In the wake of the detention and subsequent arraignment of the Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam, things at the agency seem to have grounded to a halt leading staff as well as industry watchers to ask the Federal Government to appoint a substantive managing director for the agency.
The agency has been without a managing director since February 12, 2016 when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested Abdulsalam for misappropriation and stealing and since then there has been an acting managing director in the person of Engineer Anansi on the helm of affairs.
Workers who spoke to the media on the activities of NAMA noted with an acting managing director, NAMA there was a limit to his performance giving that as a navigational aid provider in the aviation industry there are things needed in order to keep the airspace more safe and secured which an acting md cannot provide
According to these staff, the acting managing director can do little or nothing especially in taking key decisions on behalf of the agency.
“There are key decisions which needed to be taking on certain issues, but now he can do little or nothing. The ministry should not hesitate in appointing a substantive managing director in order to rescue NAMA from collapse. The directors can hardly do anything because of the circumstances that brought the acting MD to power.”
NAMA has been engulfed in crises as a result of leadership tussle when the erstwhile managing director Nnamdi Udoh took over power from Ibrahim and the way it was usurped when the managing director was indispose did not go down well with some top management staff of the agency.
An aviation watcher and publisher of Aviation security magazine, Alhaji Abdulyekeem Umar said there was urgent need to appoint a substantive managing director for NAMA in order to ensure continuity in the system.
Abdulyekeem said there was confusion in the system as the directors does not have focus on what to do as they lacked coordination. “They should appoint another managing director now before it is too late. When somebody is acting, there is a limit to his capability. I am not sure that the other MD is coming back again because I don’t think the Federal government will descend so low to bring them back to the industry”
He advised the government to appoint a professional as the managing director that will do the job effectively and carry every worker along in decision making to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Abdulyekeem urged the federal government to avoid politics in appointing a professional as a substantive boss for NAMA and should be from the system in order to carry on with the programme on ground.
Recall that in the thick of the detention of the NAMA managing director, many industry players called for his replacement with a substantive including a coalition comprised of Aviation Union and Professional association who wanted to address what looked like looming unrest which if unchecked, may derail the agency and truncate safety.
The group in a statement signed by its spokesman, Johnson Agbede and made available to the media stated that if urgent steps are not taken to normalise the situation things could go from bad to worse as workers in the agency do not know whom to take directive from.
The group lamented that leadership tussle is currently tearing NAMA apart following the appointment of two officials in Acting capacity in less than one week.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had directed Mr Emmanuel Anasi, himself an Acting Director to again act as the MD/CE in the absence of the substantive CEO however shortly after the appointment the Ministry on Friday directed Akangson, the current Director of Human Resources who is the most senior director to take over as the Acting Managing Director.
According to the group, the appointment of Anasi did not go down well with the substantive directors in the agency who in turn petitioned the Ministry that the tradition of allowing the most senior director to act was not applied.
Following this development, the Coalition of Aviation Unions & professional Associations have called on the Minister of Transportation & the Minister of state to urgently intervene and save the agency from further crises by appointing a substantive Managing Director for the troubled Agency.
Also, the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) called on government to hasten the ongoing investigation of the agency and appointment of a substantive Managing Director or immediately appoint in acting capacity, a competent person equally qualified to be appointed as Managing Director.
This they posited is in accordance with the provision of NAMA Establishment Act No.48 Part IV section 8 subsection 2(d) of 1999 (a person who possesses relevant and adequate professional qualifications in a senior management cadre and shall have been so qualified for a period of not less than fifteen years.”
The statement signed by NATCA President, Victor Eyaru and the general Secretary, Olawode Banji read, “Due to the sensitivity and peculiarity of NAMA as an Air Navigation Service Provider, pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigations or appointment of a substantive Managing Director, the Federal government should immediately appoint, in acting capacity, a competent person equally qualified to be appointed as Managing Director in accordance with the provision of NAMA Establishment Act No.48 Part IV section 8 subsection 2(d) of 1999 (a person who possesses relevant and adequate professional qualifications in a senior management cadre and shall have been so qualified for a period of not less than fifteen years.).”
“This is to stem the ongoing leadership crisis due to appointment of two persons as Acting Managing Director within a week and in the interest of air safety. NAMA is a very strategic agency that should not be headed by anyone without both technical knowledge and proven administrative expertise in Air Navigation Service Provision (ANSP) under whatever circumstance to avoid any costly decision that could compromise air safety and spell disaster for the whole country;
“Ensure that all the siphoned monies by those involved and their cronies are recovered and returned to the coffers of NAMA. Thereafter, the guilty should be punished according to the law so as to serve as deterrent to others.