Appointment Of MD, UNRBDA: A Case For Niger State


Leadership Nigeria News Today 9th July, 2018.

The continuous marginalization of Niger State and the appointment of non-indigenes as Managing Director at the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority (UNRBDA) calls for concern Since the establishment of Upper Niger River Basin Development Authorities by an Act in 1979, Niger State has been continuously short-changed despite housing one of the Authorities’ headquarters in the State capital.

The Act explained in detail the functions of the Authority and how its members are to be drawn from its catchment areas which includes Niger, Kaduna, and Federal Capital Territory, FCT, with 7 seven board members to be headed by a Managing Director (MD) from any of the catchment areas, which of course is on termly basis or as the case may be. It is worth noting that, since its establishment, all other matters contained in the Act have been rigorously pursued to the letter, except in the appointment of the Managing Director.

For instance, both Kaduna and FCT have, since 1993, been producing the Managing Director of the Authority at the expense of Niger State, that has so far produced none. Below are the details of past MDs, their state of origin and their tenure.

Mr. Yusuf Aboki 1993-1999 Kaduna

Mohammed Sulaiman Zuntu 1999-2002 Kaduna

Dr. Adamu Ahmed 2002-2010 Kaduna

Mr. Reuben Abu 2010-2011 Kaduna

Prof. Paul S. Marley 2011-2014 FCT

Mall. Lawal U. Sarki 2014-2015 Kaduna“`

Mr. Gaza Lazarus 2015-2017 FCT

Prof. Abdulkareem M. Ali 2017 — Kano

It is conspicuously clear that from the above information, other catchment states have been adequately represented while Niger State, the host of the organization, has been completely marginalized from heading the Agency for no cogent reason.

In fact there are about 12 River Basin Development Authorities in the federation and are currently being headed by indigenes from their respective catchment areas but Niger State. Though, the present MD, Prof. Abdulkareem M. Ali, who is said to be a crony and protégé of the present Minister of Water Resources claims to hail from Niger State with no clear record of where he actually hails from. This unjustifiable action of the Minister is truly uncalled for and a cause for concern for Nigerlites.

We therefore have no doubt in our minds that the imposition of Prof. Ali by the Minister of Water Resources on Niger State is a disservice to President Muhammdu Buhari as it has brought disrepute to the man who is known for his integrity, honesty and transparency. We call on the Federal Government to wade into the matter with a view to restoring sanity in the wrongful appointment.

This lone action of the Minister must not be allowed to stand by all Nigerlites. His action prompted the Niger State Government and the state APC to dig deep into the issue and had since forwarded a protest letter the Federal Government to intervene in this matter, with a view to immediately relieve the incumbent Managing Director, prof. Abdulkareem Ali, from the office and should be replaced with the person recommended by the Niger State Government and endorsed by the State Party leader, more so that he is not an indigene of Niger State.

Earlier, Niger State Government had been informed by the Federal Government to forward a nominee for the position in the Authority and on the 7th March, 2016 a recommendation letter titled: “RECOMMENDATION FOR APPOINTMENT AS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF UPPER NIGER RIVER BASIN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, MINNA”.  The letter was signed by the then Acting Governor of the state, Alh. Ahmed Mohammed Ketso and was forwarded to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Another follow-up letter endorsing the nomination of Alh. Ibrahim Isah Barwa by Niger State Government was written by the State  Chairman of the All Progressives Congress.

The second letter was also signed by the state Chairman of the Party and addressed to the SGF. Unfortunately, despite the cordial and smooth communication between the State Government and the Federal Government, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Sulaiman Adamu, went ahead to announce a non-indigene as the MD of the Authority. If for any reason it was a mistake by the presidency to announce the name of the Prof., the Minister knowing the implication for doing so, ought to have alerted the President. It thus can be seen that it was a deliberate action by the Minister to impose the Prof. on Niger State.

Similarly, following the appointment of Prof. Abdulkareem Mohammed Ali as the MD on the 7th July, 2017 concerned Nigerlites, on behalf of APC members/supporters and Niger State, wrote a protest letter to the Federal Government. Below are some of the prayers, as contained in the said letter;

1. “That from available bio-data both orally and a search on websites on his profile which did not reveal his personal data and local government, Prof. Abdulkareem did not hail from Niger State and can not represent Niger State as MD of the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority Based on chronological order, Niger State has never occupied the office of the MD”

2. “That based on the available information before them, they give every support to the nominee, Alh. Ibrahim Isa Barwa, presented to the Federal Government through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation by the Niger State Government and the State APC to be confirmed as Managing Director”.

The protest letter was signed by 9 persons: Abubakar Gomna, Abdullahi Barau, Abdullrasheed Mohammed, Hon. Umar Muhammed Gada, Abubakar Abdullahi, Aliyu Akare, Danlami Barau Joseph Tsado, and Lydia Abara.

Similarly, on the 26th July, 2017 another protest/recommendation letter was written by the State APC and signed by the Chairman (Engr. Mohammed Jibrin Imam MNSE, MNIM, CENG) referencing an earlier instruction received from the Federal Government instructing the State Government to nominate a candidate for appointment as MD Upper Niger River Basin Authority and expressing her displeasure for the appointment of Prof. Abdulkareem Mohammed Ali instead of Alh. Ibrahim Isah Barwa whose name was recommended by both the State Government and the state APC.

At this juncture, we call on all concerned authorities, Nigerlites, civil organizations in the state, to come together in making sure that justice is served and the choice of the State (Alh. Ibrahim Isah Barwa) appointed as recommended by the State Government and the State APC. This is not about party affiliations but about justice, fairplay and equity. Finally, we wish to state unequivocally that this is not all about APC, or Alh. Ibrahim Isa Barwa, but all about Niger State and what it truly deserves, therefore, we must rise against this unjust treatment!

– Mohammed wrote in from Minna

Hassan Usman Author

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