NIMASA: How Peterside Won El-Rufai’s heart

By  Stephen Ubanna

Nasir  El-Rufai, a former minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT,  under  former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and now  governor of Kaduna state, on the ticket of  all Progressive Congress, APC, is a power broker in the present President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.

 He may have  become much interested in the nation’s maritime sector  with the appointment of  Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, his former Chief of Staff,  as the managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority , NPA. The appointment of Hajia Usman may have exposed him  to the activities and  changes  that had been brought about in the  nation’s transport  sector  by Rotimi Amaechi , a former minister of Transportation and those appointed to run the various agencies of the ministry , particular, Dakuku Peterside, the   Director General,  Nigerian Mariime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

 Peterside  may have further endeared himself to the APC power broker  with the recent  presentation of food and other gift items to flood victims in the state, forcing the governor to appeal to other government agencies and Organisations  to take a cue from NIMASA  by performing their Corporate social responsibilities to the society.

 The Value News  learnt that ever since the Kaduna state governor  came into contact with Amaechi and  the NIMASA  Director General,  he has come to appreciate their contribution   and had used every opportunity to shower praises on them  for their transformation of the nation’s Transportation and maritime sector respectively which had further  endeared them to the President.

Nasir El-Rufai: Commends Peterside, DG, NIMASA, For Revolutionalising the Maritime Sector

Political watchers see  El-Rufai as a spoiler who could influence the Katsina state born Nigeria President to do anything. His consistent drumming of the good works of the  former minister of transportation and the NIMASA boss , may have facilitated in securing their respective positions both  in the government . This may have informed why attempts by lobbyists to set the President  against the duo had  failed.

He has never failed to commend  the NIMASA  boss over his efforts in the last three and half years  to ”develop the nation’s maritime sector  and increase its contribution  to the  growth of the nation’s economy”. The  governor, who could not hide his feelings,  had said that  ‘Perside’s appointment to oversee the affairs of the nation’s apex maritime Regulatory agency  was ”one of the skilful  and opportune decisions  to be taken by  the President in his first term in office  in his drive  to revolutionalise the sector to contribute more meaningfully to  the economy”.  

The  Kaduna state governor who was , described by former President Obasanjo as ”small but mighty in action”, in one of his books  may have unbarred his mind about the NIMASA Director General  last weekend at the Kaduna state  government House in a Chart with Journalists.

According to him, ”   the Rivers state born politician and  Administrator, has brought  his ”wealth of experience and pragmatism  to bear on the agency, and the nation’s maritime sector in general”, leading to the various reforms  being witnessed in the sector  and the recognition of Nigeria as a major player in International  maritime circles. ” This is what you  get  when you appoint  young and knowledgeable  people ”, noting  that Peterside’s appointment  has brought a ”lot of gains to the Buhari Administration”.

The Kaduna state governor, had declared  that he knows  NIMASA  and NPA, very well.  ”I know NIMASA and NPA, currently being  Headed  by Hajia Usman, who is doing everything within her powers to decongest the busy Apapa road to facilitate vehicular movements. ”I am proud of them”, he said. He may have suggested the need  of  building  new ports to the government as a  way of finding a lasting solution to the papa daily traffic gridlock but the lean budgetary allocation to Capital projects in the country may not be able to  accommodate these extra expenditure for now.   

  He  was said to have used every available opportunity to shower praises on  Amaechi, the former Rivers state governor,  describing  him as  one who  ”revolutionalised  the nation’s transport sector under difficult circumstances. Given an instance of one of  the good works of the former minister , which had  benefited the state tremendously was the multi-million naira Abuja-Kaduna rail line.  He disclosed that the project was started about 10 years by  past Administrations  but was completed under him with the support of the President.

 ”it  was a single-minded focus on completing projects abandoned by past Administrations that are beneficial  to the country  that had enabled   what people  are seeing today: train connection, which is one of the most patronised  means of transport in the country at present”, he said.” Amaechi may  have known this much that he had alwys  flouted his  achievements in the transport sector, thus using it as a testimonial to pride  himself as one of  the best ministers  of Transportation the country has ever produced in the last 20 years.

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