A pressure group in the maritime sector, Maritime Ambassadors of Nigeria (MAN), has called on the Federal Government to appoint a professional as the substantive Managing Director (MD) of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) for effective service delivery.
This, according to the group, will be in tandem and complementary to the newly created Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy by President Bola Tinubu.
The group said previous MDs of the agency failed to live up to expectations because, rather than appoint a professional with a knowledge of the workings of the sector, NIWA headship became a means of political patronage.
They berated the immediate-past NIWA MD, Dr George Moghalu, whose four-year tenure recently came to an end.
The group, which made its position known on the heels of Moghalu’s exit, on Monday, alleged that the former NIWA MD hurriedly handed over the affairs of the agency last week Friday at the agency’s headquarters in Lokoja, Kogi State capital.
Spokesperson of the group, Yekeen Abdullahi, said such political patronage in the appointment of NIWA heads has hindered the agency from fulfilling its mandate.
They said that the challenges facing NIWA can only be solved by entrenching the culture of appointing professionals, who have risen through the ranks, to lead the agency.
The statement reads: “It is of great concern to us that NIWA has been singled out for political patronage. How can a non-professional address the numerous challenges of the maritime industry. It is a long time established axiom that no one can give what he doesn’t have.
“When an agency is turned into a place where people are being rewarded when they lose elections, or reserved for political patronage, then the focus and main objective of such agency is lost.
“It is quite disturbing that NIWA has been singled out for political patronage. It is basically garbage in and garbage out, and such a system will not last, because there is no focused leadership. You cannot expect to get a different result if you’re doing the same thing over and over again.
“From Mr. Aminu Yar’adua to Hajia Mariam Inna Ciroma, to Boss Mustapha, who later become the Secretary to Federal Government (SGF), and Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, who was later appointed as Minister for Health; none of those were professionals.
“The worst of them all is George Moghalu, who was rewarded for losing election in Anambra State. Moghalu, since his appointment on October 7, 2019 has no interest in NIWA issues. He was always away politicking about becoming governor of Anambra. It is a great relief that he was not reappointed.
“However, we urge President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to do right thing. There are many professionals in NIWA who are already at Director level. Amongst them is Adetola Olawale James, the most senior of all the directors. Mr. Adetola has held different managerial positions in the agency and presently the Acting MD. A young, vibrant, articulate and professional to the core like, Adetola will definitely turn around NIWA for good if appointed substantive Managing Director.
“Having a professional as NIWA’s head will help put a structure in place. There will be knowledge transfer and the workers will be able to improve themselves.
“The government of President Tinubu should look at raising people from within to be in charge of NIWA; until then, there will not be any positive results to the numerous issues the agency’s facing.”
But reacting to the group’s allegation, NIWA’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Dar-Dau Jibril, refuted the claim that Moghalu underperformed, saying that the immediate-past NIWA MD did his best within the timeframe he was saddled with the agency’s responsibilities.
“Yes, let us be sincere with ourselves, he (Moghalu) is a politician. Before him, there were others, who were appointed likewise, Mrs. Ciroma was PDP and wife of the then party chairman, Boss Mustapha came, of course, he was from the CPC, he left to become the SFG. Mamora came too, he was ACN and later went to be minister. Moghalu was ANPP, he contested governorship in Anambra, and of course, later became MD (NIWA).
“Let us be sincere with ourselves, everyone was even surprised that he was not reappointed. Moghalu was a workaholic, he never left any paper overnight on his table unattended to. He did not move NIWA backward. He was hardworking,” NIWA spokesperson stated.