Groups kick against Buhari’s last-minute appointments in aviation agencies

10 days ago, former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed 33 new directors in agencies under the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace.

The Civic Situation Room (CSR), a coalition of 100 pro-democracy groups, has kicked against the last-minute appointments by former President Muhammadu Buhari in the aviation sector.

In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Vincent Unazi, the group described the timing and rationale as horrendous and unwarranted, saying it would protest until these appointments are reversed.

Recall that Kabir Yusuf Mohammed was named as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Engineer Tayib Odunowo was also appointed the substantive Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

Similarly, a total of 28 directors and general managers were appointed across the five aviation agencies.

Unazi said the appropriate action would have been to extend the tenures of the MDs, CEOs, and directors for 30 days while nominating new candidates for the incoming administration.

According to him, if not that the former minister, Hadi Sirika had malicious intent, he would have constituted governing boards long ago and not the show of shame he hurriedly did before exiting the office.

“For the entire duration of Sirika’s administration, he failed to appoint boards into the different agencies, thereby usurping their powers,” Unazi queried.

But less than two days to the end of the administration, the boards were hurriedly inaugurated, and that was after new directors were appointed.

“There is nothing wrong in extending the tenures of the MD/ CEOs for a further 30 days while the term of the existing directors would have been on a transitional basis.

“We also have no issues with nominating potential candidates for the incoming administration to pick to drive their agenda. However, the manner the last appointments were carried out left much to be desired.

Unazi accused Sirika of nepotism, saying the former aviation minister picked his cronies to run various aviation departments and agencies.

He said, “It was as though the former minister carefully plotted to reward his cronies in the twilight of the Buhari administration knowing that this would have been resisted if done earlier.

“Sirika left all capable and qualified individuals to pick his men to run the various departments and agencies. It is unacceptable. What he has done is to create a chaotic situation for President Tinubu and we are ready to clean it up.

“This is not much of a surprise, though. Sirika’s time in office was characterized by nepotism, lopsided appointments, tribalism, flagrant disregard for the rule of law, and usurpation of powers belonging to boards of aviation parastatals.

He maintained that civil societies have made up their minds to hold massive, peaceful protests at airports across the country.

“At different points, he oversaw illegal recruitments into agencies like the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

“We won’t let this one slip. We have finalized plans to hold massive protests at the headquarters of the Ministry of Aviation. We will also hold peaceful rallies at major international airports across the country to demand the reversal of these appointments,” he said.

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