Special Report: Despite rumours, APC chieftain points out how Dr Dakuku Peterside has repositioned NIMASA and deserves 2nd tenure


By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

The vision of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is to be the leading Maritime Administration in Africa advancing Nigeria’s Global Maritime goals while on the other its omission is to achieve and sustain safe, secure shipping, cleaner, oceans and enhanced maritime capacity in line with global best practices towards Nigeria’s economic development.

The essence of this press statement therefore is to critically examine the Vision and Mission of NIMASA and probably proffer answers to the nagging question of if Dr. Peterside its Director General has actualised these principles on which NIMASA was set up and if he has then what stops his reappointment.

Has Dr. Peterside repositioned NIMASA as a Global Brand according to its Vision and to provide an answer, in his congratulatory message to the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside,  after his emergence as President, Association of African Maritime Administrators, (AAMA), His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, succinctly described his prowess and competence thus; “Peterside’s unanimous election is not only a personal honour and affirmation of confidence in his ability to lead AAMA, but also places Nigeria in a pivotal position to rally other maritime administrations in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) towards safer global maritime activities.”

Adding credence to President Buhari in his afore cited assertion on the administrative capabilities of Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Donald Trump the number one President of the world stated, “I judge people based on their capability, honesty, and merit”.

Senator Ahmed Rufai Sani, Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, beautifully summarizes and lends credibility to the thoughts on Dr. Peterside, when he averred thus; “what NIMASA is doing under the leadership of Dr. Peterside is commendable and as a Committee, we will give NIMASA the necessary legislative backing in terms of amendments to the existing laws and enhanced appropriation that is necessary for the Agency to effectively carry out its regulatory activities”.

The fantastic excerpt from the words of Emeritus Professor Dagogo Fubara, the first professor of Geodesy in Africa,  captures Dr. Peterside as an intellectual asset, administrative expert and result oriented gentleman; “Your ingenious leadership in the Agency which will galvanize the maritime industry to greatness is very commendable. I don’t know what you are doing in NIMASA but whatever you are doing is very commendable. Apart from the fact that you have assembled first grade scholars to talk today, this is the first time in my 78 years sojourn on earth that I have chaired an event and four hours after, the hall is still filled to capacity”.

Erstwhile Spokesman of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, who doled the accolades on Dr Peterside, also described him as “a value-added” to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that the NIMASA, under his watch, has recorded countless laudable achievements to the credit of the administration.

Chief Eze, who is widely known as one of the most fervent defenders of the policies of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari administration in the South-South region, also described a recent positive assessment of Dakuku’s performance by the Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, as “a vibrant young man who has brought a lot of reforms to the maritime industry” as spot on.

The party chieftain highlighted that Peterside is a celebrated icon, an enigma, a study in resoluteness, benevolence, audacity, resourcefulness, creativity, a symbol of unity, a visionary, egalitarian and, most importantly, a great patriot whose love for Nigeria and Nigerians is infectious. A bridge-builder and loyal to friendship. An emerging force in the Maritime Industry in the entire world who became the first Nigerian to be elected by 34 countries as the President, Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA).

For turning around the fortunes of the Nigeria’s maritime sector, to increase its contribution to the economy, Dr Dakuku has justified his appointment as Director-General of NIMASA; one of the most skillful and informed decisions by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in its drive to revolutionise the maritime industry.

Truly, Peterside is a rare icon, an uncommon achiever, a dedicated reformer and a henchman of the President. The fact speaks for itself.

Eze proffers answer why Dr. Dakuku Peterside need to be reappointed:

“Since Dakuku’s appointment as Director-General of NIMASA in March 2016, a lot of reforms have been initiated, including the new Cabotage Compliance Strategy, which has created more employment opportunities for Nigerians in the maritime sector and significantly enhanced the maritime sector’s contribution to both the Federation Account and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and translating to a national economic filip.

“Under the watch of this reformer and revolutionist, Dr. Petetside, NIMASA, with its record-breaking income generation into Nigeria’s coffers, received presidential commendation and dusted other similar agencies to top the chart on Port and Flag State Control in the West and Central African sub-regions. The maritime regulatory agency outranked other maritime regulators in the region, in the inspection of vessels calling at Nigerian ports, according to the latest report by the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control for West and Central African Region, otherwise known as Abuja MoU.

All these were part of the fruits of recent reforms initiated by the agency and deliberate investment in enforcement equipment. The fact remains that the management team of NIMASA is conscious of global best practices and is determined to rid our waterways of all substandard vessels, with the ultimate aim of ensuring a safe and robust maritime domain. This afforded the agency the capacity to be a competitive player in the global maritime space, giving her an edge in the comity of maritime investment destinations.

Eze commended Dr. Peterside and his team for following the international requirement for countries by inspecting  and surveying over 600 vessels calling at Nigerian ports, describing the feat as “unprecedented, showing that the country is alive to its port state and flag state responsibilities.

The increased inspection and survey has ensured that substandard vessels no longer call at Nigerian ports. It has improved safety on Nigerian waters and led to a reduction of vessels with deficiency from 18.99 % in 2015 to barely 14 % in 2018 with a massive improvement on the statistics in 2019 and further improvement projected in 2020.

“NIMASA has, since the last four years, engaged in deliberate efforts to protect the country’s maritime assets and environment by building up response capabilities under the Deep Blue Seaproject. The Agency has acquired special mission aircraft, special mission telecommunications gadgets, and 17 interceptor special mission vessels. It has also, in conjunction with the country’s security services, set up a Command and Control Centre, with a complement of armoured vehicles to patrol littoral states, and a standing k force to deal with criminal activities at sea”, Eze revealed.

Eze quoted Dr Peterside as stating, ““At the regional, continental and international levels, we continued to pursue and support the improvement of International Maritime standards and obligations in accordance with Nigeria’s global Maritime goals. We hosted a number of regional and international Maritime events, collaborated and participated actively in the celebration of the Day of the Seaferers, World Maritime Day and African Day of Seas and Oceans.”

Apart from  all these feats by this enigma of a leader, he would have lost his life while campaigning for his election and that of President Muhammad Buhari in 2015 at Okirika in Rivets state, when his Campaign Team was ambushed by those who never wanted Buhari to be elected the President of Nigeria.

Though, it is within the ambit and constitutional right of Mr. President to appoint whoever he deems fits, but if merits and sacrifices still count in appreciating party faithful, then it is imperative that Dr Peterside be reappointed accordingly, to continue his transformation drive in the maritime sector.

This plea becomes expedient, now that the tenure of Dr. Dakuku Peterside will come to an end in few days time. Based on his sacrifices to the progress of APC all over Nigeria and the ingenuity which he has brought to bear, in making NIMASA a globa brand; if the words of President Trump that “merit should count in our appointments” is relevant, then reappointing Dr Dakuku Peterside  becomes not only imperative, but expedient, inevitable and immediate fit the good of Nigeria and Nigerians.