting the charger, however, admitted that there more General Mangers, 15 in number from the North to only seven from the South. The Authority, however, said the South has more Assistant General Managers than the North with 33 officers as against North’s 19 officers.



General Managers in NPA are Grade Level 17 officers who head the various departments in the organisation. They report directly to the Managing Director or to an Executive Director as the case may be. They oversee the implementation of policies and serve as communication link between the Executive Management and other workers of the organisation.



NPA in a statement by the General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communication, Engr. Jatto Adam said that appointment and promotion of General Managers and Asst. General Managers are routinely guided by vacancy, exigencies, seniority, competency and strict application of Federal Character Principle in order to ensure equity and even distribution of positions in the organisation.



It said: “Records at the moment show that while some zones may have less representation in General Manager Cadre, they have higher representation in the two other most senior roles of Assistant General Manager and Principal Managers.”



Though it said that the allegation two retired General Managers from the North have had their tenures extended on contract in order to stop their “potential successors” from succeeding them, it said that the two cases mentioned in the allegation, General Manager, Human Resources Mr. Yahaya Bukar (Aug.2018-Aug 2020) and General Manager, Engineering, Engr Ahmed Rufai Mohammed( Feb 2020-2021) “had their tenures legally extended for the specific reason of the completion of some of the very important projects that were started within the period of their services as General Managers.



“This situation also applied to the immediate past General Manager, Finance, Mr Simeon Aniobi, whose tenure was extended between October 2017 and October 2019,” the statement said.



Recall that some staff of the organisation had earlier this week raised the alarm over the disproportionate appointment of General Managers in favour of the northern part of the country in clear contravention of the Federal Character Principle, which is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.



The Federal Character Principle seeks to ensure that appointments to public service institutions at all levels reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity of the country to check the problem of inequality and marginalisation that has led to the lopsidedness in the country.



The lopsided appointments in NPA are also glaring in its four-member Executive Management Team, which has three northerners and only one southerner. The team includes the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman who hails from Katsina State; Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello Koko who hails from Kebbi State; Executive Director Engineering and Technical Services, Abubakar Idris from Bauchi State and the only southerner, Onari Brown who is the Executive Director Marine Operations.






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