Why I Approved LOME, Appreciation Dinner After My Ministerial Job, -Engr   – Sambo

 By Stephen Ubanna

 Muhazu Jaji  Sambo, CON, an Engr.   And an immediate past minister of Transportation from Taraba,  home state of Theophilous Danjuma, a retired Army General and former minister of Defense, during former  Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration , appears to have given an insight why  he turned  down the May 26, 2023,   date  proposed by the League of Maritime Editors, popular , LOME,  to hold an ‘’Appreciation for him and Prince Ademola Adegoroye , the minister of  state  until he leaves office’’.

 The Taraba state born Politician ,  who  was said to have  had  a gubernatorial ambition  at one  -time in the state  on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, had said that he  was discouraged    because he  the League members want to use the opportunity  of his ministerial position ‘’to grab some funds from him’’.

 The Former minister of Transportation who was aid  o have asked the Leadership of the Association to re-present the proposed Appreciation dinner to him on a later date after President Muhammadu Buhari, has dissolved the Federal  Executive Council, FEC, for consideration.

Okorocha-Paul: President, League Of Maritime Editors

 He had expected   Timothy Okorocha-Paul, the President of the League and his members, to completely drop the proposed Appreciation dinner for him and the minister of state since President Bola Ahmed Tinubu , has been sworn in on May 29, 2023, as Nigeria’s new President.Unknown to him, the League members were not interested in organizing the Appreciation  dinner for him and the minister of state   for their outstanding performance within a short stint in office.   

 Given the  assurance  by Elder  Asu Beks and other close friends  of the ministers’ who are members of the LOME, may have  encouraged him to accept the Friday, June 9, 2023, date, slated for the Appreciation dinner at Eko Hotels and Suits in Lagos. The LOME, members who may have done their homework were said to have reached out to the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and other industry stakeholders, for support. The Association got it.

Eng. Sambo , Adegoroye , Minister Of StateAnd Mrs. Ajani , PS, FMT, In AGroup Pix

It was therefore not very surprising why the 400 people capacity Hall used for the Appreciation dinner for the two ministers at the Eko Hotels and Suits, was filled up that more chairs were brought in   to accommodate more   guests that had continued to arrive from different parts of the country , showing that ‘’Engr. Sambo is a man of the people’’

.  One of the masquerades who was said to have graced the occasion was Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu, Chairman,House Committee, on NIMASA, who was said to have left all her official engagements in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory FCT, to be at the dinner in person.

Even Architect Ferdinand Agu and Cletus, Obi, both former Director Generals of the agency were said to have been present   at  the League organised Appreciation dinner for the two  erstwhile  ministers of Transportations   to  have a one-on –one interaction with  them for their transformational effort in the nation’s maritime sector.  

Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary ministry of Transportation, and the  ministry’s accounting officer, who addresses Engr. Sambo as ‘’Senior’’, following their secondary school days in In Maiduguri, Capital of present day, Borno state may have used the  opportunity of the LOME, dinner , to describe the duo,Engr.Sambo  and   Adegoroye, the  minister and minister of state, respectively, as ‘’jolly good fellows to work with  and who do not carry the ministerial title on their  head or look down on their staff, which shows their high ‘’level of humility’’.

Ajani: Permanent Sec. FMT, Helped Engr. Sambo To Excel

  Engr. Sambo, who was said to have worked at NPA and Nigerian Inland Water Ways Authority, NIWA, where he has headed the Lagos office until his retirement in 2021 and subsequent appointment by the Katsina state born Nigerian President as the minister of state, ministry of Works and Housing, under the close watch of Babatunde Fashola, a former governor of Lagos state and political ally of Tinubu, the incumbent Nigerian President is the minister.

  Many believe that Engr.Sambo, has used his maritime background and opportunity of his redeployment to the ministry of Transportation in July 2022, as the substantive minister, of Transportation, following the resignation of Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of governor of Rivers state and the then minister to pursue his Presidential ambition on the platform of the APC, ‘’to establish himself as a performer and goal getter’’ alongside, Adegoroye, the minister of state.

The foursome, Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary, NSC,  Engr. Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director, Nigerian ailways Corrporation, NRC, , Muhammed Bello-Koko, his Couner-part , in NPA, and Bashir Jamoh, OFR, and Chief  Executice Officer, CEO, of the  NIMASA, were said to have  used used the provided by the Appreciation dinner  toeulogize the immediate  past ministers of Transportation  for their support , to get projects executed in their espective agencies.

Jime ,  a one-time member of the House of Representatives and the Executive Secretary , NSC, who had alluded ‘’to the  rivalry among the CEOs, of the agencies  under the ministry of Transportation’’ , had said that  the former minister had stood his feet down  to resolve the  areas of frictions between the CEOs. 

The NSC, boss who was said to have made reference to the Cargo Tracking Note, CTN, in which one or two of the  agencies   chief,  were said to have opposed it.  He had said that Engr. Sambo, used his position to get the Federal Executive Council, FEC,’’ to approve it for implementation by the NSC.

As a prelude to implementing the CTN,  Jime , the NSC, Executive Secretary,  was said to have assured  ‘’shippers  and manufacturers  that shipping companies  will bear the cost of the CTN when fully implemented’’. An Appreciative Jime, who was said to have started an unfinished quarrel, had made guests laugh uncontrollably when he asked question : who is a  slave?.

  He has alluded to the he Housa/ Fulanis’ claims  that the Tivs are slaves In apparent response to Jime’s emotional outburst, the former minister of Transportation was said to have had asked him ‘’to cast his mind back to how he smuggled him in to his present position.

 Notwithstanding, the verbal attacks  , the NSC, helmsman had explained  that  Engr.  Sambo   could get the agency’’ to the point where it could be said that it is now in better position to begin the implementation  of the CTN, noting  that for six years, the agency  have been pursuing the implementation of the CTN. 

Eng. Sambo, Adegoroye, Senator Adebiyi , CEOs, Of Agencies Of FMT And Others

Engr. Okhria, the Managing  Director, NRC,  who was said to  have been given the Microphone, going by the order of the programme, for the League Appreciation  dinner  for Engr.Sambo and Adegoroye, the minister of state, by Osagie Edward , an Assistant  Director ,’’ to tell world  what he knows about the duo and  , working with them , had described them as a  ‘’different set of top government functionaries, who carries everybody along.

 The NRC, helsman noted that initially the bad thought that Engr.Sambo, will not want to have anything to do with him because of his close working relationship with Amaechi, a former minister of Transportation.  He disclosed that the fear vanished after the minister and the minister of state had invited them for a closed door meeting where they were properly briefed about the activities of their respective agencies.

 Bello-Koko, the NPA, Managing Director, who had said that he was not around within the very  week the duo were  appointed as substantive minister and minister  of state  in  the ministry of Transportation. The NPA, boss, who   had said that his heart stands still whenever he gets the minister’s call or invitation.

Making reference to how Engr. Sambo, the former minister of Transportation relates with him, particular, he had said  that there was an incident in  which   the Taraba state born  former minister of Transportation called  him for discussionHe opined that that the discussion they had that day in question made him to understand  that ‘’this is someone  that could be upset  with you today  and the  on the agency  matters.

Jamoh: DG, NIMASA, Mr. Projects

According to him  for any agency Chief not to cross his path or  play into his hands ‘’, you must  always update him before committing funds into any project.  This may have informed why Jamoh, the NIMASA, boss, had won his heart within the nine months he was in over as he was said to have always kept him  abreast of the agency actions and projects  earmarked for execution and the cost implication for approval.

The NIMASA, CEO, had cited the  completion of  its  office complex at the FCT and Port Harcourt, which would  save  the scarce funds spent  by  the  agency  to pay for rented apartments on a yearly basis which runs into millions of naira.

 Jamoh’s only regret , was that the former minister, who has t given the agency all the ministerial approval to achieve all that much is no longer in the office to Commission the Lokoja, Capital of Kogi state,  in the north central geopolitical region.

The former minister , who was  said to have worked closely with Sambo, , decribed as ,’’ Mr. Projects’’ , in Industry circles ,   had said said  his Commitment  towards  capacity building  and infrastructural facilities development , had led o the official ground-breaking  ceremony  of the Institute of Maritime Studies  at the University of Lagos,  south west Nigeria.

 He may have gladdened the heart of  the minister when he asserted that through  his support and ministerial approval, no fewer  than 300   of the Nigerian Seafarers  Development Programme have been  sent  to Greece and the Asian country of India for training  as ‘’Licensed  Deck  and Engine Officers , as well as  Naval Architects’’.

Last May,  Jamoh , led NIMASA, which is never tired of spending money on new projects , which was said to have had the approval of the former  minister , celebrated by LOME ,  procured and commissioned  five  new Patrol  and security boats , five refurbished  , Search and  Rescue /Pollution  control boats , four staff ferries and  Search and Rescue  clinic  and an Administrative building in Lagos.  

Senator Tolu Adebiyi, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, who was said  to have represented Boss Mustapha, a former Secretary to the g Government of the Federation, SGF, who ought to have the Appreciation diinner organised by the Maritime Journalist may have tried to pull Jamoh’s, legs, as he has tried to find out  from him where he is getting money to finance the multi-million  naira projects, that are regularly being Commissioned   when other agencies are crying of paucity of funds.

This is where the trio, Chudi Offodile, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Abdullahi Mustapha, Director, Financial Services and Mrs.Olamide Odusanya, Internal Audit, deserve Commendation for their strategic management of the agency funds and blocking areas of revenue leakage, thus making money available for the execution of industry stakeholder –oriented projects.

Perhaps, the greatest of the achievements of Engr. Sambo, in the nation’s maritime sector within  the nine months  in office was his singular  efforts in securing the Presidential approval for the disbursement of the over $365 bilion, Cabotage Finance Fund,  CVFF, to  the indigenous ship owners, which Amaechi, the immediate past minister of Transportation  failed to do.  The former minister minister had said that he had secured the Presidential within a day, which was the fastest to e gotten by any minister that had served under the previous Administration.  He had said that while there were some former ministers who had running battles with their Permanent Secretaries for heading the minstry’s Tender Board, but he never had any problem with Ajani, the ministry Permanent Secretary, who is a professional bureaucrat to the core.  

An elated Jamoh, had said that Engr. Ambo had used the nine months in office ‘’to ensure that’’ the two critical components   of the funds   were on ground to facilitate its disbursement’’.  Describing the former minister of Transportation as a workaholic, and Ajani, the Permanent Secretary as ‘’Margret Thacher’’ because of her no nonsense attitude, the NIMASA, Director General, had said that ‘’the Law guiding the funds and the regulations needed to be approved by the National approved had already been approved’’.

 Indeed, with the ministerial support to the Jamoh led implementing agency of the CVFF, Jamoh was said to have worked the modalities with the Primary Lending Institutions, PLIs for the disbursement of the fund without furth delay.

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