DRAMA ensued when Zaheera Baba-Ari, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) could not recall the market price of commodities while presenting 2021 budget defence before the Senate Committee on Public Procurement.
A two-minute video which was captured by Oak TV shows NCX boss defending the 2021 defence budget before the Senate Committee.
At the hearing, Senator Tolu Odebiyi representing Ogun West Senatorial district who is a member of the Senate Committee on Public Procurement during a question and answer session asked Baba-Ari to provide the market prices of commodities in her budget defence.
“Can you give me an idea or a price range of the price of commodities in the document?” he queried.
Baba-Ari could not provide an answer, saying she could not give the cost of some of the commodities because the prices changed daily.
Odebiyi interrupted Baba-Ari when she said she could also not give estimates of the prices because she said the data on commodity prices across the country were usually delivered to her on a weekly basis as she tried to solicit assistance from her aide.
“I’m talking to you madam. No, no, no, no. I’m telling you, give me an idea as an MD of the commodity exchange you should know, you should have an idea,” Odebiyi said.
MD of Commodities Exchange Commission does not know the price of any commodity. This is how they keep disgracing Nigeria and Nigerians with quota system and cronyism. pic.twitter.com/LQKzwprXi4
— EMEKA AMAKEZE (@EmekaAmakeze) November 12, 2020
Responding to the enquiry, Baba-Ari could not provide prices for cocoa, soya and cashew prices which was on her 2021 proposed budget defence.
“You may not have today’s pricing but you should be able to say this is the price of cocoa…but the feeling I am getting is that you don’t even know and you’re the MD of the company
“It shows how much interest you have in what you’re doing. It’s not just running the administrative functions of that estate it is about been informed how do you interact with people if somebody just comes up to you, you should have an idea,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved the renewal of appointment of Baba-Ari as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, CEO of the NCX for a second and final term of four years.
Baba-Ari joined NCX in 1999 as the Exchange’s pioneer Manager and Head of Human Resources and Corporate Services department from EkoCorp Plc where she was head of Corporate Affairs.
She holds a Masters Degree in Language Arts and Communication from the University of Ibadan in 1983 and a Bachelors degree in English from the University of Maiduguri in 1981.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.