The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has described the allegation of lop-sided appointments in the agency as malicious and a calculated attempt to bring the name of the authority to disrepute.
The NPA, in a statement, reiterated its commitment to the principles of the federal character, stating that it is guided by fairness, equity and the laws of Nigeria in all its operations.
Details released by the agency showed that of the total of 302 managerial positions in the authority, 179 positions are headed by staff from southern part of Nigeria, leaving the north with 123 managers.
The NPA described the allegation as unfounded and untrue, stating that the appointment and promotion of General Managers (GMs) and Assistant General Managers (AGMs) are routinely guided by vacancy, exigencies, seniority, competence and strict application of Federal Character Principle in order to ensure equity and even distribution of positions in the organisation.
An online news medium had accused the Hadiza Bala-Usman led management of NPA of appointing 17 GMs in favour of the north as against six from the south out of a total of 23 GM positions, insinuating breach of the Federal Character Principle, ethnicism and religious consideration as basis for appointment in the organisation.
However, in reaction, the NPA in a statement signed by its General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Jatto Adams explained: "GMs are usually appointed from the pool of AGMs who would ordinarily have been in the service of the Authority for long enough to have acquired significant experience in every aspect of the NPA's operations.
"Records at the moment show that while some zones may have fewer representation in GM cadre, they have higher representation in the two other most senior roles of AGMs and Principal Managers."
It maintained that the southern part of Nigeria is leading in managerial positions with 179 appointments against 123 from the north.
Analysis of the geo-political representation of data showed that the South West is leading with 75 positions, followed by South-south, which has 54 managerial positions; and South-east coming third place with 50 positions. North-central has 45 positions; North-east, 44 and North-west, 34.
NPA further explained that of the total 228 Principal Managers, South-west dominates the ladder with 60 positions; South-south, 43; South-east, 36, while North-central leads the northern table with 36 positions; North-east, 27 and North-west 26.
On the AGM cadre, the South-west leads with13 positions; South-south,10; South-east,10 while the North-east leads the northern chart with 10; North-central,6 and North-west, 3 positions.
The GM cadre sees the North-east leading with 7 positions, followed by North-west,5; North-central 3 as South-east tops the table of the southern plank with 4 positions; South-west,2 and South-south,1 position.
Alerting stakeholders and the general public to note that while the GM, Finance is from the South-east, the offices of GM, Seaview and GM Accounts do not exist, contrary to the reports being circulate. The authority asserted also that the allegations that some retired GMs have had their tenures extended on contract in order to stop their "potential successors" from succeeding them, is totally untrue.
"The two cases that were mentioned: GM, Human Resources, Mr. Yahaya Bukar (August 2018-Aug 2020) and GM, Engineering, Ahmed Rufai Mohammed ( February 2020-2021) had their tenures legally extended for the specific reason of the completion of some of the very important projects that were started within the period of their services as GMs. This situation also applied to the immediate past GM, Finance, Mr Simeon Aniobi, whose tenure was extended between October 2017 and October 2019," NPA said.