By Stephen Ubanna
Barshir Jamoh, a career officer and Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, may have known that the challenges ahead of him in the next four years are very enourmous that he needed to carry every Staff along in order to keep them informed of his clearly defined goals and vision.
He has every reason to carry every Staff along having worked under the previous Management Headed by Dakuku Peterside, a Rivers state born Politician, both as a Board member and as a member of the Management Team in his capacity as the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, which made him of the most powerful person in the agency. This is because both the Staff and Contractors, who have one thing or the other to do with the agency that has to do with payment must pass through his office on the 6th of the nine story building for confirmation.
Having worked under different Director Generals of the agency in the past and as an Executive Director under Peterside, he may have exposed him to their mistakes , and therefore was not ready to fall into the same trap as much is expected from him by both the Staff , ministry officials and the Presidency.
Between March 10, 2020 and now when peterside, the former Director General a close political ally of Rotimi Amaechi , a former governor of Rivers state and minister of Transportation lost out in the power equation in the agency and was forced to bow out to pave way for Jamoh, the Kaduna state born NIMASA insider to step into his shoes he was said to have been holding consultations with different segments of the society , particular, the industry stakeholders and the Staff at various levels. he had used the opportunity to explain to them his vision and how to go about it. The fallout of the consultations was the general meeting with the Staff, particular, those that fall within the Management cadre and other senior Staff in his office on the 9th floor.
Rita Egbuche, regarded in the agency circles as a workalic, and who incidentally is a Deputy Director, in-charge of Personnel and Administration was said to have played a key role in in organising the historic meeting. She was said to have sent out memos to the Staff that should be at the meeting at the instance of the Director General.
Insider sources told The Value News that as a prelude to the last Monday meeting with the new NIMASA dIrector General, Egbuche’s office , on the 8th floor, was thrown open for Staff, who consult her for clarifications on Administrative issues or to avoid falling into the waiting hands of the new Management. .Some of them were said to have been invited by the Deputy Director a meeting to rub minds in order to present a common demand to the new Management Team. The Magazine cited Isichei Osamgbi, a veteran Journalist and Deputy Director, in-charge the agency Corporate Communications and some f the Staff of the Department at the office ahead of the meeting with Director General on Monday.
The good news was that the Staff were very enthusiastic about the meeting to have a one on one interation with one of their Colleagues who has taken over as the new director General of the agency. They see the meeting an opportunity to hear from the horses mouth about the new direction of the agency for the next four years going by the mandate given him by Presiden. . Indeed, the discussion of the gathering of two or three Staff of the agency for much of last week centered on the planned meeting with the Staff. .
The Magazine learnt that it was a no hold bar discussion at the meeting as the Staff had the opportunity to ask questions and were given prompt response which made them happy that the agency now have a Director General who understands their problem and ready to work to revive the nation’s maritime sector in order to compete meaningfully with other maritime nations across the globe.
As at Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the outcome of the last Monday meeting remained a closely guided secret but there were different Departmental meetings an indications that the Director General may have given a marching order to the various department Heads to hold meetings with their Staff, particular, the senior ones and come out with a position paper on the demands of their office that would help them to do their work.
Many believe that Jamoh is not ready to adopt a fire brigade approach in running the agency like other former Director Generals which had put the nation’s maritime sector where it is today: Not moving forward like other maritime nations which generate substantial revenue annually from the sector alone. At the Corporate Communications office, Osamgbi, the Departmental Head, was cited when he came out briefly from the meeting to know the number of visitors waiting for hm.
there are indications that some of the Deputy Directors who had distinguished themselves in the discharge of their duties over the last four years may be elevated to the next rank of Director soon as way of encouraging others who had been lackadaisical in doing their work to sit-up.
Those who had worked closely wit, the new NIMASA helmsman, over the last four years both serving and retired are optimistic that he would deliver on his Presidential mandate to revive the nation’s maritime Industry which had remained in a sorry state over the years as the indigenous ship owners do not have the capacity to compete with their foreign counterparts.
Many of the indigenous shipping Companies , a source said survive in chartering vessels for their business as they do not have the financial muscle to procure a vessel which cost between 4, million to $10 million , depending on the tonnage. The inability of the indigenous ship owners to stand their feet on the ground may have informed why Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and Oil Producing and exploration Companies, operating in the country find it difficult to engage their services to participate in the lifting of the wet cargo produced in the country to the International oil market as they preferred the services of the Foreign ship owners who have the resources to do the business on Cost, Insurance and Freight , CIF, basis.
Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and minister of Transportation, may have known the stuff that Jamoh, the new NIMASA , boss was made off that he was said to have failed to submit the name of Peterside, the former Director General of the agency to the Katsina state born Nigerian President for reappointment this year , thus playing into the hands of those who had wanted the Rivers state born NIMASA Director general to go in order to have their way to push for the Candidacy of Jammoh , who had been prepared for the position since 2018, to take over from him. They had their way
.Indeed, Jamoh may have won the heart of the minister in his book, ‘’Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets, Past, present and Future’’, that he was encouraged to write the forward, eulogized the Author over his in-depth knowledge of the nation’s maritime Industry.
An elated Amaechi was enthusiastic about the suggestions made by the NIMASA former Executive Director, Finance and Administration and now Director General on how to reposition the nation’s maritime sector in his published in 2018.. ‘’The author rightly suggests that for Nigeria to harness its maritime assets in the process of economic diversification , the government should develop an integrated Maritime Road Map in which the government, Regulators and Operators need to set out a clear vision, high level goals and integrated action in order to realize the country’s maritime goals’’, he had said.
The former Rivers state governor who could not hide his feelings had described it as a clarion call on all those involved in the nation’s maritime Industry to look forward and develop these potentials instead of looking outside’’.
wHe my have been impressed with Jamoh’s suggestion that the government should set up a Maritime Coordinating Committee to develop a policy framework for harnessing the nation’s maritime, transitory and human capital assets to develop a policy framework for harnessing these assets that he is optimistic that he would deliver which is the feeling of the Indudtry stakeholders.
Jamoh , who may be wearing two caps, both as the DG , NIMASA ,and President , Chartered Institute of Transportation and Administration, CITA, was said to have been instrumental for the establishment
of University of Transportation at Daura, Katsina, the President home state. He may have used his position as president, CITA, to push for the establishment of the University just as the agency had established Nigerian’s first Maritime University at Ekerenkoko, Delta state, south- south Nigeria. The argument in both official and unofficial circles was that if he could influence the establishment of a University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina state, the funding of the University may never be a problem as the Director General of NIMASA because he has the backing of the President and the minister of Transportation.
In spite of the fact that Ekerenkoko Maritime University was established by the agency with the approval of the ministry of Transportation under the close watch of Amaechi, it had been starved of funds which had made it to work in bits and fits as the development of basic infrastructural facilities in the University had been at a snail speed, thus forestalling serious Academic activities. People are looking to Jamoh to use his position to release funds for the development Ekerenkoko Maritime University to avoid turning it into a drainpipe.
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