By Reuben Nwankwo
Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, Nigeria’s President & Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces
Following the news alleging that a northerner name, Dr Halilu Shaba Ahmad has been forwarded to the Senate for screening as the Director General, DG of National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA in a process expected to displace an indigene of South-South, Dr Francis Chizea Dubem who has been NASRDA DG on acting capacity, a group, Niger Delta Coalition for Justice and Equity (NDCJE),has cried out to president Muhammadu Buhari describing it as unjust, discriminatory and provocative action that should be stopped.
A press statement from the group released Monday and signed by Alaowe Preye Dokubo and Comrade Olisa Ode Osundi, the organization’s National Coordinator and National Secretary respectively stressed that NDCJE has, for long, kept aloof, because of the precarious security situation of the country and the divisive tendencies thrown overboard by people in authority, who, look the other way, for their selfish interest, not minding where their actions take the nation to, even if it is in a retrogressive motion
“As partners that believe in the course of Nigeria as a dear nation; as well as believe in putting square pegs in square holes, and uplifting merit than mediocrity in all ramifications, we are hereby compelled to critically and objectively analyze the current letter from the President to the National Assembly, presenting someone for confirmation as Acting Director-General; someone that has not even acted for a day, not to talk about acting in any capacity whatsoever, but has consistently let Nigerians know that he will surely (come rain or shine) ascend the mantle of leadership of NASRDA. Our investigation has revealed that his confidence is based on the presumption that having been connected to the present Chief of Staff to the President as a cousin, he will have a smooth sail, based on these antecedents:” The statement read
“That Dr Halilu Shaba Ahmad has never ever acted in any capacity before now, not to talk about that of Director-General/Chief Executive of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA); and that he is even number eight in the hierarchy of the nominal roll of the agency since Mr Jonathan Angulu left as the Acting Director-General of the agency. We wish to recall that Mr Angulu handed over the mantle of leadership to the most senior management staff in person of Dr Francis Chizea Dubem, a renowned research fellow with 21 years of service at NASRDA, who has been in charge of the organization till date, and the first Vice Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, a position bestowed on him based on the recommendation of the African Group Task Force on Space Science and Technology, based in Vienna, Austria” the statement added.
Further the group pointed out that “That Mr Halilu brags in the corridors of power that he and his cabal/cohorts own the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari; that they decide whatever happens to any position; as well as decide who occupies which position as far as Muhammadu Buhari remains the president. Going by this impunity, our organization vehemently resists this injustice meted out to Dr Chizea Dubem, and any other qualified and legitimate candidate for that matter. This is based on the fact that all qualified Nigerians have alienable right to aspire to any position of authority as long as they remain Nigerians. In view of the above, therefore, we are asking these vital questions: What has the Niger Delta done to the Nigerian nation to deserve this barbaric treatment? 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 from the region, who has all the prerequisite qualifications; and the sending of the name of the number eight position in hierarchy on the nominal roll? How long will it take for Dr Francis Chizea Dubem to be confirmed as the Director-General of the agency?”
Emphasizing on their position, the group said “It will also be recalled that there was a candid instruction from the President that the National Council in charge of the board of NARSDA must meet to ratify Dr Chizea’s ascension, but that meeting did not hold. Today, the name of one who does not deserve to be recommended, Mr Halilu, has been smuggled through the window/back door and sent to the National Assembly for confirmation. If this is confirmed, it will affirm his bragging rights for the past two years that he would be made Director-General of the agency”
“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, within which period the agency has grown in leaps and bound, conforming to international best practice and good governance, entrenched in all ramifications. The Acting Director-General still remains Dr Francis Chizea Dubem, who has been acting 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 has Mr Halilu been all this while, that Dr Chizea Dubem has been sacrificing tooth and nail 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 Dr Francis Chizea Dubem? The Acting Director-General is Dr Francis Chizea Dubem and not Halidu. It is a concoction from the pit of hell, which, we suggest, must be verified by the security agencies and right thinking Nigerians. Would somebody tell us what is happening in this country? Again, at what stage, did Halilu rise to become the authentic Acting Director-General, when, indeed, there is a substantive Acting Director-General in person of Dr Francis Chizea Dubem?” The group further stated.
“We have watched, with keen interest, the retirement of the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Muhammadu Gana Abdullahi, where a South-Easterner, Hilary Madu, was made an acting Commandant-General and immediately, a petition came that he was out for ethnic cleansing; and within three weeks, he was dropped and replaced with a North-easterner, while the Inspector-General of Police’s tenure ended but is still there serving, calling shots, because he is from a particular region and ethnic tribe. What a country, indeed!” they further stated
Driving its point home, the group stressed “It is our candid advice that the President, should, as a matter of national interest, revert to status quo, and set aside the letter sent to the National Assembly and do the right thing, by confirming Dr Chizea, who is far more capable than Mr Halidu”.
Below is the full text of the press statement:
What Has Niger Delta Done to Buhari’s Administration?