Advancement Of Postal Service In West Africa Sub-Region: The Challenge Of Mori Baba Led NIPOST


Emeka Oraetoka



At the last Universal Postal Union (UPU) meeting held in Bucharest, Romania, in 2004, Nigeria for the first time in history was elected into UPU Council as a member. Further, the International Bureau of the UPU recognized Nigeria as a bench marks for mail circulation in West-Africa sub-region. The recognition took into account of NIPOST success in improving mail transit time in a country regarded as the largest in Africa, where the use of modern technology for mail processing is still relatively low. Of particular interest here is a key issue in the communiqué issued at the end of the Bucharest meeting: “It was the adoption of a series of resolutions highlighting the need to improve security, combat terrorism, and money laundering through the use of mail network”.


The consolidation of the leadership role of Nigeria Postal Service in West-Africa sub-region, under Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba, the Post Master General of NIPOST, perhaps informed the acknowledgment by both Pan African Postal Union [PAPU] and Universal Postal Union [UPU] of the untiring effort being made by Mori Baba led management at steering the postal affairs in Africa diligently. It was therefore, in recognition of the efficient manner in which the NIPOST under Mori Baba has been handling the assigned responsibility from UPU, which has resulted in Nigeria retaining the prestigious position of Chairman Finance Committee of UPU as well as elected member, Advisory Committee of PAPU administrative council despite having served in these capacities before. Observers in Postal industry in Africa have attributed the current patronage of Nigeria by the world regulatory bodies to the pioneering efforts of the Late Post Master General, Mallam Argungu and now the redoubling of these efforts on the part of the current PMG of the establishment, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba.


Having appointed in acting capacity and followed closely the comportment of Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba in NIPOST, the President Olusegun Obasanjo led Federal Government, deemed it appropriate to handover this organization to Mori Baba, for five (5) years, not long ago, having probably felt satisfied with his leadership ability in the establishment. As part of the consolidation of the gains of UPU recognition and the assigned role to Mallam Mori Baba led Nigerian Postal Service [NIPOST], and probably the realization of the strategic importance of the role of NIPOST in the advancement of Postal Service in the West Africa sub-region, that the Federal Government through Nigeria Postal Service [NIPOST], donated performance enhancement gadgets to the Postal Administration of the Republic of Niger. These materials include: Three Sets Of Computers, Two Fax Machines, One Photocopying Machine and a Weighing Scale.


While presenting the items at the Embassy of the Republic of Niger in Abuja, on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Communication, Engr (Dr.) Obafemi Anibaba, on the 29th of November, 2006, the Postmaster General of the Federation, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba, said that the items were to assist the Nigerian post in enhancing its operations especially in the exchange of data and information between it and other postal administrations within West African sub-region.


Postal experts are of the view that the gesture would further cement the cordial relationship existing between Nigeria and Niger Republic. If the items are properly utilized; it would go a long way in improving the services of Nigerien Postal Service. Nigerien Ambassador in Nigeria, Moussa Elhadji Ibrahim, while thanking the postmaster General, acknowledged the big brother role NIPOST has been playing in the sub-region. Ambassador Ibrahim commended the leadership role of President Olusegun Obasanjo in the sub-region and Africa in general.


This Federal Government gesture to Niger Republic’s Postal Service, through NIPOST has confirmed that Nigerian Postal Service [NIPOST] is a vital agency of the Federal Government. It has also confirmed that the reform in NIPOST is aimed at commercialization it, not privatization as erroneously believed by the Bureau of Public Enterprise [BPE]. This effectively placed NIPOST in the league of establishments like: Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Radio Corporation (FRCN), and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), just to mention but few. These outfits, apart from being core government agencies, they are to a certain extent, self accounting. They cannot however, be privatized in view of their strategic National importance. For NIPOST, the resolutions at the 23rd UPU meeting in 2004 in Bucharest, eloquently explained its National importance anywhere, security wise.


Government has by through NIPOST’s donation of performance enhancing items to its Nigerien counterpart, clearly shown that it is alive to its responsibility and responsive to the fundamental principle behind the establishment of NIPOST – Facilitating Communication Amongst Peoples and Nations. Above all, Federal Government has through this donation to Nigerien Postal Service, sent a massage or so it seem, to the authorities in Bureau of Public Enterprise [BPE] that indeed, there was error of judgment on their part in the concession of NIPOST  in the exercise at Apapa Wharf.


Pronouncement:  It is expected that NIPOST would use the opportunity of this donation, to inform the Federal Government that the International Postal Treaty to which Nigeria is signatory, that stipulates the existence of Postal Outlets in all International Airports and Seaports, would have been violated if the concessionaries of the Apapa Wharf should carry out its threat of ejecting NIPOST at the NPA ground. I think the earlier NIPOST and the parent ministry, seek audience with the Chief Security Officer of Nigeria, President Olusegun Obasanjo on this matter [The Threat Of Ejection of NIPOST From The Warf], the better; in view of the fact that the National Council of Privatization [NCP], the policy formulation organ of the privatization programme remained dissolved and Government has not appointed any organ to oversee the activities of BPE.


Emeka Oraetoka,

Information Management Consulant,

Wrote in from Abuja.