Why Amaechi Was Untouchable As A Minister – Bala Usman Reveals

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A former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has revealed that the fear of ex-Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was the reason why friends and associates failed to intervene, when she was suspended from office in May 2021.

Bala Usman, who made the revelation in her newly released book titled: ‘Stepping on Toes: My Odyssey at the Nigerian Ports Authority’, said Amaechi was not only seen as a very influential member of the government but as a potential presidential candidate hence nobody wanted to antagonise him. Accusing Amaechi of orchestrating her ouster from office in February 2022 because she turned down his demand for an extension of tenure of companies providing capital dredging services without due process, Bala Usman said she found it incomprehensible that a minister could make such a demand. Writing in Chapter 17 of the book on: ‘Lessons that I learnt’, the former NPA boss stated: “In the days after my suspension from office, many of those you would have expected to intervene did not.

People apparently saw the former Minister of Transportation as a very influential member of government and did not want to antagonise him. “They also saw him as a potential presidential candidate for 2023 hence the need to align with him in the pursuit of his ambition. People are governed by self-interest and I learned to manage my expectations of people, some were keen to keep their relationship intact, something you didn’t do enough for them to deserve their support, while others will conclude that you should deal with your issues alone.”


Bala Usman also took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government, saying the party reneged on its promise to make positive changes. She decried that the party’s “change mantra” turned to mere soundbites. She wrote: “When I was appointed, all I wanted to do was to work with other stakeholders to build the Authority (NPA) into an institution which adheres strictly to procedures. I had hoped that we could restore the confidence of Nigerians and the international community in the ability of our public sector to deliver. “I had no doubt that I would get all the support needed to achieve this goal since our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), committed itself to changing Nigeria. I was never informed that we were no longer committed to the promise that we made to the people, or that we had decided not to follow the rules.



“Even if one may be accused of being overzealous, I did what I thought was in consonance with the administration’s avowed commitment to changing Nigeria permanently and making it work for the people. We promised to follow the rule without minding whose ox was gored and I never saw any of those things we said as mere soundbites or election promises. “I found it incomprehensible that a minister could ask that we stop a public tender process and instead appoint a company whose contract had also expired without a tender process. I found the whole situation baffling. In such a situation, you may be forgiven for believing that you can push on with the confidence of support from the highest level of authority but the bubble bursts and you discover that you are on your own.”

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