Four years after the current administration came onboard in the sector, Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, is yet to inaugurate board of directors of agencies under the ministry, despite their appointment and approval.
About two years ago, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the appointment of board of directors of five out of the six agencies in the sector, while Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), also gave a deadline for the inauguration of the board members over a year ago, but despite the approvals and directives, Sirika is yet to inaugurate the board members.
The agencies with board of directors, according to the Acts setting them up, are the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).
Others are the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), while the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) does not have a board of directors.
It was gathered that the Act setting up NCAA stipulated the appointment of professionals as chairman and members of the board, as well as representatives from three ministries.
A source close to the Ministry of Aviation, over the weekend, told our correspondent that the inauguration of the boards was stalled by Sirika who claimed that their compositions and appointments negated the Acts setting up some of the agencies.
It was learnt that the minister said that the Acts establishing the agencies stipulated the qualification of the persons to be appointed into the boards, a requirement he alleged the Federal Government did not consider when announcing their compositions.
Besides, another source in one of the agencies confided in our correspondent that “some people in the ministry are not comfortable with having a board to direct their affairs, rather they want to be the only ones regulating and controlling activities in the agencies without supervision”.
Also, the agency source added that if the composition of the appointees negated the Acts setting up some of the agencies as claimed by the minister, he ought to have officially met with the appropriate authorities to address the perceived challenge in the composition, saying that the minister had always been reluctant to inaugurate the board members.
Some of the stakeholders spoken with by our correspondent said the non-inauguration of the boards would have a grave effect on the agencies as the chief executive officers (CEOs) had a limit of what they could spend without recourse to the board of directors.
Comrade Olayinka Abioye, the immediate past General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), in a recent interview with our correspondent, said that the non-inauguration of the boards indicated that something was actually wrong in the sector.
He insisted that since the Acts setting up the agencies stipulated that they should have board of directors, the minister ought to have set up the boards immediately they were appointed.
He said the minister might have willfully delayed their inauguration in order to continue to have influence in the agencies.
He said: “The implication is that the minister wants to still control the happenings in the parastatals. You are aware that by the Acts establishing these agencies, they are supposed to report to a board and, in the absence of a board, the minister takes charge.
“So, if the minister has the audacity to set aside the directive of Mr. President, it goes to show that something is definitely wrong with our system.”
Besides, Group Capt John Ojikutu (rtd), aviation analyst, in a recent interview, observed that it was not the first time the directive of President Buhari would not be implemented by the ministry.
Ojikutu cited the directive to NAMA on the agency’s taking over of the country’s territorial water from Accra, Ghana, and the directive to NCAA to carry out audit of Dana Air after the recent minor and major incidents involving the airline as among president’s directives not carried out in recent times.
James Odaudu, the Director, Publicity, Ministry of Aviation, could not be reached for comments.
It would be recalled that in the last week of February, Buhari had in 2018 directed all ministers to inaugurate the boards of various parastatals under their supervision.
The president issued this directive through a circular signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
Names on the NAMA list were Dr. Yakubu Lame, Abdullahi Y. Gashu’a, Capt. Ibraheem Olugbade.
FAAN had Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Akingbesote Akinyeye, Suleiman Mohammed, and Bello Babura.
NCAT had Mrs. Deborah Iliyas and Chie Simon Owhofa.
The names that appeared on the list for NiMET were Otunba J.F. Faleke and Dr. Chichi Ashwe.
It would also be recalled that Comrade Oshiomhole had, about a year ago, given Sirika and Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, a week ultimatum to inaugurate their boards.