President Muhammadu Buhari
By Anthony Maliki
The attention of a civil rights and pressure group has been drawn to the on-going jig-saw, puzzle and outcry from Nigerians about what is happening currently at National Research and Science Development (NARSDR), that the name of Dr Francis Chizea Dubem who is supposed to be appointed substantive Director-General is to be changed for the 8th person in position of hierarchy to the office.
Just recently, President Muhammadu Buhari wrote a letter to the National Assembly to confirm one Halilu Shaba, who, according to our investigations, has never acted or played any role previously either as a top management staff or Acting Director-General, but due to Halilu’s contact in high places and his bragging rights for years, he is to be made the Director-General at the detriment of Dr Dubem who has acted for over one year now.
The Coalition of Youths Against Corruption (COYAC) which has been championing integrity, transparency and good governance since the return of democracy in Nigeria since 1999, states as follows: Its grievances stems from the fact of the selection process and in the instrumentality that led to the name of Halilu being sent to the National Assembly.
In a press release signed by Comrade David Oveidge Kpatum, COYAC emphasized on the true and authentic name of the most qualified person to head the agency because an agency of that nature does not need a mediocre to be on board, but a tested, tried and trusted hand who will move the country and agency to the next level and bring fame to the country in the comity of nations.
It is on record that while Mr Jonathan Angulu acted and was about leaving office, he handed over to Dr Dubem who has been since been on acting capacity and if due process is followed he is supposed to be confirmed than any other person.
COYAC is using this medium to advise Mr President to do the right thing by putting a square peg in a square hole and confirm Dr Dubem as the Director-General instead of Halilu Shaba from the back door. That Nigerians and the international community are indeed watching to see what happens and the President, we know would not want us to be a laughing stock in the comity of nations by choosing Halilu as against merit.
Dr Chizea Dubem has spent most of youthful life working assiduously for the good of the country in various endeavours both in and outside the country and has won a lot of laurels to shore up the image of Nigeria at the international level. He is a well-known bureaucrat, technocrat and scientist with renowned international bodies and his antecedence over the past one year or so has shown he can be trusted and is good for the job to head the agency.
It is also a well-known fact that he helped bring the agency from the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic and developed the staff on many new issues of global acclaim. Our investigations, also showed that he has been in the acting capacity for quite some time and if need be, the Minister, as well as Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology should be made to face the National Assembly headship to attest to the fact that Dr Dubem has been in charge for the past one year. The senior management staff at NARSDR should also be brought to the fray so as to ascertain the truth of the whole saga and unravel the authentic Acting Director-General before the confirmation.
We therefore call on President Buhari that when Nigeria launched the satellite several years ago, that Dr Dubem played pivotal role in the launch and one of the arrow-heads that have focused the agency on the path of prosperity in the advancement of technology and that’s why today he is known all over the world as an astute scientific and technology figure that should be given a path on the shoulder by this government.
We therefore call on Mr President to rescind his decision of sending Mr Halilu Shaba’s name to the National Assembly and do the rightful so that posterity would be fair to him and call on Nigerians to prevail on Mr President by allowing a world class technocrat to take the Nigeria space research to the next level and call that the Senate Chairman on Science and Technology, including the Minister to testify for the good of the country.