By Duku Hameed
The scramble for the leadership at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) after the former acting director general, Mr. Jonathan Angulu retired from the agency on the 15th of May, 2020 has exposed the underbelly in anomalous practices in the agency.
Being science based, the leadership of the agency is picked from the ranks but there is disquiet over the refusal to elevate the most senior in the agency. Apart from that, the agency is seriously embroiled in fragrant disregard of established laws of 30th August, 2010.
The law was clear in Part V number 27, 28, and 29, where the provisions stipulated that the agency submit in each year, latest 31st July, it’s programmes and estimate of its income and expenditure for the following year, audited accounts of the agency not later than six months after the end of the year and report of its activities. These have so far not been followed because merit has been discarded and use of incompetent hands enthroned.
The retired director general, a history graduate, was appointed in acting capacity in June last year after the expiration of the two terms of Professor Seidu Mohammed. On his retirement on 15th of May, the most senior, Dr. G.I. Agbaje was bypassed for a junior to become the acting director general.
There are fears within the parastatal that this might lead to crisis if justice is not done on appointment of the substantive director general. Currently there are two senior officers jostling for the substantive headship of the agency. The two most senior are Dr. G.I. Agbaje, Director, Centre for Space Science and Technology Education, Ile Ife and Dr. F.D. Chizea, Director of Planning, Policy and Research now on acting capacity as director general.
However, Dr. G.I. Agbaje, an indigene of Lagos, having become a deputy director earlier in 2006, is the most senior. He was seconded to the Federal Civil Service from the Lagos State Civil Service Commission with reference number LB/616/5.6/32 in September 2004 starting with the position of an assistant director and is currently the most senior.
The agency the staff are waiting on the government to do the right thing by correcting the mistake made in the headship of the agency and it is incumbent on the decision makers to set the records straight and save the agency from the macabre dance it is being forced into.
Nigeria has the capacity to do the right thing and in this age of science, allowing such an important agency to become moribund on account of favouritism and internal politics while it’s contemporaries are breaking new grounds in definitely avoidable.
Duku Hameed, a public commentator wrote in from Abuja.