The Rotimi Amaechi and Hadiza Bala Usman Fight is a personal one and a power tussle. In 2016, Hadiza’s appointment as Managing Director (MD) of Nigerian Port Authority generated some grumbles from some quarters- many people suggested that, Hadiza was appointed because of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s influence – and President Buhari will always give the duo whatever they wanted.
In 2021, things have changed- Amaechi is now accusing Hadiza of being disloyal. He has been complaining that she is arrogant and he would cut her wings one of these days. And he did- by getting her to ‘step aside’ to allow for a probe of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). The probe-panel has already been inaugurated with some wide mandates which include examining and investigating the administrative policies and strategies adopted by NPA’s Managing Director, Hadiza Usman, and confirm compliance with extant laws and rules from 2016 till date.
Many officials of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have also accused Hadiza of being arrogant and often displays an attitude of ‘The Lady of the House’. Notwithstanding this accusations against her, Hadiza has brought some extraordinary development in the NPA and in its activities- she saved the SHIN’s fabrication and integration yard of which $270 million was borrowed for the project, the stoppage of INTELS’ monopoly of oil and gas cargo and the compliance to TSA, the stoppage of the contract scam- SAA fees on the Calabar dredging, She has also sanctioned LADOL for violating the terms of the land lease at Tarkwa Bay, near Light House Beach in Lagos- all these are Hadiza’s notable achievements in four years plus.
The fight between Hadiza (a head of an agency) and Ameachi ( a Minister)is not new in the APC government led by President Muhammad Buhari. There was that of: Dr. Baffa Bichi of TETFUND and Mallam Adamu Adamu, Education Minister. Ibrahim Magu of the EFCC and Abubakar Malami SAN Minister for Justice and Attorney-General. Gur Muhammad Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Engr. Sale Mamman, Power Minister. Saleh Dunoma of FAAN and Hadi Sirika Aviation Minister). Munir Gwarzo SEC DG and Kemi Adeosun Former Finance Minister). Prof. Usman Yusuf NHIS and Isaac Adewole Former Health Minister). As well as many other in-house fights that haven’t been in the public. The big surprise is-None of the heads of the agencies survived their minister’s onslaught. Would Hadiza survive Ameachi’s hammer?
On the other hand, heads of Agencies should learn the art of balancing of loyalty and power-sharing, while Ministers should also allow heads of agencies to their jobs.
President Buhari is a man that seems not to have an interest to interfere in such ‘fight’ to save the heads of agencies. If Ameachi succeeds in removing Hazida as MD of NPA, we may see many of this kind of ‘probe’ by Ministers. If Hadiza succeeds in returning back, she may be more ‘disloyal’ to Amaechi and not forthcoming to those who have earlier accused her of being arrogant. And, In the long end, the fight between Ameachi and Hadiza would definitely translate into bigger political and supremacy battles between many parties both in and outside the APC. There is already talk of a petition to the EFCC to look into contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission to Ameachi’s wife- Dame Judith Amaechi. In fact, Nigerians should sit akimbo and enjoy some political dramas as events unfold.
However, the big picture is- this is a big low for the Buhari government in terms of public image and politics of the APC as the ruling party completing an 8year mandate with the hope to retain power.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja. 08036070980, zaymohd @yahoo.com