Authority, influence, and prestige are derivatives of power. When power is in force, it prevails over all else, including bias. This truth became even more apparent after President Bola Tinubu handed over the ministerial neighbourhood watch to Hadiza Bala Usman, former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). At present, everything and everyone kowtows before her delegated might.
Gender is not a strong thing in governance, usually. But sometimes it is, and Usman might hold this sentiment. Her history in governmental service is marked by heavier power play than some women can brook. But those days are far behind the Zaria native as her new position sets over as lord over Tinubu’s ministers.
President Tinubu made Usman the head of his administration’s Result and Delivery Unit (RDU). Still serving in her capacity as his Special Adviser on Policy Coordination, this assignment places Usman as the class monitor over the ministers, each of whom must now focus on delivering the best possible outcomes in their respective offices.
Usman’s RDU headship is a turnaround for her. In the previous administration, the height of her public service was her heading of the NPA. However, due to a disagreement with the former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, her superior, she was thrown out of office.
Her exit from the NPA was nowhere near dignified, but Usman’s present position rubs out any stain on her dignity. Presently, every minister defers to her, recognising that the direction of her thumbs can make or mar their work. The ancients say that the guiltless have nothing to fear, but which minister dares to proclaim themselves so until Usman declares it?
It is all very interesting to watch grown men pander to Usman’s every demand. The game has turned on its head as having the whistle to speak highly of or scarify ministerial commitment and service delivery makes her the biggest man on the block.