Why NASRDA ranks among Nigeria’s best agencies

Dr. Ahmad Halilu Shaba
The National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA, is enjoying a new lease of life and good public perception. Thanks to the reforms orchestrated, formulated and implemented by the present Director-General of the agency, Dr.Ahmad Halilu Shaba. Perception is said to be everything.The NASRDA, without a doubt, is one of the most ambitious agencies which carries on its shoulders the responsibilities of launching the country into the new age of civilisation through space exploration programmes.

NASRDA is truly enjoying the success story in space technology as the agency is being celebrated as a model for other developing countries due to the reforms introduced by Dr. Shaba, thus changing many of the narratives about the agency and the country’s space programmes. Prior to these reforms, NASRDA was seen as one of the agencies that has not gotten its priorities right due to its many challenges. 

These challenges include the issue of job rackeetering and corruption. The Dr. Shaba led management of NASRDA in its quest to change this undesirable narrative embarked on the difficult but achievable task to first make the internal institutional changes that confronted head-on this hydra headed monster, which was giving the agency a bad image. He initiated reforms that gave the agency the opportunity of clearing the augean stables that had for long domiciled in the agency with job racketering as a norm.

NASRDA is now an agency that has a good public perception worthy of emulation by others in the country when peer reviewed to achieve sustainable development for Nigeria. These institutional reforms introduced at NASRDA by its leadership led by the director general has within a short time made the agency the success story it is today.

The path charted and the successes recorded by the agency have been a source of pride and encouragement to both the staff and other governmental agencies in the country and indeed other brotherly countries in the developing world executing peaceful use of space technology for socio-economic benefits to emulate.

Despite initial poor perceptions due to negative happenings in the agency and the public perception that space science is the preserve of developed countries, the successes of the present management of NASRDA led by Dr. Shaba has today become a source of inspiration and commendation by the citizens who now applaud the activities of the agency. These milestones were achieved by the management of the agency against all odds as many see the positive changing of NASRDA’s image and perception as being akin to squeezing water from stone.

This milestone achieved amidst the agency’s numerous challenges are clear indication that the nation is on course to achieve the goals and objectives of its space programme and the actualisation of its noble goals. Dr. Shaba has changed many of the negativenarratives at NASRDA and he has patroitically become a lesson in leadership reforms and goals actualisation.

His appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to positively transform the agency is a vivid response to the quest by all that our leadership recruitment process must be made right for us to achieve sustainable development. The desire of our President Buhari to have our country as the indisputable leader in the space exploiration programme in Africa has been achieved by NASRDA through the can do leadership of Dr. Shaba. 

Shaba, a professional, is renowmed globally as a man who has what it takes to move the agency forward to be the pride of the nation. Prior to his reforms, Nigeria seemed to have relinquished its leadership in certain fields of space programmes because of the lack of vision of the leadership of the space agency and this obviously has been nipped in the bud with the reforms introduced by Dr. Shaba.

The DG has changed the narratives at NASRDA and has earned accolades through the pragmatic implementation of a set of reforms that have now completely changed people’s perception of NASRDA. For example, the job racketeering conundrum, which made the securing of jobs at the agency a highest bidder’s affair, has been stopped. 

Now employment at the agency is through merit and due proccess. His dogged implementation of this aspect of reform and the reassessment of the reform goals and objectives within the framework of the national space programmes and objectives is worth applauding. The elimination of the job racketeering syndicate at the agency, a cankerworm militating against the engagement of the best manpower that can measure up to the requirements of the work at hand, is also commendable. 

Today, the personnel of the agency understand what it takes to maintain the vision and Nigeria’ s leadership position as mandated by President Buhari. This understanding has positive and direct bearings in the selection of the national objectives of the space programmes. The reforms at the agency are pragmatically and systematically implemented with the understanding that Nigeria must be pre-eminent in all areas and discipline of its national space programmes.

The turn around in NASRDA is because the driver of the reforms understands that the broad spectrum of space activities and the increasing number of space fairing nations in Africa have made it virtually impossible for Nigeria to relent. Shaba believes that to be an effective leader in africa’s space field requires desterity. Nigeria has the capability to act independably and impressively when and where it chooses. The aim is to make NASRDA capable of inspiring its citizens and other countries to move swiftly and to determine its priorities and make conscious choices to pursue set objectives. This has restored Nigeria’s leadership status in Africa, thanks to Dr. Shaba.

Today, those conversant with the activities of NASRDA have positive view of the agency as, according to statistics, eight of every 10 Nigerians are now favourably disposed to its activitics while only 2 two percent are lukewarm. Although NASRDA has not yet sent its own shuttle into space, the reforms introduced by its management has made the NASRDA the best managed agency in Nigeria.

The loud applause the agency is getting is also because Nigerians now feel its impact directly and they also believe it is essential that the country continues to lead Africa in space exploration activitics because of the benefits derivable from it.

The reforms introduced by the new management has changed the agency’s mission in the world of space positively, its funding needs have relatively also been perfect since the introduction of these reforms by the DG. NASRDA has becomed a perfect share of the federal government outlays. Nigerians now feel more than ever before that the funding of space activities by the government is good investment by the country.

NASRD has also created a space TV, and under the able leadership of Dr. Shaba, the agency will continue to seek answers to some of the mysteries in science as it evolves with a changing world. The new NASRDA is reflecting the changing values of the Nigerian society. In response to public opinion, it has encouraged all kinds of technological innovations and gathering vital data on Nigeria’s climate.

The agency’s main aspiration remains the same: explore all corners of space to expand our knowledge of the universe. This, the agency is doing perfectly on behalf of Nigerians.

Wada writes from Abuja via [email protected]
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