There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigerian women, whenever given the opportunity in any field of human endeavour always prove to be excellent achievers. With hard work and diligence, Nigerian women have come of age, marching side by side with their male counterparts. It is on record that the few women given the chance to lead have not disappointed.
It was based on this supportive role that women have cultivated to encourage one another that coalition of professional women group from different fields and modes in the transportation in General and particularly in the maritime industry have extolled the exemplary leadership qualities of Hadiza Bala-Usman, as the first female Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
A group in solidarity have commended the tremendous achievements she recorded in office which has made her a role model to women in leadership positions in the country. The group noted that if more women are given the chance to lead, they will perform excellently well.
Enumerating the giant strides Hadiza Bala-Usman has achieved in office, the professional women groups said it has become imperative to showcase what Hadiza Usman was able to achieve in her four years in office as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority.
Here are some of the numerous achievements she has recorded in office in the last four years:
As the first female Managing Director of the NPA, she ensured that:
1 the very first Creche in Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) was established at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC).
2 Commissioning of the Command & Control, Communication and Intelligence Centre for NPA .This will serve as surveillance of all activities and as an information network centre for security agencies in the ports.
3 Launching of the Provisional Final Billing and Customer Portal Module of Revenue Invoice Management System aimed at improving the service offering, partners relationship, create efficient payment method, maximize revenue and eradicate loss associated with fraud and revenue leakages.
4 Acquisition and Commissioning of four new Tug boats namely, MT Daura, MT Ubima, MT Uromi and MT Majiya in order to further improve operational efficiency.
5 Establishment and entrenchment of a level playing field for all operators in the port industry by removing all bottlenecks that hinders healthy competition in the industry. An example is the de-classification of ports terminals which has removed the categorization of some ports as strictly oil and gas.
5 To ensure transparency and accountability, the NPA became the first MDA to open its budget to the public with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU) with Open Budget System Platform and Implementation of a Public Data Dissemination programme.
6 The Hadiza Usman regime in her quest for excellence introduced a new licensing regime to ensure transparency and due process, and
7 Review of the concession agreements to ensure seamless collaboration for a sustained development of the maritime industry.
Also, in furtherance of the President Buhari’s economy diversification into non-oil exports, the NPA under Hadiza Balla-Usman’s watch developed an SOP and established a dedicated terminal to handle exports aimed at enhancing government’s non-oil export revenue.
The dedicated terminals are: Ikorodu Lighter Terminal for Lagos State, Shoreline Logistics Terminal for Calabar Port in Cross River State, Bua Ports and Terminal (Warehouse measuring 2.896sqm and Port and Terminal Operators Limited (Warehouse A measuring 2.760sqm for Rivers Port in Rivers State .
To make sure ports access roads are motorable and accessible, NPA accomplished and signed a MOU with FMWH for the reconstruction of the port access road in Apapa port area of Lagos State. The project cost was put at N4.34 billion, the Nigerian Ports Authority contributed the sum of N1.829 billion.
The Hadiza Usman’s regime also initiated collaboration of the NPA with other agencies of government for smooth running of the ports system. Particularly, it collaborated with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to introduce the much awaited Single Window Platform aimed at simplifying & harmonizing formalities, procedures and related exchange of information & documents between the various players in the supply chain. The various reforms carried out by Hadiza’s regime has restored investors confidence in the port industry. Such investors, include, the China Harbour Engineering Company which is taking up the balance of NPA’s equity in the Lekki Deep Seaports project. DP World signed a partnership agreement with Josepdam Port Services, while the Tanger Med of Morocco indicated willingness to develop a Green Field Terminal logistic base among others.
For smooth and efficient management of humans and material resources at the NPA, the Hadiza Usman led management carried out a major restructuring which led to the realignment of the Authority’s organizational structure to reduce cost and improve efficiency of business processes. Sh introduced merit driven performance management system to improve employees and organizational productivity and transformation of the Authority’s manpower development practices to improve the skill, knowledge and capacity of employees.
For stakeholders and port users convenience, the agency publishes the tariff regime of the Authority on its website for the whole world to see in line with the vision of transparency and accountability. Similarly, the establishment and commissioning of the Safety Information & Operations Center at Apapa for the prompt dissemination of information to port users as part of the ongoing effort to improve port efficiency was achieve during her tenure.
In an effort to improve ship traffic at the Eastern Ports(Delta, Calabar and Port Harcourt ) Hadiza’s Management has deployed Tug Boats , Pilot Cutters and initiated dredging works of the port channels. The successful berthing of FPSO Egina project is an attestation to the constant infrastructural and operational preparedness of the Nigerian Ports Authority to serve clients efficiently now and in the foreseeable future.
Another milestone recorded in the NPA was the constant engagement of stakeholders by the management on quarterly basis, which has resulted in industrial harmony. She also flagged off the construction of the Lekki Deep Sea port.
Construction and equipping of a Simulation Center. The facility will undertake training of NPA Pilots for improved and world class navigation dissemination programmes.
The Hadiza Usman regime also completed the remedial dredging works at Escravos access channel. This will increase the inflow of ocean-going vessels into Delta Ports which will also impact positively on the socio -economic development of the area with respect to increased trade and commerce. Among other strategic achievements.
Hadiza Bala Usman was born on 2nd January 1976 in Zaria Kaduna State, Nigeria. She started her education at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria Staff Primary School and went ahead to complete both her Secondary and Undergraduate Studies at the Ahmadu Bello University campus Zaria with a BSc in Business Administration from 1996 – 2000. She later obtained a Masters Degree in Development Studies from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom in 2008 – 2009.
Hadiza Bala Usman started her working career with Centre for Democratic Development and Research Training [CEDDERT] Zaria, a Non-Governmental Organization in June 1999- June 2000 as a Research Assistant. Following which she worked at the Bureau Of Public Enterprise [BPE], the agency charged with the implementation of the privatisation programme of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from July 2000- August 2004 as an Enterprise Officer.
She was then hired by the UNDP for the Federal Capital Territory Administration [FCTA] from October 2004 – January 2008 as a Special Assistant to the Minister on Project Implementation. From 2011 to July 2015, she worked as Director of Strategy of Good Governance Group, a Non-Governmental Organisation.
As a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), she served at various committees, key amongst them are:
Membership of the APC Strategy Committee from January 2014- December 2014. The committee defined the policy thrust of the party and consequently developed the Party Manifesto. She served as a Member/ Secretary of the APC National Elections Planning Committee from June 2014 – April 2015. The committee developed and coordinated the party’s election winning strategies.
The hardworking Hadiza also served as the Administrative Secretary of the APC Presidential Campaign Committee from January 2015 – April 2015.
Served as a Member of the Presidential Inauguration Planning Committee representing the in-coming administration from April – May 2015.
In July 2015, she was appointed as the Chief of Staff to the Kaduna State Governor, Ahmed El-Rufia, a position she held until her appointment on July 11th 2016 as the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
In September 2015, she was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to serve as a Member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on anti-corruption.
In April 2014, she co-founded the global movement “#BringBackOurGirls” which has been demanding for the rescue of the 219 young girls abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram from Chibok Secondary School in Borno State, North East Nigeria.
Among the numerous recognition she has includes being named by the Financial Times [FT] as one of the most influential Women in 2014. She was also named amongst CNN’s most inspiring woman of 2014 and also named by Ebony Magazine amongst the 2014, 100 most influential black women in the world. She was the Vice Chairperson of the Facilitation Committee (FAL) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for a one year period from 2019-2020. She is also Vice President, African Region of the International Association of Harbour and Ports (IAPH).Hadiza Bala Usman has been a great inspiration to Nigerian women.