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NIPOST Rumbles Over Buhari’s Order

Succession Rumpus Hits Nipost As Workers Reject Moves To Disrupt Succession Order And Advertise For A Non-Career Personnel As Post-Master General

Though it seems no longer a factor in the daily life of Nigerians, there is still something coming out of it. The 12,000-strong workforce at the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), is warming up for a confrontation with President

Muhammadu Buhari on his decision to throw open the appointment of a new PostMaster General for the Federation. The office became vacant last month when Alhaji Ibrahim Mori Baba retired after eight years in the saddle. The most senior director or deputy post-master general, DPMG, Arch. Enoch Ade Ogun had stepped in as acting PMG.

Although there are other six other DPMG’s and no fewer than 45 senior assistant postmasters general, the Ministry of Communication Technology, according to informed sources, has obtained President Buhari’s consent to advertise the position of a substantive PMG.

The Senor Staff Union is worried that the decision to open the door to all-comers is a ploy to scheme out the top managers of NIPOST in favour of an outsider who may reverse all the gains made by the establishment in recent years. Top in consideration is the new impetus to boost revenue generation through the strict enforcement of the Stamp Duties Act, a scheme that is capable of earning an excess of N3 trillion for the Federal Government in a year. “The drive for improved revenue in fact is part of NIPOST’s financial inclusion plan and strategic co-operation with the Central Bank of Nigeria,” a director in the Ministry of Communication Technology disclosed.

The plan is designed to re-position the Service in line with the challenges posed by ICT and increasing global competition. Indeed, the former PMG, Baba Mori at his valedictory had noted that NIPOST adopted new technologies for its operations with the advent of ICT. He also disclosed that 70 per cent of post offices across the country had been equipped with ICT facilities.

Confidential sources also hinted that Baba Mori had actually recommended that his successor be picked from among the crop of well-trained top managers he left behind. Besides the possible distortion of the succession plan that is the tradition at NIPOST, workers are also apprehensive that Nigeria’s status may nose dive at the Universal Postal Union if an outsider is appointed the PMG. “A new head at NIPOST will require about four years to learn the norm and to understand the workings of the global body,” a management consultant said yesterday.

Analysts yesterday said the President must avoid generating another political ‘bad blood’ by unwittingly sidelining other ethnic groups in the appointment of new heads of government agencies. “The uproar on the recent high-brow appointments that seemingly favoured one ethnic group is yet to die down. President Buhari must not do anything to suggest that he does not want to confirm a Yoruba man as the next PMG.

After all northerners have held the post since 2005 till now,” a member of Afenifere Young leaders, Adewale Olaposi, told journalists yesterday. It would recalled that late Abubakar Argungu occupied the seat between 2005 and was succeeded by Baba Mori, both from Kebbi State.

Meanwhile, the staff union had dispatched a letter to the President warning against the move. The letter signed by President, Senior Staff Association Of Communication, Transport And Corporations (NIPOST Chapter), Mr. Gabriel Imafidon, and dated September 10 reads: “We believe that President Muhammadu Buhari has been misadvised to approve that the position of the PMG be advertised and thrown open to all comers.

He must have been misinformed on the operations of NIPOST. If new chief executives for NNPC, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigerian Communication Commission were appointed without advertisement, why must the case of NIPOST must be different? “The plan to advertise the position of the PMG is unacceptable to us.

The law empowers the President to exercise his powers to appoint the PMG. By advertising that position, the President is ceding his authority to another person or a group of persons to think on his behalf. That is unhealthy for NIPOST owing to its peculiarities.

In any case, this has never happened at NIPOST because of the intricacies in its operations. “We plead that the President should drop this idea and work with the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the Postal Reform Bill. This is the real impetus needed by our workers to achieve a complete turn-around of NIPOST.

The re-positioning of the agency began a few years ago and all indices indicate that the workforce have demonstrated a concerted effort to move NIPOST up.

I can say with all confidence that there are positive signs because we have talented and committed people. At today’s NIPOST, we have a crop of staff literally standing on their toes, thinking out how to ensure its survival and match the challenges posed by exploding Information and Communication Technology.

And I say that if the Postal Industry can survive in the United States of America with all available technology, it will survive in Nigeria because we have the population to sustain postal business. “For instance, NIPOST revenue last year was in excess of N5 billion.

On Stamp Duty alone we made N870 million in 2013, rising to N1.03 billion in 2014. Once the Postal Reform Bill becomes law, we can hit N3 trillion a year on revenue from Stamp Duty alone. “Bringing an outsider to NIPOST will dampen staff morale; an outsider will struggle for some time to understand the intricacies of the job and the challenges of the system, local and international. “We urge Mr. President to shun the wrong advice of looking outside for a new PMG”.

– Our Reporter

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