The Rotimi Amaechi and Hadiza Bala Usman Fight is a personal one and a power tussle. In 2016, Hadiza’s appointment as Managing Director (MD) of Nigerian Port Authority generated some grumbles from some quarters- many people suggested that Hadiza was appointed because of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s influence – and President Buhari would always give the duo whatever they wanted.
In 2021, things have changed- Amaechi is now accusing Hadiza of being disloyal. He has been complaining that she is arrogant and he would cut her wings one of these days. And he did – by getting her to ‘step aside’ to allow for a probe of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). The probe-panel has already been inaugurated with some wide mandates which include examining and investigating the administrative policies and strategies adopted by the managing director and confirm compliance with extant laws and rules from 2016 till date.
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Many officials of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have also accused Hadiza of being arrogant and often displaying an attitude of ‘The Lady of the House’. Notwithstanding this accusations against her, Hadiza has brought some extraordinary development in the NPA and in its activities.
The fight between Hadiza (a head of an agency) and Amaechi (a minister) is not new in the APC government led by President Muhammad Buhari. There were so many between heads of agencies and their ministers. The big surprise is that none of the heads of the agencies survived their minister’s onslaught. Would Hadiza survive Amaechi’s hammer?
The heads of agencies should learn the art of balancing loyalty and power-sharing, while ministers should also allow heads of agencies to do their jobs.
President Buhari is a man that seems not to have an interest to interfere in such a ‘fight’ to save the heads of agencies. If Amaechi succeeds in removing Hazida as MD of NPA, we may see many of this kind of ‘probe’ by ministers. If Hadiza succeeds in returning, she may be more ‘disloyal’ to Amaechi and not forthcoming to those who have earlier accused her of being arrogant. And, in the long end, the fight between Amaechi and Hadiza would definitely translate into bigger political and supremacy battles between many parties both in and outside the APC.
However, the big picture is- this is a big low for the Buhari government in terms of public image and politics of the APC as the ruling party completing an 8-year mandate with the hope to retain power.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja