• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Tinubu’s appointment of son-in-law to head FHA: Here’s what stakeholders say

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President Bola Tinubu’s appointment of his son-in-law, Oyetunde Ojo, as the managing director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has been drawing flaks from Nigerians, especially housing sector stakeholders, since after the announcement.

Tinubu appointed Ojo alongside Shehu Osidi who is to head the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN). The appointments, according to presidency sources, is part of the reconstitution of the executive management teams of parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Though government apologists say it is the first time since taking power last May that Tinubu has appointed a relative to his government, housing stakeholders have faulted the president’s action, describing it as naked nepotism that was the stock-in-trade of failed previous administrations.

“Oyetunde Oladimeji Ojo is married to President Tinubu’s eldest daughter, Folashade. We are told that Ojo was appointed on merit, having over a decade of work experience in the housing and hospitality industries, but there are so many professionals more qualified for the position than the president’s son-in-law,” an estate developer, who pleaded anonymity, noted.

According to the developer, “after the dire consequences of nepotism in past administrations in this country, one had expected that appointing a son-in-law or any relative for that matter to head a critical housing agency such as FHA should be President Tinubu’s last consideration.”

BBC News at the weekend highlighted some of the negative comments that have trailed the appointment, quoting someone who posted on his X saying, “blatant nepotism is a leadership weakness; it’s unfortunate Nigerian leaders don’t see it as a form of ethical failure.”

Olufunso Adebayo, a real estate market advisor and consultant, noted in a phone interview with BusinessDay that FHA is not an agency that should be treated with the kind of appointment the president has made for its managing director, explaining that the housing authority has low performance burden on its shoulders.

“If for anything, the FHA needs an experienced housing professional to turn its fortunes around. In the last 50 years of its existence, FHA’s performance has been sub-optimal. It needs someone who will make it truly a housing delivering agency of government, not a favoured child that will handle it like a family business,” he said.

Adebayo noted that in its 50 years of building houses for Nigeria, FHA has been able to deliver only 50,000 housing units which angered the housing and urban development minister, Ahmed Dangiwa, to a point where he charged the authority to “wake up” from sleep.

The minister, who spoke at the 50th anniversary of the authority in Abuja late last year, said the anniversary should be a moment of sober reflection for the management and staff of the agency, and all housing stakeholders.

“Records show that FHA has only delivered a cumulative of just over 50,000 housing units. That shows an average of 1,000 houses per year in 50 years. This is not acceptable, especially from Nigeria’s foremost housing agency that has so many institutional advantages that it can leverage to deliver more results,” he said

He recalled that during a Shelter Afrique EGM in Algeria, he discovered from his engagements with the Algerian Government that an Agency like the FHA delivers between 400,000 and 1million houses annually.

“In fact, in a particular year, that Agency delivered 1,060,000 houses. This underscores the need for FHA to aggressively upscale its delivery capacity,” he said.

Adebayo stated that how this vision or agenda setting for the housing sauthority is going to resonate with a son-in-law at the helm of affairs remains a matter of conjecture, hoping that it won’t be another long trek to growth for the sector going forward.