Another stage has been set for the traditional top level lobbying at the Nigeria Customs Service as the incumbent Comptroller General, Dr Bernard Shaw Nwadialo bows out of the service in another one week, precisely on August 16 when he would have clocked 60 years.
But, unlike in the past when the lobbying became so brazen, fierce and without caution, the impending change of guard has been down played because of what insider sources explained as the involvement of the three-man presidential task force on Customs Reforms.
The incumbent Customs boss had served his notice of intention to retire from service (as reported exclusively by Shipping Position Weekly) about three months ago and since then factions loyal to his likely successors have been oiling their machineries.
Dr Nwadialo was born on August 16, 1949, which makes him 60 years on August 16, 2009 even though he joined the Nigeria Customs Service in 1988 as a deputy controller. He was appointed acting Comptroller General on Jan, 15, 2009, but was confirmed as a full-fledged Comptroller General on March 25, 2009.
The lobbyists are divided between those who want the new Comptroller General to come from the rank of deputy comptrollers general and those who are clamouring for the emergence of Nwadialo’s successor form the rank of assistant comptrollers general. There is yet another force which is clamouring for a complete sweep of the top echelon to pave way for the new Customs boss to emerge from the rank of comptrollers.
But our source disclosed that in as much as the Dr Bello Mohammed-led task force is favourably disposed to emergence of a thoroughbred professional as new helmsman, political consideration, federal character and closeness to the Presidency may be the over riding factors.
Shipping Position Weekly was told last week that since the task force has been performing the functions of the board of Nigeria Customs Service, it may have been saddled with the responsibility of selecting the new Comptroller General.
But a source also cautioned against throwing up the names of some officers, saying that the service has in the immediate past witnessed the emergence of officers considered as under dogs.
He pointed at the emergence of Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Mustapha (who is a member of the task force) in 1999, the appointment of his successor, Elder Jacob Gyang Buba (the incumbent Gbon Gwon Jos) and the emergence of Alhaji Hamman Bello Hammed who succeeded Buba, as pointers to the possibility of a least expected senior officer clinching the juicy position.