Former Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA), Prof Seidu Onailo Mohammed has tackled his predecessor and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Senator Ajayi Borroface over his comments on past employment methods by his successors.
Speaking during the 2020 Space Dialogue Conference recently in Abuja, Senator Borroface, who was the pioneer director general of the Agency, blamed low performance by the Agency on recruitment of non-space experts.
However, reacting to the allegations on Wednesday in Abuja, Prof Mohammed said he was not surprised by the comments credited to the Senator who he claimed, is noted for weeping up religious and ethnic sentiments during his time in the Agency.
The Professor of Remote Sensing and GIS said the employment done under his watch as the head of the agency followed due process and conformed with the federal character principle, adding that the Senator’s comments were laced with envy as his successors out performed him.
“I disassociate myself from the statement credited to the professor. Under my watch all employment reflected federal character with approvals from concerned authorities and best international practices. The professor was not specific in his allegation. As an elder he should have been bold enough to state his case without prejudice.
“I took over from him a workforce of over a thousand and after 11 years and establishing seven advance labs and several centres, we employed additional manpower of less than 2000 within those years. And during those 11 years we launched successfully under my leadership and four satellites. I took over from him with six PhDs for the purpose of research as at the time I left, there were 204 PhDs holders, while about 70 were undergoing their programmes in reputable institutions across the world before I exited in the bid to lay a solid foundation for research.
In light of that the International Academy of Astronautics and Astronautical Federation not only described the National Space and Research Development Agency as not only the leading light in Africa but also in the developing world. The same Borroface who praised us during the commissioning of our project in 2019 has turned around and coming out with different stories.
“He is not an authority in the area of space science, he is a professor of zoology playing politics which is purely scientific matter and as an elder, he shouldn’t be weeping up religious and ethnic sentiments and rivalry at the Agency.
“He talked about the 25 years roadmap being distorted and many people will laugh at him. I as the pioneer technical secretary of the advisory committee that came up with the roadmap for development projected the roadmap ending in 2030 with funding of over $5 billion but with the global recession and a budget of about $8 million, it was impossible for the roadmap to be kept. We are not magicians but scientists and therefore his comments should not be taken seriously.”