Is Sirika aware of the dirty supremacy battle at NiMet? – By Durojaye Emmanuel
In less than a year since Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi was relieved of his job as Director-General of the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMet) and his immediate replacement by Prof. Mansur Matazu, the agency has arguably been blown to smithereens, from one imbroglio to another. Who could have ever imagined that this once blossoming agency could nosedive into a hot pot for rivalry, insubordination and greed at this shortest time under Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika’s ‘man’?
With the ongoing disgraceful brawl at NiMet, I find it compelling to write at this time for the interest of the public and to bring to the notice of Minister Sirika, whose ministry supervises the agency.
On 17th August, 2021, two online newspapers reported the brawl in the echelon of the agency. According to these reports, a general manager had engaged his senior, a director, in a physical fight that violates, by all definitions, the code of conduct of civil service.
It is good to inform the minister that his man is no longer in charge. His two other lieutenants have taken over and are already in a supremacy battle with other staff at the agency. These men are trying to set the whole agency on fire for their selfish interests.
Two general managers have assumed power as defacto-DGs with each exercising his unlawful influence and powers in virtually everything that has to do with the administration of the agency. One might even think they’ve no other superior authority. They’ve rendered the D-G useless while claiming to have pocketed him and making him dance to their tune, even if such tune is against his will.
These two people have been undermining all the directors at the agency. Their insubordination has reached a peak as they have been perfecting plans to overthrow their heads at the directorate level in an attempt to get the D-G ousted, the same way they did to Prof. Mashi, so that one of them could become the next Director-General. This ambition is what threw NiMet into this pitiful state.
One senior staff who was an errand boy to the minister when he was at the National Assembly, that was brought into the NiMet with no civil service experience but was engaged in the service as level 17 staff, is now doing everything possible to see his principal at his directorate redeployed to other agencies under the purview of the Aviation ministry. For him, this could be the gateway to actualizing his ambition of becoming the director of Applied Metrology and thereafter the Director-General of the agency.
Another friend and first cousin of Minister Sirika who has only two years left in the NiMet, wanted to ascend to the office of the director of admin and supply, is also busily machinating to becoming the Director-General of the agency, that is why he has been engaging in insubordination of his principal, violating all due processes in the discharge of his role because he has the D-G in his pocket.
Little wanders the minister’s friend and first cousin and that other senior staffer pressurized the D-G to make them Senior Special Assistants to him, in addition to their civil service roles. This is very strange as it had never happened in the history of the agency. No D-G has ever had any SSA in the history of NiMet. Their appointments as SSAs are not in the Act that established NiMet, nor in its scheme of service. It is nothing but an absolute display of greediness and desire to always lead at all cost.
Although both the minister’s friend and his co-traveler senior staffer have seniored the D-G by age, as a Professor, he has more experience than all of them. But because of their closeness to the minister, they are interfering in everything he does. They often pressurize him to succumb to their demands.
These people were the forces behind the removal of Prof. Mashi. They have resorted to brandishing such plans to threaten the D-G in the event that he refuses to act to their bidding.
These two people have succeeded in witch-hunting other staff in the agency aside from blocking numerous staff welfare packages which used to be enjoyed in the past. They have been influencing decisions in the agency, especially on staff posting. If you are not in their good books, you can easily be posted out of the headquarters even if your service is needed the most.
Sadly, the most productive staffers in the agency have been subjected to fear of being intimidated by these defacto-DGs. And this is seriously affecting the delivery of the agency’s mandate. The earlier the minister expunges these irresponsible people, the better for the agency and his ministry. Otherwise, the agency would continue to blow to smithereens.
Mr Emmanuel, who is a public affairs commentator, wrote from Abuja.