: By Stephen Ubanna
Not many people are surprised at what Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, had done over the last one year to win the trust of the entire staff. As someone who grew from the ranks he knew the challenges of the staff and the way forward.
Between March 10, 2020 and now, he had carried two major promotion exercises that had touched almost all the staff of the maritime regulatory agency. Not only that, he has demonstrated a clear and commendable understanding of the challenges facing the agency such as” inadequate motivation of staff leading to low morale and low productivity”.
Having addressed the problems of insubordination, bickering and complaints, Jamoh, who has been described as an ‘’all- round Administrator’’ in maritime circles had moved to the next step to remove all bottlenecks that had hindered communications between staff and the Management of the agency. He has a Philosophy that for the agency to fully discharge its responsibility as enshrined in the Law setting it up without shaking, ‘’the Management must listen to the Workforce to encourage Professionalism’’.
Given his efforts to grow the agency, he has inaugurated an 18-member staff joint consultative forum, for the purpose of ‘’strengthening the relationship between the Management and entire staff of the agency’’. While inaugurating the Staff Joint consultative Forum, SJCF, at the NIMASA Headquarters in Lagos, last week, amidst cheers, an elated Jamoh, who could not hide his feelings had said to the admiration of the staff that ‘’Communication between the management and staff was key in the efforts to move the nation’s maritime sector forward and ensure the actualization of his three point agenda: maritime safety, maritime security and ship development, popular, the three ‘’S’’, which had remained uppermost in his mind as a way to restore ship owners confidence in Nigerian waters.
Although, Jamoh, the NIMASA, boss was not physically present at the event to perform the inauguration of the Forum that was well attended by the ranks and file including the Directors, because of pressing official duties, he was said to have directed Mrs. Ronke Thomas,the agency Director, Administration and Human Resources, because of her strategic position as a link between the Management and staff, to go ahead with the inauguration .
She may have spoken the mind of the NIMASA Chief Executive Officer, CEO, when she ‘’acknowledged the recent achievements in the agency’s core mandate of maintaining the security and safety of ocean-going vessels in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea as Piracy and sea robbery had dropped to the barest minimum, noting that the agency could not have been achieved all that without’’ the support of the staff who may have been driven by the motivation’’. This because they now see NIMASA as a big family which must be made to grow in all its ramifications.
She may have gladdened the heart of the staff when she declared that ‘’Management is no longer about us and the staff’’, stressing that ‘’effective Management is the ability to get the best of the Workforce’’. The NIMASA Director of Administration and Human Resources had said that the agency could achieve that much within this short period because Jamoh, the Director General, who did not see himself as the big boss whose words must be obeyed, had ‘’championed the cause to foster a good working relationship between the management and the staff since he ‘’took over the management of the agency in March10, 2020’’.
She may have enjoined the staff not to see the inauguration of the Management and staff consultative forum as a ploy to win their loyalty but ‘’to give them a voice’’, described as a ‘’milestone by industry operators in the history of the agency’’.
Giving an insider information of the circumstances that had led to the inauguration of the 18-man Forum, as an interface between the Management and the staff, she had alluded to the fact that the NIMASA helmsman may have bought of the idea as ’’someone who rose through the ranks and had spent over three decades in the industry, which had exposed him to the yearnings and aspirations of the staff’’.
This may have informed why he has had at the back of his mind over the years’ plans to prioritise anything that would grow the nation’s maritime sector , if he shou;d have the opportunity to do so. The opportunity came with his appointment as the Director General of NIMASA, by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, in March 10, 2020, to replace Dakuku Peterside, a politician and Rivers state born former Director General of the agency, who was not reappointed for another four term by the Nigerian President.
He may have given a clue to why he is succeeding in piloting the Affairs of the nation’s maritime industry withot any hiccup. Hear him: My experience in this industry is a unique one, having risen through the ranks, as I know that the staff need to be motivated and the ripple of what we are doing could be felt in the entire nation’s maritime sector.
The NIMASA boss was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen that as Head of the current NIMASA Management Team, of the agency, hey are committed ‘’to doing whatever will drive the Nigerian maritime sector to an enviable height where it could compete with those of the industrialised nations of the North American country of the United States, US, Asia country of China, Singapore, and the European Union, EU, member countries of Netherlands, Germany, France as well as the United KingdomUK.
. Perhaps to ensure that the Executives of the consultative forum do their work without fear or favour, the NIMASA boss was said to have enjoined them ‘’to maintain a cordial relationship with the staff and management’’. According to him, with the inauguration of the Forum, ‘’all staff matters or grievances are to be presented to the Management, in a civil manner, as guided by the extant Laws and the guiding policy’’. This is a far departure from the past where the Director General’s office was inundated with petitions and complaints by aggrieved staff and sensitive information were easily leaking out to the public which made mockery of the agency. ‘’There was no sense of belonging as at then’’ a staff remarked.
Aware of the challenges before the consultative Forum, Abdullahi Ylwa, the Chairman, had expressed his heartfelt Appreciation to Jamoh and his Management Team for coming up with ‘’the internal Communication initiative that have bridged the gap between the Management and the staff . He had also thanked the Management Team for deeming it necessary to consider him and his other Colleagues serve in the Forum . Yelwa, the Forum Chairman, was said to have given his words, that they will use the opportunity provided them ‘’to contribute their quota to the development of the agency to further strengthen the trust the staff had built on Jamoh and his Management Team’’.
Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director , overseeing the agency Public Relations Department, had said that Forum , which has Mrs. Shelibe Abe as the Vice Chairman has ‘’representatives from all cadres of staff of the agency’’ to make all encompassing.