Africa: Aviation authority, Hot contest for DG as Usman ends tenure


The five-year tenure of the Director General (DG) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muktar Usman, will end October, 2019, Daily Trust reports. Capt. Usman became the chief executive of the civil aviation regulatory body in October, 2014, and is to serve for five years. Before his appointment, he was the Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).

The Civil Aviation Act permits his tenure to be renewed for another five years, but it has not been conventional for an NCAA boss to get a second tenure. Some past DGs even served for less than a term.

Sources within the aviation industry said Capt. Usman may not also get a second tenure. But it was gathered from credible sources, that Usman is desirous of another term in office.

Our correspondent, however gathered that the minister is not excited about re-presenting him to Mr. President; but nothing is certain for now. If he fails to get the tenure renewed, and an option is not named, the most senior director at NCAA, could take over until a substantive DG is appointed.

Hurdles against tenure renewal Some of the odds against the current DG include a running battle with workers over welfare issues. The aviation unions had severally picketed NCAA over poor welfare issues during the tenure of the DG. “We don’t want him to come back. The staff members are not happy. The welfare package is not encouraging under his watch.

A lot of trainings have stalled,” a staff said in confidence. Our aviation correspondent also observed that customer service is also said to be at a low as customers are left at the mercy of operators without much intervention by NCAA. However, NCAA has recorded significant milestones under Usman. The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos were certified for the first time under him.

There has been no major air crash and the Nigerian aviation industry has retained International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) aviation safety records and certification, suggesting that the Nigerian aviation industry is very safe and secured. Top contenders for DG post Besides Capt. Usman, there are other contenders for the powerful seat of NCAA DG.

Capt. Musa Nuhu was recently elected Chairperson of the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI Plan) Steering Committee in Montreal, Canada. Nuhu has the right set of skills and international exposure to be an effective regulator of Nigeria’s civil aviation. However, if he is appointed, Nigeria will lose the coveted seat at ICAO.

The current AIB Commissioner, Engr. Akin Olateru, is also being seriously considered for the job. Mr. Olateru has brought vibrancy and refreshing style to air accident investigation in Nigeria. In less than three years, he has closed several aircraft accident reports that have stalled for years. He was appointed on January 9, 2017, as the AIB Commissioner.

He has also raised the profile of AIB in Africa as AIB is now a regional leader with state-of-the-art equipment. He still has staff issues to contend with at AIB. Engr. Gbolahan Abatan is the President/CEO of AirFirst Maintenance and Engineering Ltd.

He is a qualified aircraft engineer and educated at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, and several other institutions with a very robust industry experience. He currently provides technical support to the AIB to review the 120 various safety recommendations and implementation by airlines. Engr. Ben Tukur is a safety inspector at NCAA, but currently the Technical Assistant to the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika.

At some point he was a safety and quality inspector at Aero Contractors Nigeria Limited. He was appointed secretary of the nine-man task force to oversee the commencement of the national carrier and the committee’s work is ongoing. Current NCAA directors The current directors at NCAA, most of them captains and engineers with requisite education, training and exposure, are also hoping the minister and the president will look inward to pick the next NCAA DG.

By Chris Agabi

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