On the power tussle at NiMet

Online news platforms of August, 17, 2021, were awash with the in-fighting in Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) under the present Director-General, Professor Mansur Bako Matazu.

Since Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi was relieved of his job as director-general of NiMet, the agency has not known peace. It was reported that “two general managers have assumed powers as defacto-DGs with each exercise his unlawful influence and powers in virtually everything that has to do with the administration of the agency”.

It was also alleged that the two managers have been undermining all the directors of the agency, with their insubordination getting to a point where they have plans to replace their heads at the directorate level in order to get the director-general. They may be pursuing a hidden agenda from all indications.

The above scenario points to the fact that two general managers, shamelessly engaged in a physical brawl in the full glare of other staff of the agency, which was indication that they have no regard for the director-general and therefore they should be sanctioned.

Before I continue, I would want to debunk some dangerous lies that are being peddled by some fifth columnists, that the present D-G, Professor Mansur Bako Matazu, was handpicked by the Minister of Aviation and was not qualified to head NiMet. I make haste here to publish part of his CV for our perusal.

Mansur Bako Matazu is a Professor of Applied Meteorology/Climatology who is currently serving as the Director General/Chief Executive Officer (DG/CEO), NiMet). He is the designated Permanent Representative (PR) of Nigeria with the World Meteorological Organisation.

Prior to his appointment as the DG/CEO, he was the General Manager, Meteorological Research and the Technical Assistant to the DG/CEO of Nigerian Meteorological Agency. Professor Matazu also led the technical team of Nigerian Meteorological Agency saddled with the production of the annual state of the climate in Nigeria and the annual Seasonal Climate Prediction including its downscaling since 2017 till his appointment as the DG/CEO. He has had over twenty (20) years of Teaching, Research and Administrative Experience.

A member of multiple national, regional and international committees in weather and climate related fields for the common good of citizens. Professor Matazu has eight publications in international journals, 10 in national journals, six books of abstract and peer reviewed conference proceedings, six paper presentations, one published book, two chapters in two books, five technical reports, and 17 other published articles to his name.

Professor Matazu is more than qualified from the above insight to occupy the seat of the director-general of Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMet).

The Minister of Aviation, Malam Hadi Sirika, should as a matter of urgency call to order the two “super” general-managers, before the situation gets out of hand. The way the media is blowing the matter out of proportion is really alarming, unbecoming for an agency such as NiMet with a lot of responsibilities to the nation.

There are unprintable allegations linking the minister with some civil servants at NiMet, who have been reeling havoc, putting a clog in the wheel of progress in the agency which needs to be clarified.

All these, as I have stated before, were allegations and I don’t see the minister bringing himself so low to engage in such attitude of using civil servants to perpetrate evil in NiMet.

The present director-general has been able to handle the matter professionally to the chagrin of his detractors. This has given him the leverage to execute and achieve the objectives of the agency as enshrined in Act establishing it.

There was also so much fuss about the director-general appointing senior special assistants to assist him in carrying out his duties. I see nothing wrong here, the D-G wants to execute his assignment to the best of his ability which cannot be executed without assistance from the qualified individuals in the agency with whatever nomenclature they may be referred to.

Some good spirited individuals have expressed their dismay at the happenings at NiMet, some out of sincere love for the growth of the agency; while others were as a result of ill-feeling. Naturally, it would be difficult to please diverse people at the same time. But the director-general at NiMet has been performing his duties equitably and with decorum. With all these, Prof. Mansur Matazu has not been able to please some section of individuals within and without the agency.

The result is what we are now witnessing or is being played out at the agency, senior civil servants engaging themselves in a show of shame.
I was made to understand that the SSAs were civil servants from the agency not that they were employed from afar for that purpose.

There are many examples, one is the present Minister of Information Technology, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, when he was the director-general of NITDA, he appointed Kashifu Inuwa from theCentral Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to be his technical assistant and when Pantami was appointed minister, he in turn appointed his technical assistant to the post of director-general to take his place at NITDA.

Malam Ibrahim, a public affairs commentator, writes from Kaduna.