Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, has reportedly submitted Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman’s name to President Muhammadu Buhari to take over as the new managing director of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Thisday reports.
Should Buhari approve the recommendation, Ms. Bala Usman, 40, will become the first female chief executive of a top tier federal government agency and of the NPA. She will take over from Alhaji Habib Abdullahi, who was reinstated by Buhari in August 2015 as the managing director of NPA, after he had been shown the exit by former President Goodluck Jonathan in April 2015.
As a member of the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Ms. Bala Usman co-founded the #BringBackOurGirls campaign alongside former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili. She is believed to have used the #BringBackOurGirls platform as a strong emotional campaign in mobilising public sentiment against the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ms. Bala Usman was first appointed into President Buhari’s Transition Committee when he won the March 2015 presidential polls. She quickly disengaged from the #BringBackOurGirls campaign immediately she clinched an appointment as Chief of Staff to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, a position she holds till this day. She was also later nominated to serve in President Buhari’s Anti-Corruption Advisory Committee headed by Prof. Itse Sagay.
Sources in the presidency, who confirmed that Ms. Bala Usman’s name had been sent to the President, said the minute Ms. Bala Usman’s name was submitted to the president, Buhari was happy to consider the recommendation, given the past relationship he had with her father, the late Prof. Yusufu Bala Usman, who was a renowned Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) academic, historian and activist before his death some years ago.
Ms. Bala Usman was born in Zaria, Kaduna State, on January 2, 1976.
She grew up close to the ABU campus where her father worked and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in 2000 from the same university and her Master’s degree from the University of Leeds in 2009. She worked for a non-governmental organisation, the Centre for Democratic Development and Research Training (CEDDERT) in Zaria, as a research assistant for a year starting in 1999.
She also worked for the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) when El-Rufai was the director-general of the privatisation agency and moved with him to work as his Special Assistant on Project Implementation. She is married to Dr. Tanimu Yakubu, former Chief Economic Adviser to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and they have two sons.