X-raying the changing Narrative in FAAN under Capt. Yadudu and his Dream team

Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu assumed office as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) in May, 2019, as an insider – one steeped in the tradition, philosophy and culture of the organization that is charged with the responsibility of managing the federal government’s 24 airports spread across the country, through provision of critical infrastructure, as well as provision of security and safety. An experienced pilot, he was, until the appointment, the organization’s Director of Operations.

At the time the FAAN helmsman assumed office, the nation’s airports were in various stages of infrastructure decay, with dilapidated structures, obsolete or worn-out facilities, like conveyor belts that were either not functional or performing minimally; porous airports (some without perimeter fencing and lighting), which undermined security of facilities, aircraft, passengers and property. The organization was neck deep in debt, with agreements and concessionaires that were largely not honoured.

The Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the nation’s main aviation gateway which used to be a national pride, was an eyesore, with pictures and videos of licking roofs any time it rained regularly appearing on the internet. The sorry state of the organization expectedly had a negative effect on staff morale that was at its lowest ebb.

There was also the issue of poor revenue, due to the fact that FAAN depended almost exclusively on foreign airlines operating in the country for income to meet its objectives and obligations. This was against the background of a local aviation industry that has continued to wobble along, no thanks to a myriad of problems that include mismanagement, poor corporate governance and high debt profiles that have seen airlines either taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria or go into extinction.

The revenue profile of FAAN was so bad the total revenue from the nation’s airports for a period of about three years was not up to N100 billion – an amount experts say should have been coming from one airport. The amount, according to aviation experts, was not even enough to enable the organization to meet its obligation of providing critical services, including maintenance, to meet global aviation standards.

A string of achievements

Yadudu assumed office with a clear vision to improve aviation safety and infrastructure in Nigeria and, by so doing, improve passenger experience in air travel. “My primary vision is to make sure we move our institution which is the aviation sector forward to be at par in terms of performance and functionality with the rest of the world and this involves improving our personnel, facilities, structures, procedures and processes; all aspect of airport operations and management,” he had said.

To say that his tenure has impacted positively on FAAN’s operations, three years down the road, would be tantamount to making a gross understatement. Industry practitioners agree that he has delivered, to a large extent, on his promises. Yadudu considers as his greatest and most significant achievement the Open- Door Policy of FAAN, which has been the catalyst for the development that has taken place in the organization in the last three years. The policy has brought about a higher level of transparency and accountability that was hitherto lacking in the organization, especially in tis human resource system. Among the innovations he has introduced is decentralization of the medical supplies system, which has brought about a higher level of responsiveness and elimination of wastages in regard to expired or unused drugs.

Each airport now has its own elected Staff Welfare Committee. The committees ensure transparency and accountability in distribution of medical supplies, safety, security and environment. There is remarkable improvement in staff welfare, evidenced in the establishment of a scholarship scheme for the sponsorship of the university education of the best five scholars in each of the four aviation administrative regions in the country. This means there are 20 new FAAN scholars each year.

The organization, under his watch, has achieved full automation of the access gate of the Hajj and Cargo Terminal of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, thus bringing order and sanity to the once chaotic environment. The development has also allowed for accountability in the system. Construction work at the Cargo Terminal of the Port Harcourt International Airport has got underway. In the same manner, construction of the perimeter road for security and operations inspection, as well as runway markings at the Margret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, has been in progress. Structures such airline offices, school building, fully-equipped library, computer room, staff quarters and borehole have also been built and commissioned at the airport.

Resumption of international flights by Ethiopian Airlines at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, was achieved after many years of the facility being virtually moribund.

The new terminal at the Lagos airport was recently commissioned, in addition to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lagos State Government for a new airport. Plans have reached advanced stages for the construction of the Alimosho Bypass Project (AABP). A four-phase project, AABP will be constructed to decongest the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.

Yadudu has succeeded in getting four airports in the country to secure health accreditation by the Airports Council International, something that could not be achieved before now. There have been apron expansions at the Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Owerri, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt and Ibadan airports. Other notable achievements in Yadudu’s three-year tenure, so far, include commissioning of the Birds and Wildlife Management Equipment; provision of a new fleet of VIP airside buses and seven units of 100-passenger capacity co-buses, as well as upgrade from SITA to Airlington/RESA Checking System, for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The achievements that have been recorded by FAAN under Yadudu’s leadership cannot be complete without mention of the training of 121 aviation security officers by the organization; certification of FAAN training school for trainer plus programme by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), as well as winning of the ACI-Africa HR Excellence Awards 2021 as Diversity and Gender Equality, Competency Building and Sustainability at the 67th ACI-Africa conference and exhibition that took place in Mombasa, Kenya.

Dream Team

The best proof of managerial competence is ability to harness human and material resources for the achievement of set goals and objectives. In the case of human resources, it is the ability to tap the best individual components to form a team that would work harmoniously to deliver on set targets that stands a manager out.

Yadudu has been able to demonstrate this maxim in the three years he has been on the saddle at FAAN. He has been able to record what is considered in the aviation industry as remarkable achievements because of the management team of seasoned professionals he has had the opportunity of working with. Each manager has brought to the team a track record of performance that has enabled achievement of synergy in the operations of an organization whose role is strategic to the realization of the nation’s objective of an aviation industry that ranks among that best in the world.

The Team

Rabiu Yadudu: Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Rabiu Yadudu, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of FAAN, has a rich background and pedigree that has enabled him to perform the onerous task of running the affairs of Nigeria’s airport managers with a considerable degree of success in just three years. This is not surprising, as his training and entire working life have centred on aviation.

A pilot by training and profession with over 7000 hours of flying time, he holds the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and Federal Airport Authority Airline Transport Pilot Licenses as a captain on the Boeing B-747 aircraft (Kabo Air); Bombardier Learjet 45-XR (Skyjet Aviation) and Cessna Citation Sovereign (CE-680, NEMA). He is an International Airport Professional (IAP) – a qualification he attained through the Global Airports Council International (ACI), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme.

Yadudu received his primary education in Kano, and obtained his secondary education at the Federal Government College, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, before proceeding to the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, in 1993, where he studied and became a licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. He attended the Delta Aeronautics, Fort Worth, Texas, United States, where he obtained his Commercial/Multi-engine Pilot License.

He qualified as Captain on B747 from Pan Am International Flight Academy, Miami, Florida, in June, 2001, before proceeding to the Bombadier Aerospace Training Centre, Dallas, Texas, where he graduated in 2007. He also attended manufacturers training on the Cessna Citation Sovereign at Wichita, Kansas.

Yadudu has attended several international courses on capacity building in all areas of the aviation industry. Some of the courses include Airplanes and Airports: Planning Process and Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as Mohammed VI University, Casablanca, in April, 2019; Airport Security Management Training, by ACI/ICAO, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate, in December, 2018, and Airport Environment Management Training, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in November, 2018.

He began his career in the aviation industry in 1993 with the now defunct Nigeria Airways, as a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics). He joined Kabo Air in 1997 as a Co-pilot on the airline’s B727 aircraft, and progressed to become a Captain on the B747 and, later, Chief Pilot. He was engaged as Deputy Director and Captain on the National Air Ambulance in 2014. Yadudu is married with children.

Sadiku Rafindadi: Director, Commercial and Business Development

Sadiku Rafindadi, Director, Commercial and Business Development at FAAN, graduated from the University of Pittsburg, the United States, with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, in 1985. He holds an MBA in Finance from the Clark Atlanta University, also in the United States, as well as a Certificate in Management Studies from the Kaduna Polytechnic.

He started his career from the lower rung of the ladder as a young officer, rising through the ranks to the top. He had a stint with the Kaduna State Ministry of Finance at the early stages of his career, and held top management positions in reputable organizations, including Phoenix Investment Services and British Petroleum.

Rafindadi’s areas of core competence are business transformation, restructuring and turnaround, integration and growth strategy.

He is married with children.

Engineer Ali Maina: Director of Engineering

Engineer Ali Maina, Director of Engineering, is an experienced aeronautic and civil engineer, having held different distinguished positions in government. He started his career with the Bornu State Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport, Maiduguri, upon completion of the National Youth Service Corps programme in1987, after graduating from the Kaduna Polytechnic.

He obtained a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) from the University of Maiduguri in 1992, while still working with the Bornu State Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport, where he was till 2001, rising to the position of Assistant Chief Civil Engineer before leaving to go into the aviation industry.

In the following years after joining the aviation industry, Maina acquired various trainings in different reputable institutions and organizations around the world, including Singapore, United Kingdom, South Africa, Ireland, the United States and Egypt. He received training in diverse areas such as Airport Systems and Planning, Aerodrome Master Planning, Airport Maintenance, Airport Design and Construction. Other areas are Aerodrome Audit, Airport Certification, Airport Operations, Runway Incursion Evaluation Information, as well as Environmental Planning and Implementation. He also received training in Airport Operational Safety, Safety Management Systems, as well as Aeronautical Studies and Risk Assessment. He holds a certificate in Airport Engineering from the Singapore Aviation Academy.

A thorough-bred airport and aerodrome management professional, Maina received commendation letter from the Federal Ministry of Aviation on Review of Contract Awards by NCAA in 2004. A corporate member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and member of the NCAA Regulations Committee, Maina is married with children.

Nike Aboderin: Director, Finance and Accounts

Nike Aboderin, Director of Finance and Accounts, brought to her current position a rich background in strategic areas of the private and public sectors. She was a Consulting Partner at Novateur Consulting Limited, a financial advisory firm in which she held various senior positions, and also had board appointments. A holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and a Master of Science degree in Banking and Finance from the University, she worked in various financial institutions, including Skye bank Plc, Citibank, Premium Securities Limited and Commerce Bank, in a career that spanned over 20 years. She held top management positions in some of the institutions where she worked.

Aboderin headed the Trading and Manufacturing Desk at Citibank, in the Commercial Banking Unit. She was Group Head, Corporate Banking/Large Corporates at Skye Bank. Her vast experience in the banking industry covered Corporate and Investment Banking, Treasury Services, Private/Personal Banking, as well as Corporate Finance.

She attended post graduate courses in Global Strategic Management (GSM) at the Harvard Business School, United States, and the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) of the Lagos Business School. She also undertook courses in Trade, Investment, Credit, Risk, Treasury, Transaction Banking, Operations, Sales and Marketing.

Aboderin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (FCIB); Certified International Airport Professional, and an Associate Member of Association of National Accountants of Nigeria. She is a motivator and leader, with proficiency in business management and strategic thinking, and is result oriented.

She served as Special Adviser on Trade and Investments to the governor of Ogun State, from 2011 t0 2014. She also served in the Transition Committee of then president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, as Chairperson, Social Issues Sub- Committee in 2015.

Aboderin is married with children, with hobbies that include reading and travelling.

Group Captain Usman Sadiq (Rtd): Director of Security Services

Group Captain Usman Sadiq has the training and experience that make him a round peg in a round hole in his position as Director of Security Services at FAAN. A retired Air Force officer, he has vast experience in the military, as well as intelligence services. Sadiq graduated from the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1984 and started his military career as an Administrative Officer 335 BSG, Kaduna, in 1985. He rose through the ranks to the position of Group Intelligence Officer 330 NAF, Abuja. He was made Commandant of the Nigerian Air Force School of Air Intelligence, NAFSAINT, Makurdi, in 2010, a position he held until 2012.

A Fellow of the National Defence College (fdc), Abuja, Sadiq holds an MSc in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan. He has attended several local and international courses and trainings in various aspects of defence and intelligence.

Some of them are Young Officers Course (YOC) Air Defence, NASA, Kachia, in 1989; Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji, Kaduna; Certificate and Diploma in Strategic Intelligence and Analysis, Bolling AFB, Washington, USA, in 1993; Counter Terrorism Management Course at the International Security Academy, Hetzliya, Israel, in 2006. Prior to joining FAAN, Sadiq had consulted and facilitated for the DERAD Programme of the National Security Adviser as Camp Administrator, at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, between March and November, 2015. He also worked at the Defence Intelligence Agency for several years, rising to the position of Director, Security.

He has several awards to show for his service to his father land, among which are FSS, MSS and DSS. A golf and tennis enthusiast, Sadiq is married with children.

 Norris Anozie: Director, Human Resources

Norris Anozie is the Director, Human Resources. With over 30 years’ experience inhuman resources management, his exposure in start-ups and big organizations equipped him for the task of managing at all levels. His areas of competence include Organizational Development and Training, Policy Development and Compliance, Data Analysis and Recovery, Contract Preparation and Staff Management, as well as Computer Hardware Solutions.

Before joining FAAN, Anozie had worked with several high profile organizations, mostly outside the country. They include, Onward Technologies, Dallas, Texas; Blue Cross Blue Shield, Richardson, Texas; Kelly Services, Dallas, Texas and Computech Inc, Dallas, Texas, all in the United States. He also worked as independent consultant and director to industries such as N&L Brokers, Dallas, Texas, and I Tech Services, Dallas, Texas.

A graduate of the University of North Texas where he obtained a Bachelor degree in Business Administration with major in Economics, Personnel and Industrial Relations, Anozie holds a Certificate in Professional Computer Studies from the North Lake College, Irving, and South Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

He has a vision to see a work environment that values professionals, talent and staff development, while focusing on operations, effectiveness and service.

He is married with children.

Bridget Gold: Company Secretary/Legal Adviser

Bridget Gold, Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State and a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Lagos. She is a successful lawyer and Notary Public, with over 30 years’ experience in Maritime, Company Secretarial Practice, as well as the aviation sector.

Gold cut her legal teeth with the late Chief E.O.A. Idowu, a notable maritime lawyer of is era. She also worked briefly with Mobil Oil Producing on secondment, assisting the general counsel on oil and pollution matters. She has delivered papers at the Nigerian Maritime Law seminars for judges, as well as the Ghana maritime seminar, for judges as well.

She was appointed Secretary to the Board of FAAN in October, 2006, rising to the position of Acting General Manager, Legal Department, in April, 2021, before her current appointment. She is a Chartered Secretary and Administrator, Corporate Governance Specialist, Chartered Leadership and Governance Practitioner, Public Speaker and Chartered Management Consultant. She is also the President, Women in Governance, an International Law Institute Certified Negotiator and Arbitrator, as well as a Media Peace Ambassador. Gold is married with children.

Captain Mukhtar Muye: Director, Airport Operations

Captain Muhktar Muye, Director of Operations, is a well-trained Commercial and Multi-engine Instruments Pilot. Muye, who had a distinguished career in the Nigerian aviation industry before joining FAAN, was before his current.