How time flies! The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman has already spent 100 days in office. Regarded as an outsider and a neophyte in the maritime industry, Usman has continued to use her wealth of experience and exposure in her days in the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Kaduna State Government and the running of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to leverage on her running the multi-billion naira grade A Federal Ministry of Transportation parasatal.
While the conspiracy theories about her appointment continue to make round in a section of the media, there is unanimity that she has not disappointed those who believed that she has what it takes to deliver as the CEO of the NPA.
Though Usman is not the first female to occupy a top position in NPA as Ms. Aina Egharevba was about a decade ago appointed its first female Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Usman who was born in Zaria, Kaduna State on January 2, 1976 is the first female to be appointed as the CEO of the government agency.
Following her resumption of office on July 18, 2016, Usman announced that she would have zero tolerance for corruption just as she also promised to enshrine best practices and professionalism in the government agency. She also promised to block all revenue leakages in the authority.
The imminent award of contracts and recruitments in the authority which has its corporate headquarters at NPA House, Marina, Lagos will certainly put Usman and her team in the spotlight in the new year. It will also put her on her toes. Not a few within and outside the maritime industry will want to see her and her team not only doing the right things but also ensuring that the right things are seen to be done in the months ahead.
Pertinent questions on the lips of stakeholders are not few. For instance, barely four months after she assumed office, her management announced that it had uncovered fraud totalling N11.23 billion in the authority. Not a few stakeholders will want to know how far she has gone with the findings, how many persons were arrested or penalised in connection with the fraud? Who was responsible for the N11.23 billion and $24.1 million allegedly traced to Heritage Bank? Who are the persons behind the concealment of the authority money at First Bank of Nigeria and First City Monument?
These and many more questions are begging for answers as Usman and her management team look forward to its one year in office and beyond.