Hadiza Bala Usman And The Doubting Thomases: A Rejoinder To Muhammed Auta

The last few days have been exciting in Nigeria’s social sphere, courtesy of president Buhari’s appointment of Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman as the new head of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). Her appointment did not come as a surprise to many, particularly those who are following events with keen interest in Kaduna State. It is not out of place to assert that Hadiza’s pedigree, capacity, and experience have been phenomenal to the successes recorded in Kaduna State in the last one year under Mallam Nasir Elrufa’i.


It is therefore laughable to see her critics advance arguments that are not only intellectually impotent, but also logically imbecile in order to seek attention and score cheap political points. More shallow are the reasons given by an “author” Muhammed Auta in his article titled: Hadiza Bala Usman: A Square Peg in A Round Hole, Period! Published on the 14th of July 2016.


From his arguments, it is apparent Muhammed Auta is a Doubting Thomas—One who habitually or instinctively doubts accepted beliefs. Doubting Thomases are nonbelievers, sceptics, unbelievers, pessimists and doomsday prophets. The author admitted he “has never met Hadiza in person, but has read about her since her days at the BPE as an aide to el-rufai when he held sway as the DG….” Hadiza must have made giant strides as an aide to be noticed and even read about by Muhammad in faraway Jalingo.


It is unfortunate that the only experience the author saw after taking a “cursory look” at her CV was when she worked as a research intern at the Centre for Democratic Research and Training (CEDDERT) in the early stages of her career “except as an aide to Mallam Elrufai”. This narrative is myopic and misleading. Indeed Mallam Nasir has been phenomenal in Hadiza’s career, and that has prepared her to take up greater challenges in the service of the people in which she has so far demonstrated her altruism and capacity.


As difficult as it is to convince Doubting Thomases, here is Hadiza’s CV in a cursory look… Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (ABU), Masters in Development Studies (not a Postgraduate Diploma as the author suggested). It may also interest Muhammad Auta that while at BPE, Hadiza played a key role in the privatization policy of the Federal Government that saw the concession of many government assets including our seaports. She was the Special Assistant to (arguably) the best FCT minister on Project Implementation in the FCTA. She was also Director of Strategy and Planning at the Good Governance Group (3G) until her appointment as Chief of Staff to the Kaduna State Governor.


Muhammad Auta’s ignorance of public service rules and procedures is glaring, he is not familiar with the differences between mainstream civil service and other government agencies. What is good for the goose cannot be good for the gander in this case. He suggested and I quote… “I thought the seat should be advertised, certain number of candidates should be pre-qualified, interview and or examination be conducted preferably by a foreign consultant, and the candidate with the highest score appointed”.


Oga Doubting Thomas! This is not a Federal Tender’s Board and neither is it a contract award exercise. It is a presidential prerogative to appoint whomever the president wishes to, be it on a personal recommendation or experience, and Hadiza is so qualified on both fronts.


I borrow your words, “Lets call a spade a spade”! Your obsession with the name Elrufai which you have mentioned many times in your write up, seems to suggest that the piece is more about Mallam Elrufa’i than Hajiya Hadiza. Goodwill and prayers are what Hadiza Bala Usman needs from all of us­­­­­-the doubting thomases, the wailing wailers, the hailing hailers, and the fencing fencers, to deliver her mandate and revamp the Nigerian Ports Authority.


Habib Gajam can be reached via habibgajam08@yahoo.com or Twitter handle: @habibgajam


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *