Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, has reportedly submitted Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman’s name to President Muhammadu Buhari to take over as the new managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
If approved by Mr President, Hadiza Bala will replace Alhaji Habib Abdullahi, who was reinstated by Buhari in August 2015 after he was sacked by former President Goodluck Jonathan in April 2015.
Ms. Bala Usman, 40, will become the first female chief executive of a top tier Federal Government agency and of the NPA if the appointment is approved.
Sources say Amaechi had decided to make the changes in order to overhaul the NPA. It is learnt that Amaechi is not particularly impressed with the way the NPA was being run and has decided to effect a change of the executive team as soon as possible.
Currently, two chief executives of the foremost parastatals under Amaechi’s ministry – Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) – are from the south. Ms Bala Usman’s appointment would seemingly be an equitable distribution of appointments into the agencies under his ministry.
President Buhari reportedly had close affinity with Hadiza’s father, the late Prof. Yusufu Bala Usman, a renowned Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) academic, historian and activist.
Ms. Bala Usman, who is currently the chief of staff to the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was born in Zaria, Kaduna State, on January 2, 1976.
She grew up close to the ABU campus where her father worked and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in 2000 from the same university and her Master’s degree from the University of Leeds in 2009.
She worked for a non-governmental organisation, the Centre for Democratic Development and Research Training (CEDDERT) in Zaria, as a research assistant for a year starting in 1999.
She also worked for the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) when el-Rufai was the Director-General of the privatisation agency and moved with him to work as his Special Assistant on Project Implementation.
In 2011, she worked as Director of Strategy for the Good Governance Group (3G). In 2015, she was appointed Chief of Staff to the Kaduna State governor.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Ms. Bala Usman, in conjunction with the former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, co-founded the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG), which brought global attention to the plight of the kidnapped schoolgirls.
She was married to Dr. Tanimu Yakubu, former Chief Economic Adviser to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and they have two sons.