Contrary to the claim by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Garba Shehu, that Alhaji Ahmed Ahmed that was appointed to replace Comrade Tar Ukoh as Artistic Director of the National Troupe was until his appointment, “the Bauchi State Director of Culture”, investigation has revealed that Alhaji Ahmed retired in 2019 as an Assistant Director in the Ministry of Culture and was never the Director of Culture in Bauchi State .
Investigation also revealed that a send off party was held for Ahmed in 2020 and according to a source at the Bauchi State Ministry of Culture “Ahmed was purely an admin staff who rose through the ranks until he retired in 2019. So he was not our director of culture. In fact, the fellow he retired under as assistant director is still serving as the director. I think they just made the claim to qualify him for the job,” our source added.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday approved the reappointment of the following chief executive officers for another term of four years: Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Mr Folorunso Coker, Director-General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB). President Buhari had in the statement conveying the re-appointment and signed by Mallam Garba Shehu approved the appointment of Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed as the Chief Executive Officer /Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria.
According to Shehu, Alhaji Ahmed was until his appointment, Director of Culture in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Bauchi State.
Observers believe that both the Minister of Culture, Lai Mohammed, who recommended Alhaji Ahmed and President Buhari who approved the appointment may have been misled to believe that Alhaji Ahmed was truly a serving Director of Culture. “But he is not. He retired in 2019 and the man retired as an admin staff with no known achievement in the area of performing arts of which he was appointed to. One had thought that whoever that was going to replace Ukoh would be somebody who will lift the troupe from the near state of death that Ukoh had plunged the Troupe. Not someone who will further nail the coffin that the former director had prepared for the Troupe ” a source lamented.
In the meantime, staff of the Troupe who looked forward to the appointment of someone from within the establishment to succeed Ukoh whose tenure they still hold as “a disaster” say they receieved the news of the appointment of Alhaji Ahmed with mixed feeling. One of them reacted thus: “mixed feeling because first we were happy that Tar Ukoh has gone for good so even if our accountant was appointed to replace him we would have been happy. But now we are not sure if to continue to be happy because from what we gather, it may be another four years of a round peg in a square hole. This is not a job you give to reward friends. It is a highly professional job and apart from administrative skills, you need to be grounded in the performing arts. We pray Mallam Ahmed will not be another round peg In a square hole. We really pray not”.