By Stephen Ubanna
When Nasirsiru El-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during Olusegun Obasanjo, Administration, and now governor of Kaduna state, described Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency,NIMASA, as an asset to Nigeria when he came to the state ecently with his entourage to deliver relief materials to natural and man-made victims in the state, not many people took him serious.
They see it as one of such Statements coming from a Nigerian governorwho needs support from the Maritime Regulatory agency. Unknown to them, El-Rufai has seen the special Leadership qualities in the Kaduna state -born NIMASA Director General in the running of the agency which many have not seen. The Organisers of the Zik Prize in 2020, has reconfirmed El-Rufai’s, claims about the Maritime Regulatory agency Chief Executive Officer, CEO, as an asset by selecting him as one of the winners of the 2020 Zik Prize in” Public Policy”.
The zIK prize, Award Committee, which was said to have been chaired by Pat Uomi, a Professor, and Founder Lagos Business School, LBS, had said that Jamoh was selected for the prestigious Zik Prize of the 2020 edition based on his capacity ‘’to have exclusively managed the restructuring, reformation and repositioning of the agency’’.
Utomi, cited the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, popular, Deep Blue Project, and the Blue Economy, initiatives the NIMASA Director General, has continued to Champion, over the last one year which have brought ”massive gains to the agency and the nation’s economic diversification goals’’.
One of such gains the Deep Blue Project have brought to the agency was the complete drop in sea robbery and Piracy in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, which had been seen by the international Community as the most dangerous for ocean going vessels.
Until his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, to replace, Dakuku Peterside, a Rivers state –born politician and a former member of the House of Representatives, on March 10, 2020, $783 million, has been lost to Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea alone and which needed to be stopped.
There is no gain saying the fact that his aggressive pursuit of the implementation of his 3-point agenda : maritime safety, maritime security and shipping development, has witnessed a significant a significant turnaround in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, as insecurity in Nigerian waters, according industry stakeholders have reduced by 80 % . At present, Nigerian waters, was one of the top 10 safest waters in the world, due to the singular, efforts of Jamoh, the NIMASA, boss.
The International Maritime Bureau, IMB, which have never seen anything good in Nigerian maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea, but repeated Pirates attack on ocean-going vessels and kidnap of Crew members for ransome, in its 2021, second quarter report appears to have recognized that the situation has changed in the recent time as it reported that ‘’Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which over the years had become a global epicenter for sea robbery and Piracy, fell to the lowest since the second quarter of 2019, after the NIMASA Director General started enforcing the Deep Blue Project with the deployment of the $195 billion maritime assets supplied by the Israeli security firm, HLS International Systems and Technologies Limited.
The maritime security assets includes 16 armoured vessels for coastal Patrol, 17 interceptor boas, two Special Mission Vessels, two Special Mission aircrafts , for Surveillance of Nigerian exclusive economic zone, EEZ, three Special Mission helicopters for Search and Rescue, S&R, operations and four unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director, in the agency Public Relations Department, had said that ‘’aside Jamoh, the nimasa , Director General, there were other illustrious Nigerian technocrats who also won the Zik 2020 Prize Award in public policy. Note that Akinwunmi, as minister of Agriculture of Agriculture and Rural Development had revolutionalised rice production in Nigeria which was inherited by the Buhari Administration and taken to higher level.
. Another of such winners of the Zik Price, in public Policy was Akinwunmi Ayodeji, a former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development during Goodluck Jonathan Presidency and now, President, of the African Development Bank, AfDB. Through the innovative Electronic Wallet system which he was said said to have introduced while still in the service of the Nigerian government, he had ended the 40 years of Corruption in the fertilizer distribution to farmers.
The reforms, which he had brought about in the nation’s Agricultural sector was carried to AfDB, as the 5s and the African Investment Forum Initiatives that he introduced also became a massive successes to the Admiration of African and other world Leaders.
Another Nigerian Technocrat that was said to have been selected by the Zik Prize, 2020, award Committee in Public Policy, was Mele Kolo Kyari, the Borno state-born Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
Ayim Pius Ayim, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and a one-time Secretary to the government of the Federation and Senator Olrunimbe Mamora and now minister of State, ministry of Health, were said to have been announced by the Committee as the award winners for the Political Leadership Category while the award for Professional Leadership went to U.K. Eke, the Group Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria, FBN, Holdings plc and Uche Orji, the pioneer Managing Director/CEO, of the Nigerian Soverign Investment Authority, NSIA.
Ekaette Unoma Akbabio, former First Lady of Akwa Ibom state, was said to have been selected by the Zik Prize,2020, award Committee for Humanitarian Leadership. She was said to have been selected by the Committee because her family Life Enhancement Initiative, FLEI, have continued ‘’to provide support to the vulnerable people in the state, even while of office.
The Committee may have shocked Nigerians when they named Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Abdullahi Sule, the All Progressive Congress, APC, governors of Lagos and Nasarawa states respectively, for the Zik Prize in Good Governance award.
Ever since the winners of the various Categories of the 2020, Zik Prize, was made public, Nigerians have continued to shower praises on the Zik prize, award Committee members for the wise selection devoid of any political influence or ethnic bias, describing it as ”well deserved”.
. Prof. Utomi, the Chairman of the Committee, may have sent a message to Nigerians holding office in the public and Private sectors, including those holding International appointments,that the Zik Prize Committee members are taking note of their records in office and at the appropriate time, Nigerians would be told where these technocrats stand in future awards. It could not be ascertained whether the wards attracts any cash reward.