By Esther Alexander
Reactions have continued to trail the appointment of 25-year-old Ibrahim Imam, the new chairman of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Following his appointment, most of the professionals in the construction industry who are prominent members of the Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN) Group are not in support. According to those who disagreed with the appointment, the newly appointed chairman of FERMA lacks the experience and expertise to chair a very strategic organization that will put Nigeria’s roads in better shape.
Some asked whether the young man had ever attended any board meeting before.
While a few experts supported the appointment, noting that the time has come to let the youth participate in the running of government, others have a different opinion.
For many, experience and expertise are needed to be chairman and he should have been considered only as a member of the board.
See Reactions Below:
“I always feel pained when I’m compelled to partake in what appears to be an idle or a needless controversy. Undoubtedly, this young man holds significant promise, given his sterling academic qualifications. However, this appointment is way above his pay grade. Clearly, he doesn’t have the breadth and depth of technical, governance, and leadership capabilities and experience that the role requires.
“We may try to justify the appointment by whatever argument, but the truth is that he can NEVER get this appointment in a competitive selection that provides a level playing field for other equally brilliant engineers with robust leadership and governance capabilities”.
“The future no doubt belongs to the youth and I am all for promoting the youth”.
“But frankly I must say that being asked to Chair the board of a critical Agency as your very first board appointment having never served on a board of any kind if that is the case, is pushing the envelope”.
“Absolutely, we must give our kids opportunities to lead. Being a digital native and having exceptional skills are very useful but at the highest level of national strategic leadership responsibility one needs more than untested exceptional skills”.
“You don’t start life from the top. At this stage he ought to serve and learn under a master, he takes off to the top. It’s completely wrong”.
“This is unacceptable. The position of a chairman is not for an inexperienced person. It calls for wisdom, knowledge, and experience to navigate, and maneuver the boardroom politics, and arrive at meaningful decisions. I am disappointed”.
“There should be other ways to compensate party loyalists”.
Imam holds a first-class bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in engineering business management from the University of Sussex. Prior to his appointment, he served as a special assistant to Dave Umahi, the minister of works.
His Father, Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, is a Nigerian Politician. He ran for Borno state governor as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in 2003 and 2007, losing to Ali Modu Sheriff from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) both times.
FERMA is an agency of the Federal Government which is concerned with road construction, improvement, and connectivity between the States of Nigeria. It is to efficiently and effectively monitor and administer road maintenance with the objective of keeping all federal roads in good and safe conditions. The agency is under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Work.