By Sunday Okobi in Lagos and Udora Orizu in Abuja
A Niger Delta group and civil society organisation, the Niger Delta Coalition for Justice and Equity (NDCJE), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to appoint a Niger-Delta/South-south indigene as the director-general of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), saying it is the turn of the region to assume the position of authority as the director-general of the agency.
The group in a statement issued and made available to THISDAY yesterday by its National Coordinator, Mr. Alaowe Preye Dokubo, and National Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ode Osundi, noted that with the role the Niger Delta plays in the development of the country, the region does not deserve such treatment.
Buhari had nominated Dr. Halilu Shaba Ahmad as the director-general of NASRDA.
According to the group in the statement, “Where did the Niger Delta go wrong, in such a way that it will warrant the dropping of the most senior and adequately qualified acting Director-General of the agency from the region, Dr. Francis Chizea Dubem, who has all the prerequisite qualifications; and the sending of the name of a junior officer in hierarchy on the nominal roll to the National Assembly for confirmation as the DG? How long will it take for Dubem to be confirmed as the director-general of the agency?”
NDCJE stated that luckily at the agency, since inception, this is the turn of the Niger-Delta/South-South to assume the position of authority as the director-general, “having acted for over one year, Dubem has, within period, grown the agency in leaps and bounds, conforming to international best practice and good governance, entrenched in all ramifications.
“The acting Director-General of NASRDA Dubem, has been acting effectively since Mr. Jonathan Angulu left the agency. We pray that due diligence be carried out to ascertain the veracity of this statement to know the fact of the matter. But one would ponder, where have others been all this while when Dubem has been sacrificing to keep the agency afloat, especially during this COVID-19 Pandemic?
“Who is misleading the president to act contrary on the issue he had already directed the National Council to meet to rectify Dubem?
“If this (Halilu) is confirmed, it will be viewed as man’s inhumanity to man, and very unpatriotic action to the collective growth of the Nigerian nation; as against natural justice, equity and good conscience. Consequently, justice must be seen to have been served on this issue if the present acting Director-General, Dubem, is confirmed to continue to take the agency to the zenith.”
The statement described the situation as an act of nepotism, inhumanity, and, “indeed, a slap on our collective conscience and psyche as a people of the region in particular and Nigeria in general, for accepting mediocrity in place of merit.