The Oasis Reporters
March 31, 2019
By Musa Salis Umar
As a true son of the Northern part of this great country, Northeast in particular, I note with utmost dismay, a publication in March 29, 2019 editions of Business Day, Thisday and Tribune Online, amongst other online publications, a demand of the South and Middle Belt leaders asking the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to reverse the appointment of the new Director General of the Nigerian Environmental Standards and Regulatory Agency NESREA, Prof. Aliyu Jauro who hails from Gombe State, Northeast, Nigeria.
As much as I respect the Southern and Middle Belt leaders often seen as brothers and compatriots of the North, I find their reasons for this unusual position in complete discord with all parameters of fairness, equity and justice in what should be the common patrimony of us all citizens of this great nation, Nigeria where we are all equal partners.
The respected leaders from the South and the Middle belt have described
this appointment as lopsided and sectional, before calling for its reversal.
The first question that naturally comes to discerning minds is how can someone, literally, direct his President to reverse an appointment, which he made in exercise of his constitutional powers simply because the appointee is not from their region?
If for anything, the outgoing director general, Dr. Lawrence Anukam is from the South East. The Acting Director General, Mrs Miranda Amachree is from the South south. While they were at the helm of affairs at NESREA, no Northerner raised any protest. Therefore why should the South South, South East, South West and the Middle Belt begrudge this same service to the nation coming from the North and Northeast in Particular? Are we not entitled to that position as well?
Available records also show that 90% of the NASREA’s staff are from the Southern and the Middlebelt regions and the rest of the Northern region share the remaining 10%, is that not lopsided enough for the Southern and Middlebelt leaders to allow equal opportunity to flow in the affairs of this nation at least as far as NESREA is concerned?
Talking about experience, though my position is not to contest how “highly experienced or thoroughbred” Dr. Lawrence Anukam is. According to the statement of the Southern and Middle Belt leaders, Dr. Anukam is a “thorough professional with over 30 years of experience.” So if he has served for three decades, is that a rational reason why a younger professor should not be appointed with fresh ideas into the running of the Agency?
I find this position completely discomforting.
Professor Jauro is a 1995 graduate not 1997 as claimed by the leaders of the South and Middlebelt. And that is 24 years post-graduation, with a distinguished professorial seat for that matter. One begins to wonder whether it is the length of years spent in service or the distinction attained in value addition that matters. Indeed, what really matters most?
It will be recalled that in the late 70s, then Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, “transferred” Professor Adamu Baikie who was only four years as professor and Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to University of Benin as Vice Chancellor.
Professor Baikie went to Benin and successfully headed Professors, most of them with twenty years experience. His tenure was superlative, and was convinced to do a second term. After which, University of Botswana head hunted him to the Southern African country, where he remained a legendary builder and developer, proving that it is never about the length of years that bestows wisdom.
Before delving into the resumé of Professor Jauro, may we examine the history of NESREA from inception and judge if appointing a northerner to head it for the first time since its establishment constitutes an act of injustice in our collective heritage.
Dr Mrs Ngeri Benebo who was the pioneer DG of NESREA from 2006-2014, is from Rivers State, while Dr. Lawrence Chidi Anukam, from Imo State, took over from 2014-2018. In fact, all of the Technical Directors are from the South and the middlebelt, but, in the spirit of one nation, the rest of the North did not protest against this imbalance.
The Pioneer DG spent 8 years due to her performance. But the second DG was, ostensibly, not impressive enough in capacity for value addition, requisite leadership culture and discipline to take NESREA to the “Next Level”. If the out-gone DG is a non-performer, then you should not expect any serious government to renew his term of office simply because he is from the south! There is absolutely everything good in appointing a distinguished young Professor of the Baikie class to rescue NESREA, a sinking ship.
There are particular reasons why I find this unfortunate opposition on the appointment of Prof. Aliyu Jauro baseless. It is beyond the fact that in the spirit of equity, the North should take its first shot after two others who have headed the Agency from the South.
One of the reasons is that Professor Jauro is an eminently qualified Professor to do the job considering his intimidating credentials and cognate experience, garnered worldwide. A peep into his CV will reveal that since he graduated in 1995, his career progression has been smooth and steady due to uncommon excellence.
Google has made things easy for every scholar, I did a little research about the said professor via Nairaland and came across his rich and intimidating CV which divulge that, Prof. Aliyu Jauro was born in 1971 in his home state of Gombe. His area of specialization is well and adequately suited for the organization, NESREA that he has been appointed to head. He is a professor of Industrial Chemistry and lectures at the Department of Chemistry in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.
He had his tertiary education at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi from
1989-1995, 1999-2002, 2002-2007, then
German National Centre for Geosciences
Research, (GeoForschungsZentrum), Potsdam, Germany, March-October 2005, Bench Work.
The Professor’s fertile resume` expose that within the span of his “short” academic and professional career, he supervised 13 MSc’s and 5 PhD’s to completion; published at least 45 articles in reputable journals; 10 Technical reports/proceedings; attended and presented papers at several workshops and conferences both locally and abroad; published 1 textbook; and, a book chapter.
Now, back to the “demand” of the southern and middle belt leaders, I find it rather unconscionable that Mr. Isuwa Dogo, a man who claims to represent the Middle belt which is part of the North would be found in this assembly, demanding for the reversal of the appointment of Prof. Jauro from the neighbouring North East as DG of NESREA.
For one, Mr Dogo really ought to know that the link between the Northeast and the so-called Middle belt is umbilical. They are all in the same North trough and Professor Jauro’s quantum of research work on the Middlebelt trough is incredibly enormous in collaboration with eminent academic researchers from the entire Middle Belt on solving environmental problems associated with the two regions.
The list of the distinguished academic researchers that have collaborated with Prof. Jauro are many. This response will mention only one or two.
Can Mr. Dogo move around and enquire from the distinguished Profs N. G. Obaje
and B.A. Ikyenge first before reviewing his position as a so called leader of the Middle Belt?
Can he say that he has contributed more to the cause of the Middle belt than Prof. Jauro who sees himself as one with, and in the region?
Talk about a man shooting himself in the foot. And I already have a classic example in this gentleman, Mr Dogo.
Enough said already! The distinguished Prof Jauro is more than qualified to be exactly where His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has deemed it fit to place him.
This article is for and on behalf of the entire North :
Written by Musa Salis Umar
A public affairs analyst from Biu, Borno State, Nigeria.