By Ignatius Okorocha
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Dr. Halilu Ahmad Shaba as the Director General, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
Shaba’s confirmation followed the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.
In her presentation, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife, said although the Committee did not receive any petition against Shaba’s nomination from any member of the Space Council, the few received from some groups were not substantiated with verifiable evidence.
According to the lawmaker, Shaba showed evidence of more than twenty-one years of post-doctoral research experience in space science – six years above the minimum requirement.
Ekwunife emphasized that the nominee was screened in line with the criteria contained in the Act establishing the agency, the Senate Standing Rules 2015 (as amended) and the Principles of the Committee.
“Therefore, the Committee is satisfied with the qualification, performance and suitability of the nominee for the position of Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency”, the lawmaker said.
Speaking on Shaba’s nomination, The Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North) observed that his appointment underscored the importance of hard work and place of merit in public service.
He said: “Suffice it to say here that what I’ve seen very peculiar here and, very gladdening, too, is that someone has etched a career in an agency and has got to that peak, where by merit he is found very capable and has been so recommended and nominated by Mr. President for confirmation as a Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of that Agency.
“Mr. President, the significance here is we’ve seen situations where the tendency to bring people from outside to head agencies where there are qualified people under has been sometimes worrisome.
“I was in service, and I’m aware this is a major issue in many agencies. So, this is a very clear example, and I think it will encourage those who are in similar bodies to continue to work very hard, knowing fully well that they can be considered on merit for this kind of position.”
The Deputy Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, (APC, Ondo North) described Shaba as having the requisite experience and capability to restore credibility, productivity and discipline to the agency.
“I’m a member of this committee that produced this report. But, I have to add that, I was the pioneer Director-General of this agency, where I served for ten years.
“[And] during my tenure, Dr. Shaba was in the agency; I worked closely with him, in addition to that, I was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology for a period of eight years, and he worked closely with me.
“We will all agree that the agency has been struggling to regain its original image in terms of productivity, discipline and credibility.
“I sincerely believe that Dr. Shaba is capable of re-engineering the agency and bringing it back to the level of its past glory”, Boroffice said.
The Senate, thereafter, confirmed Shaba as Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency.