"WE WILL BUILD A ROBUST SUCCESSION PLAN IN NCAA" - DHR&A
“When an organisation commits to succession planning, they are building a leadership pipeline that develops high-potential talents; keeping those team members invested and on track for future success with the organisation” – Jill Pioter.
When Wakil Adamu was appointed as Director to head the Directorate of Human Resources and Administration, it was an appointment well deserved because of his sterling record in the administration of human and material resources.
The Regulator crew led by the General Manager, Public Relations, Mr. Sam Adurogboye in the company of Obasi Ugwumba, Okoronkwo Ezinne and Ahmad Muhammad Barup paid him a visit in his Abuja’s Office and he has this to share with them.
- Good morning, Sir. Accept our congratulations on your deserved appointment as DHR & A. For the sake of our readers, can you avail us of your background up to being appointed Director of Human Resources & Administration?
My name is Mr. Wakil Adamu. I was born on March 20, 1958. I hailed from a small Local Government Area known as Fune in Yobe State.
My Primary school was in Potiskum, Race Course Primary School and my Secondary school was at Government Secondary School, Damaturu in Yobe State.
I proceeded to the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria where I bagged a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology and two Master's Degrees in Public Administration (MPA) and International Affairs and Diplomacy Administration (MPA).
My civil service career began when I was appointed as an Assistant Secretary as that was the nomenclature used for the position of Administrative Officer back then. It was from there I rose through the ranks to become a Director. I had to transfer my service to the Federal Civil Service Commission where I served as a Director of Administration.
I have been to different federal ministries in the course of my career and duties; at least I have been to not less than 10 ministries before now. I served in the Ministry of Education; Ministry of Works; Office of Head of Service of the Federation; Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF); Ministry of Water Resources; and Office National Poverty Alleviation.
I have also worked as a Director in the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria, before I was posted to Ministry of Aviation where I retired after successfully fulfilling the mandatory 35 years of active service in 2018.
After retirement, I joined the private service again by becoming a member of a Board of Electricity Distribution Company. It was from there that I was appointed in 2022 as tenured personnel and posted to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as a Director of the Directorate of Human Resources and Administration. That is my brief sojourn in the Civil Public Service, thank you very much
- You oversee a mega Directorate. Please can you tell us how many departments that makes up the Directorate and their core functions?
The Human Resources Directorate in NCAA is one of the six (6) Directorates in NCAA, and it comprises of three (3) key departments. They are Human Resources, Internal Administration and Corporate Affairs with each manned by a very senior public servant in the rank and status of General Manager for effective and efficient management. Each of these Departments is further broken down into units to enhance prompt and efficient service delivery.
The Human Resources Department, which manages the most vital and valuable resources of the organisation, operates with four units: Personnel, Industrial Relations and Welfare, Pension, and Manpower Development & Training. The Administration department has four units: Security, Estate, Transport and Protocol & Passages.
As part of our core functions, the Directorate ensures that the right people are recruited to fill right positions in the Authority; staff performance meet set standards through the deployment of appraisal instruments, compensation and benefits of staff are adequately and properly administered and staff welfare needs are addressed. To ensure the organizational goals are achieved, the directorate ensures good labour and management relations are maintained.
Human Resources (HR) assist management in the formulation, interpretation and implementation of various HR policies and programmes that are aimed at promoting job satisfaction and staff commitment to the vision of the authority.
As we are aware, manpower development & training is a major capital project of the Authority and the management commits a lot of funds on training annually to ensure the staffers are kept abreast of industry standards and practices. Thus, training and development is a very important function of the directorate. We ensure that the various trainings (proficiency, ab initio, professional trainings and others) are tailored towards staff development and career progression.
The Directorate is the custodian of the physical assets of the Authority which include movable and immovable assets such as buildings, vehicles, etc. It facilitates the provisions, maintenance of all assets and ensures that they do not constitute hazard to the staff.
An integral function of the directorate is planning. The Corporate Affairs Department is the data bank of the Authority and it is responsible for all the planning functions from conception to monitoring and evaluation.
- Can you articulate DHR&A contributions to the successful operation of the Authority?
In the affairs of management of an organization, there are key or broadly defined two resources: the human resources and the material resources. But key among all resources is human beings. There is nothing you can do without personnel. Nothing can actually be achieved without human being or human resources. For the ability to obtain or maintain suitably qualified workforce and to be able to deliver service, achieve efficient and effective delivery of such service, there are processes and procedures on how to go about it, which is to maintain workforce.
This also includes servicing the workforce in the welfare aspect; that is, their needs, requirements, and statutory packages obtained in the Conditions of Service (CoS) and extant rules. These are what motivate human beings for them to be able to do more at a given time. With pride and point of confidence, I can now say that this organization is one of the organizations that actually take care of its workforce when it comes to welfare, protection of their progression, ensuring creation of succession plan etc. These are the motivators of human beings not necessarily the Naira and Kobo. In this task that we operate, it actually complements all the technical aspects towards ensuring safety, security and economic regulation which are the key banners of the Authority.
Ever since I came on board, though I met things in place, as I told you earlier, the departments are manned by very senior officers who have gained experience over the years and know the operation of NCAA, that has actually made my job much easier, because as a head or director, I am just a coordinating officer. This is how we complement the activities of the other Directorates and of course, service them with qualified workforce to ensure they succeed in implementing the tasks and schedules of their respective Directorates and Departments accordingly.
- Since your appointment as DHR&A, what are the developments you have brought to the department?
I am happy to be humble enough to discuss the issue of achievement because I actually wanted to avoid it. As you know Human Resources and Administration Directorate and/or Department is the engine room of any organisations. And can hardly ever be without one issue or the other to resolve. Under probably eight months I actually came and found out that there are issues in place. One of such issues is issue bordering on staff promotion exercise which I have fast-tracked the issues of promotion exercise. We have successfully conducted the staff promotion exercise at all levels- from junior to the intermediate and to the management cadres. I’m sure most people would have seen the alert in their emolument this year.
Secondly and most importantly, I met some inertia in the aspect of reviewed Conditions of Service (CoS) which has been lingering for ages. With support of my General Managers and of course, the dynamic leadership of the Director General, Capt. Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, we have gone and done some real engagements with our supervising Ministry (Ministry of Aviation), National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC). We progressed to the extent of making some in- road to the Presidential Committee on Salaries that, by the special grace of God, we got was approval which has been communicated to us.
The only thing that is being awaited is the actual package that will come as we have submitted, probably with some amendments if at all; but then the letter didn’t say that there are amendments to be done, it was approved straight away. We are still working towards it to ensure that all that have been reviewed are implemented to the best of our ability without rancor or retaining any parts of it.
Thirdly and importantly, the federal government has approved the Consequential Adjustment (CA) on salaries for all public servants all over the Federation way back in 2019, but for some reasons, there have been delays with the implementation in NCAA. But with the push of the Director General and of course, the concerted efforts of my Directorate together with the Directorate of Finance and Account and collaborative efforts of the staff unions' leaders, we pursued this matter and have successfully gotten CA approved and Iam happy to announce to you that we working to have it implemented forthwith with effect from the month the approval came in.
What are probably maybe outstanding are the arrears but we have done our planning and strategy on how to pay it off. We did not rest on oars, working assiduously to ensure that nobody is shortchanged, either still in-service or out-of-service; everyone will be adequately paid including entitlements of those who may have passed to the great beyond.
Those plans and strategies put in place are to be approved by management, which is the reason why we could not instantly proceed with the payment. We have also gone ahead to ensure that the training for 2022 did not suffer despite the fact that we had some delays in approving our budget this year. Though the approval came very late, we have vowed and given some assurances to management that this year, despite the delay, we intend to achieve more than 60%-70% implementation of both local and foreign trainings. You all are living witnesses that it has started in earnest and we have been implementing accordingly. By God’s grace, our target in the Directorate is beyond 80%. However, we leave it to all of us to comply with the policies and programmes of training to ensure that we achieve that.
Other achievements include ensuring industrial harmony. We succeeded in doing that through continuous engagement with the workers' unions, discussing issues of employees’ welfare, training, satisfaction and performance. As soon as I came, I think we have met with the unions not less than 10 times just to ensure that we have industrial harmony without any break in operations. Even when there were some issues regarding elections in one of the unions, we waded in quickly and resolved it. The issue about delays in the approval of Consequential Adjustment (CA) was also discussed with not just the unions but the general staff. And it was resolved amicably because we constantly bring back information on the progress being made in that respect. This is also part of our achievement towards ensuring peaceful coexistence in the organization.
Additionally, we succeeded in making basic work tools available within the limits of the budget because we cannot go beyond our budgetary allocation. We didn’t just stop at local and foreign trainings; we also approved trainings for either in-service or training with pay for staff that fulfills the necessary conditions as provided by the guidelines of our training policy. We have no objection whatsoever than to approve it so that they proceed to pursue their careers. There are so many other issues that we have been able to achieve within my stewardship in NCAA. In fact, I made it mandatory for the Directorate to meet every month; it is a directorate meeting for all of us to understand what is going in different Departments under the DHR&A.
I also created a social welfare package entailing contribution towards the welfare of the staff of my Directorate as it has been my tradition in every ministry I go. It is strictly within the directorate but anyone who gets to know about it and likes it can adopt it for their own directorate. These are some of the achievements so far and of course we are poised to think outside the box and be creative in our journey in the provision of service.
- Sir, Conditions of Service (CoS) is very pivotal to staff as it borders on their welfare. What is the present status and what are new key components to expect?
We quite understand that this thing (CoS) has been lingering for like six years now, but then again we want to be humble as Administrative Officers. We want you people to feel our presence without us mentioning it; in other words, we don’t want to praise ourselves or verbalize it. We just want our impact to be felt. Having said that, we have gone out of our ways by moving from the Ministry to the Office of the Head of Service, to National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, to the Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and of course, to the newly constituted Presidential Committee on Salaries pressing one button or the other.
We didn’t just sit in this office doing nothing; we kept moving and pushing until, by God’s grace, the matter went to Federal Executive Council where it was approved as recommended. When we got it, we immediately wrote to the Ministry asking for authorization to commence implementation. However, we really have to play safe; that is why we have to wait for approval, and we are not stopping there. We have to keep pressing so that we can get the Document (CoS) stamped in order to commence implementation exactly from the date we get the approval.
- Staffers are agitated over delay in the conveyance, approval and payment of Consequential Adjustment. What is the state of affairs now?
I think this has been overtaken by event. We have moved beyond that.
- How does your Directorate ensure adequate provision of working tools and equipment in all our offices?
The Directorate ensures that inventory is taken from time to time and adequate provisions are made in the budget annually.
- What are the criteria for employment into NCAA? What does it take to confirm a new staff and on what grounds can such confirmation be denied or delayed?
The mode of entry into the Authority’s workforce is captured in the provisions of Section 3.3.1 of the NCAA Conditions of Service (COS) and 020206 of the Public Service Rule (PSR). Potential employee must possess the educational qualification stated in the NCAA Scheme of Service; must be at least 18 years old and not more than 50. Such a person must be ready to serve NCAA in any parts of Nigeria or the world and must not have been previously dismissed from any government service. Also, such a person should not have prior conviction of any criminal offence.
A staff gets confirmed exactly one (1) year after the date of first appointment into NCAA. This is in tandem with NCAA staff Conditions of Service. However, this is not automatic as the staff is required to have performed to satisfaction during the probationary period and passed the confirmation assessment. An employee’s confirmation can be deferred or denied, if his/her performance is found to be unsatisfactory within the one year probationary period. However, the deferment cannot exceed one year.
- In the past, new employees are meant to undergo induction training to acquaint them with the rudiments of the industry. Sir what is your Directorate doing to revive this laudable initiative?
Induction ensures that employees integrate well into the system which is to the benefit of both the employer and employee. It enables the new staff understand more about the organisation and its workings. It also gives him/her opportunity to meet other newly recruited colleagues. We consider it as good HR practice so it cannot be jettisoned. Once the on-going recruitment exercise is concluded, induction will be carried out accordingly.
- What is your evaluation of the entire NCAA workforce with regards to discharging their duties since your assumption if office?
I have been opportune to interact with general staff in Lagos, Abuja and some of the regions including Abuja and Kano Regional Offices and Kano regional offices. What is remaining for me to do is to conclude with Port Harcourt and Kaduna Regional Offices. But On account of my engagement and interaction with a large numbers of staff, I have come to realize that there is a happy workforce in place. I realized that the Directorates have never denied them whatever they are eligible to. Again from my interaction also, I see people that are knowledgeable of their basic schedules and that make it a lot easier for you be able to achieve your objectives as provided by the mission and vision of the Authority.
Iam also pleased to inform you that as a result of the issue of consequential adjustment, we have had several engagements with unions' executives both the National and the Branch on several occasions, and I can assure you that all issues raised regarding staff welfare were catered for within the ambit of the law. NCAA staffers are a group of disciplined people, even though there may be moles but on a greater percentage, we have workforce that knows its onion, and I pray and hope that throughout my tenure we will keep complementing each other without any issues to worry about. I am happy with the staff generally.
- What is your Directorate doing to review operation of staff bus services?
Management is assiduously working to resolve and activate the staff bus services in the system in both the corporate headquarters and the regions.
- There are some senior officers like General Managers (GMs) without official vehicle. What is the plan towards addressing this?
Management is very much aware of the delay in the allocation of official vehicles to eligible senior management staff; hence, all efforts to ensure this is achieved without further delay are in progress. Actually, the delay in the 2022 budget approval is fundamental here.
- The Public Relations Department is proposing NCAA customized dress for staff on special events as practiced in our sister agencies. What is your opinion about this?
It is a laudable venture and Iam not opposed to it. However, I will like to task PR Department to come up with modalities towards achieving the objective.
- What is the rationale behind not conducting staff promotion exercise as and when due?
The Directorate of Human Resources & Administration (DHR&A) strives to conduct the promotion examinations from both junior & senior staff early. However, a lot of factors such as approval of budget, securing approval of supervising Ministry, approval of the Management, putting in place required logistics, determination of vacancies and other administrative procedures play major roles in the timing of the promotion exercise. However, we have come up with some proactive measures to forestall some of these identified encumbrances.
- What role does the Ministry of Aviation play during promotion exercise?
The Ministry plays supervisory role during the promotion exercise for Management staff while they are purely involved to observe the process of promotion for levels 13 and below.
- Sir, Training and retraining is NCAA’s annual major projects. Is there any provision for local and foreign trainings this year?
Yes, indeed training and retraining is an integral part of 2022 projects. The aviation industry as you know is dynamic. Hence, training and retraining is very important to address the global changes in the aviation industry. Training and retraining have been one of the key components of the Management’s initiative to ensure that we are above those we regulate. The implementation of 2022 local and foreign training is ongoing
- NCAA has reduced paper work with the introduction of the NCAA HR portal? What is the level of compliance?
The Director General’s vision is to operate a paperless system; hence, the drive for the HR portal. Now employees can apply for annual leave online and also view their pay slips on the portal. The level of compliance so far is about 65%. As an organisation, we will always strive for continuous improvement so we hope the level of compliance will increase to 80% and above.
- Sir, transfer of staff to NCAA Corporate Headquarters in Abuja appears to have dropped. Can you shed light on this development?
The transfer of staff to the NCAA Corporate Headquarters is being carried out in phases. This is due to various factors such as office space and manpower requirements and above all, budgetary provision.
- Is management still implementing part 11.2.1 of the Conditions of Service (COS) which provides opportunity for staff to go on study leave with pay? If yes, how many approvals have been granted in recent times?
The Management of NCAA has always and will continue to support staff who desire to pursue continuous professional development that will not only enhance the officer’s career progression but will also add value to the Authority. We have so far granted approval to all staff that met all the necessary requirements both within and outside the country. From January to date, we have approved all applications that met requirements as provided by Policy on training.
- Unlike what we see in other government establishments, ghost staff syndrome appears to be alien to NCAA. What measures did your Directorate take to achieve this?
The two measures that we have adopted to curb the ghost staff syndrome include personnel audit and staff verification exercise carried out annually. In addition to this, the introduction of the HR portal has also made it extremely difficult for ghost workers to exist within the system.
- What are those challenges you are facing in sustaining your Directorate’s vital role to the NCAA.
One of the major challenges we have is inadequate work tools and office accommodation in all our locations which management has been making efforts to address from time to time. Also, HR is always perceived as people with sadistic tendencies, though erroneously. Our staffers sometimes face antagonism from fellow staff, particularly when policies do not favour such staff. What the staff needs to understand is that HR functions are guided by extant rules and circulars of government.
The rate of turnover in the Authority, particularly among staff of the Flight Standard Group (FSG) calls for concern. It is about the biggest challenge we are facing in sustaining our Directorate’s vital role to the NCAA. The professionals who have been trained by the Authority with millions of Naira both locally and overseas are daily being hijacked by the airlines with a better pay. It is heart rendering, I must admit.
- What is your Directorate doing to motivate staffers who have been exceptional in the discharge of their duties? Is there any plan for staff award?
Currently, we issue letter of commendation to appreciate the staff that have performed exceptional in the discharge of their duties, though without any financial benefit included. However, there is provision for it in the COS which is a good signal that it will come alive soon.
- Does DHR & A still prepare yearly action plan for NCAA and how has it helped to chart a steady course towards realization of the Authority’s goals?
I will answer your question by first explaining the concept of an Action Plan and how the DHR&A, through the Department of Corporate Affairs, collate the different Action Plans submitted by the different Directorates/Departments/Units of the Authority into a single document referred to as an Action Plan and how this initiative has led to the steady realization of the Authority’s goals and objectives. The Action Plan is the document that states the sequence of steps to be taken in carrying out the different activities to achieving the set objectives/goals of the Directorates/Department/Units, including the resources that will be needed to achieve the set objectives and goals within a specified timeline.
The Corporate Affairs Department of the DHR&A collates all the Action plans submitted by all the Directorates/Department/Units into a single document which now form the overall Action Plan of the Authority. At the end of every month, activities/notable achievements of the various Directorates/Departments/Units are submitted to the Corporate Affairs Department for analysis and evaluation in line with the Action Plan either submitted to determine if pre-determined goals and objectives are being met.
From the analysis and evaluation of the activities and notable achievements, observations, suggestions and necessary recommendations are made to the Management when lapses are observed. This practice has kept the various Directorates/Department/Units on their toes and has helped to chart a steady course towards the realization of the Authority’s goals and objectives.
- There has been remarkable industrial harmony in the Authority, how has your Directorate contributed to this?
The Directorate of Human Resources was able to maintain industrial harmony by making sure that there is a friendly and cooperative agreement on working relationships between employers and employees for their mutual benefit through cordial relationship with the various unions' leadership in the Organization; timely intervention on any dispute in the system; maintaining good communication between the employees and the Management; meeting the needs of staff as and when due; prompt payment of staff allowances, salaries and other benefits; provision of healthcare services for staff; ensuring job security; training and re-training of staff; and good welfare system for the entire staff.
- NCAA does not celebrate retiring staff. What is your plan to change this trend?
This is part of our plans in the Directorate of Human Resources & Administration and Iam honestly working towards extending it to the Authority.
- What legacies would you like to leave behind?
I want to touch human life positively, create a good succession plan for people to grow in the system.
- What is your general philosophy about life, sir?
My philosophy in Public Service all along is how to touch somebody’s life positively and indiscriminately. That is why wherever I go, including the Presidential Villa, I had to create that welfare package, even though I don’t know if they have been sustaining it or not after I left. I try as much as possible not partake in it because it was mainly for the younger ones. I can tell you for free that someone in one of those Ministries I have been to still remember me till today. He always says I saved his life through the introduction of that package, but I usually remind him that it was God that saved him, not me.
Touching lives positively, creating succession plan for people to grow and excel in their chosen careers for betterment of humanity; these are my philosophy in life. Meanwhile, don’t forget the popular saying that says ‘if you are planning for a season you plant crops, if you are planning for a decade you plant trees, and if you are planning for life, you train and educate human beings. This is my idea and legacy I want to leave behind so that people can succeed and grow the same way I succeeded others. I do not only believe very strongly in it but also I practice it.
- How do you unwind a hard day’s job, sir?
You know life is transient; when you are in a position, ensure you build and develop others. In my personal unwinding time, I rest, socialize, watch Television, and play with my grandchildren because I love the way they (kids) think. Despite the fact that I’m getting old, I don’t want it to reflect in me, I still feel Iam young at heart. So, I travel, and rest, Iam ever willing to be a servant to my organization and the country at large.
By a way of closing, I want to thank your team for this wonderful opportunity.