Why I didn’t get Amaechi birthday gift — Hadiza Usman

Hadiza Bala Usman NPA MD

Former managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Usman on Saturday blamed “bad work culture” in both public and private organisations as the reason why the ex-minister of transportation Rotimi Amaechi wanted her removed from NPA because she did not buy him a birthday gift.

Usman said this at the launch of her book titled Stepping on Toes— My Odyssey at the Nigerian Ports Authority.

She explained: “Referencing the issue of the birthday present, the publishers and editors advised me to remove it. Why I insisted on putting it is because it was not like a side conversation he had. People went to him to plead on my behalf that ‘Why are you doing this to Hadiza? It’s like you want to destroy her.’ He then responded to say she hasn’t done anything for me.

“There is a culture we have imbibed in public service when it is the MD or CEO everyone does a card as big and this gigantic cake appears. It has become like a culture that if you don’t come and celebrate your boss, you are that bad person and not loyal.

“Unconsciously, people in public office start being entitled to that and think it is right to buy a birthday present. Meanwhile I am not your friend. Why should I buy you a birthday present? This is something we have found ourselves in—the bad work culture over the years.”

According to her, she feels Amaechi perceived it as wrong due to the “culture” and from “an honest and innocent perspective from where he has been groomed over the years to think it is right.”

Responding to reports that the minister would write a book on her, she said: “I am happy and I look forward to his book. He has an interesting career. He has been a speaker for eight years and governor for eight years, DG presidential campaign twice, presidential aspirant. So he has a lot to share with all of us and it will make a very interesting read because there are critical things we will learn from it.

“Nigeria Ports Authority is one of the 13 agencies under the ministry of transportation. I don’t want to think he will belittle his whole career and limit it to a Hadiza book. There is so much he has to share with us.”