PTAD Has Restored Hope To Pensioners Sharon Ikeazor

Sharon Ikeazor is Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) Executive Secretary. A lawyer, she was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Presidential Campaign Council. Legal Editor JOHN AUSTIN UNACHUKWU writes on her journey from law practice, pension administration to politics.

Many reasons have been speculated and adduced by political pundits on the rationale behind the appointment of many members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council for the 2019 general elections which was inaugurated by President Muhammedu Buhari in Abuja Last week.

As usual, a lot of public commentators and political analysts have kept pontificating and theorising about the appointment of some qualified members including a seasoned legal practitioner, politician, activist and management consultant Sharon Ikeazor  into the council.

It is worthy of note that though godfatherism is a big factor in our political life, at the same time, qualification and merit cannot be sacrificed for any reason in a critical situation like this when the APC desires nothing but complete victory in the Southeast .

So, the appointment of an achiever like Ikeazor cannot but be applauded as well deserved given the position of the party in the Southeast. Her appointment into the Campaign council to co-ordinate the Southeast is well deserved and placing a round peg in a round hole.

 

Who is Ikeazor?

Sharon Ikeazor was born on August 28, 1961 into the family of Dr. Chimezie Ikeazor (SAN), the Oboli of Obosi in Anambra State and founder of the Free Legal Aid for the Poor in Nigeria.

She started her primary school education at the St. Mary’s Convent School, Lagos. Afterwards, she attended the Queen of The Rosary College, Onitsha and the Godolphin School, Salisbury, England before proceeding to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

As a lawyer, politician, management consultant, philanthropist and social activist, Ikeazor has been a creative problem-solver, who consistently demonstrates passion and excellence in the efficiency, productivity, and quality of her work.

Ikeazor was Vice President for Business Development/Government Relations for a United States Consulting firm, GWI Consulting, she was responsible for providing advisory and consulting services in the Oil and Gas and Energy Sectors in Nigeria and for developing emerging business opportunities in Africa. While at GWI, Sharon was a principal consultant for General Electric (GE) on the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) with the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Prior to joining GWI, Ikeazor worked with Shell Petroleum Development Company as a lawyer and for Fluor Daniel Nigeria as a project coordinator for construction management projects.

Sharon obtained her Bachelor of Law (LL.B Hons) from the University of Benin in 1984 and (BL) from the Nigerian Law School in 1985.

She has had the opportunity to be involved in several start-up and reorganisational projects for both foreign and local companies and is considered as a versatile individual, having worked in Banking/Corporate Finance, Administration/Legal/HR and project monitoring fields

In 2011, she contested and won the position of National Women leader of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

Being a believer in building the capacity of women, she partnered with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the UNDP in the training of Women in Leadership and Political Roles in Nigeria.

With the merger of the three political parties in Nigeria in 2013, she emerged the Interim National Women leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) – a position she held till her appointment to the Board of Trustees of the APC in 2014, a position she holds till today

During her tenure as the APC National Women Leader, Sharon established the APC Young Women’s Forum to mentor and sponsor young female politicians. She has continued to organize and participate in leadership, training and mentoring of young women.

 

Philantropy

Ikeazor runs a prison outreach program that pays the fines of awaiting trial persons and also undertakes free legal representation for some inmates. She founded a non-governmental organization, The Wakiliyan Mata Empowerment Initiative for the Internally Displaced Women, who are given back their dignity by disbursement of interest-free loans to start small scale businesses.

Ikeazor is the Vice President of Women in Politics Forum which she co-founded to build the capacity of female politicians across political lines.

As a firm believer and advocate for the girl-child education, she is sponsoring a number of girls through primary and tertiary education. In 2016 she emerged APC Senatorial Candidate for Anambra Central Zone.

 

Transforming PTAD

Ikeazor was appointed Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) by President Buhari on September 26, 2016.

She has restored hope to the Nigerian Pensioners. Prior to the establishment of the PTAD, the history of pension administration in Nigeria especially as it concerns government pensioners has been nothing to write home about.

In just two years of taking up the challenge of reforming pension administration in Nigeria, she has rightly justified her appointment as a round peg in a round hole given all that has been achieved since she came on board.

Not only has she brought smiles to the faces of pensioners, she has equally created an innovative mind-set for PTAD employees which has given the agency a corporate outlook in all areas of its operation.

Presently, PTAD has 229,863 pensioners under its administration with payments of about N14 billion to 99,764 civil service pensioners in addition to their gratuities.

All retired federal permanent secretaries and heads of service under defined benefit scheme have been paid as well as 338 next of kin to deceased civil service pensioners. 3,537 Delta Steel Company pensioners were pay rolled in August 2018 for monthly pension for life.

Also, 7,969 verified pensioners from North Central and South West have had their complaints resolved, their benefits recomputed and have been put back on the payroll as 5,382 Civil Service Pensioners have been paid a total sum of N1.7bn outstanding pension arrears. These pensioners are among the 7,969 Civil Service Pensioners who were enrolled on PTAD monthly payroll in March 2018 with a total payment of N71.5m for the month.

Conversely, 2,830 Civil Service Pensioners, verified in the Northeast between November 2016 and January 2017, who were wrongly removed from the payroll prior to the establishment of PTAD, were put back on the payroll and paid their total arrears of N1,328,935,014.82 in June 2017. 8,564 Civil Service Pensioners verified in the South-South between January and February 2017 were pay-rolled and paid arrears of a total of N4, 984,219,446.99 between June and December 2017.

In addition, PTAD has pay rolled 470 pensioners of New Nigeria Newspaper, 933 NICON Insurance pensioners, 11,000 NITEL/Mtel pensioners, as well as 284 pensioners of Nigeria Reinsurance after 16 years while 641 Federal Housing Authority pensioners and 79 from Nigeria Defence Academy (civilians) were added in May 2018.

A total of 174 War Affected Retired Police Officers (WARPO) were paid the sum of N571,568,819.30 as gratuity and arrears in October 2017. This is coming 17 years after a pardon and amnesty was granted in 2000 by the Federal Government to the officers dismissed in 1971 after the Biafra War. PTAD has succeeded in giving hope and survival to Next-Of-Kins of deceased pensioners of the Health & Education sectors who after due verification and validation were paid a total sum of NGN1,923,500,441.03 being the entitlements of the respective breadwinners who had passed on.

The Directorate has also been successful in the recovery of cash and non-cash pension assets totalling NGN21.87bn trapped in various insurance companies and underwriters that were hitherto managing the pension funds of the universities and parastatals.

It is also put necessary machinery in place to ensure the recovery of the outstanding assets with these insurance companies and underwriters to enable it liquidate the huge unfunded pension liabilities inherited from the previous pension regimes.

On how law and politics as contributed to her success as a public officer, she explained that the ethics of her profession has continued to fuel her passion for getting things done the way they ought to be done while politics has widened her horizon in managing people.

She said: “As a legal practitioner with 30 years of experience, I am guided by the moral ethics of my profession to always do what is right while my political journey has taken me across the length and breadth of Nigeria, and I have been able to see the needs of my country.

“After my involvement in the protest against poor airline management in Nigeria, I decided to join politics in a bid to effect the change I want to see in our nation, so I joined the Congress for Progressive Change and I was elected the National Women Leader and subsequently, Interim National Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a result of the merger involving ANPP, ACN and CPC.

“I established the APC’s Young Women’s Forum to sponsor young female politicians and also organize series of trainings for our young politicians. Overall, being a lawyer and politician has been helpful in discharging my duties as the helmsman of PTAD.”

A courageous and selfless social crusader, Ikeazor informed that her father, has been a great source of inspiration to her having given her equal training with her brothers which has helped lay a solid foundation for her success in life. She also mentioned her grandmother as another role model who inspired her.

“My grandmother was a midwife and she was friends with Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and Dr. Elizabeth Awoniyi; the first female doctor in western Nigeria. They were the first women from Nigeria to attend the women conference in Russia in the early 50s.

“These two personalities taught me great lessons in life and that is why I don’t judge people by their gender, religion or tribe, I judge people by their ability to do the work that is given to them.

“I also believe there is a Supreme Being that created us and we are accountable to Him at the end of our journey on earth, so for me living is not what you get, it is what you give. When pensioners are paid, I am always happy because we have given them hope,” she enthused.

There is no doubt that her appointment into the council is well deserved because she is competent and capable to deliver the objectives and expectations of her appointors.

 

Source : http://thenationonlineng.net/ikeazor-pension-administration-presidential-campaign-council/

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