By Stephen Ubanna
The Circumstances that brought Dakuku Peterside, a rivers state born politician and former member of the House of Representatives, in as the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, appeared to have repeated itself with the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, to renew his appointment for another four years.
The former NIMASA dIrector General. Had relied on Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers and now minister of Transportation who incidentally is a close political ally of the Katsina state born Nigerian President to be returned to office. He got it wrong. The minister may have taken advantage of the President frequent trip abroad for appointment with his Physician to slot in his name as the Director General of NIMASA In 2016. The President may not have queried the appointment as he gave approval to it. He was said to have given him the opportunity to serve his four year term in office which will expire on Tuesday March 10, 2020. ,
Unknown to the minister and the President had made up his mind to drop Peterside. He had boasted ’’If Iam still the minister of Transportation I should be the one that should inform about his removal and the appointment of a successor. That was how far he could go.
Indeed, for much of last month, there have been rumours making the round that the Rivers state born NIMASA , former Director General may not be reappointed by the President. Signs that his appointment may not be renewed began to manifest when he was invited by the House Committee on Public Finance to explain why the agency had failed to submit its Financial Statements over the last six years to the office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
The MIMASA Director General, was said to have been invited along-side Senator Gbemi Saraki, minister of state, ministry of Transportation, overseeing the nation’s maritime sector and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry. The Lawmakers may have been rebuffed that minister of state, Transportation and the NIMASA helmsman as they failed to honour the invitation.
He may have had an insider information that the President has dumped him for Bashir Jamoh, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, who was a career officer. This may have forced him to start avoiding public functions since the news has became viral. He was said to have unofficially handed over the running of the agency to the Kaduna state born new NIMASA Director General as the Correspondence office was moved to the 8th floor from the 9th floor,which was put under lock and key. Insiders told The Value News that over the last two weeks, Jamoh has been attending to all official documents.
The dust gerated by the former NIMASA Director General failure to honour the invitation of the House Committee on Public Finance may not have settled than for him to snub another invitation extended to him by the Committee Investigating the activities of Foreign vessel owners in the country.Gambo Ahmed, the agency , the agency Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage was said led to have a high powered Team to represent the agency.
The invitation by the Committee to the former NMASA boss to appear before it was an indication that he has failed to realise the Presidential mandate given to him to utilize indigenous shipping Companies as a fulcrum of national development in order to increase the nation’s maritime Industry contribution to employment generation and Gross Domestic Product, G DP.
But instead of facing the reality on ground, the former NIMASA, boss was said to have been running the agency with the service of Consultants, who believe that their mandate was to organize regular Workshops and bring in experts to blow grammar and collect their honorarium.
Presidency sources reportedly said the President was not happy with the academic approach being adopted by the erstwhile NIMASA boss in running the agency rather than adopting a pragmatic approach that could give indigenous ship owners a say in the nation’s Oil and maritime Industry. ‘’This is not what the President wants ’’, the source said.
The President may have been encouraged r to search for a career officer who enjoys the goodwill of the Industry stakeholders and who can propel the nation’s maritime Industry forward in practical’s terms as a replacement for Peterside, who is a Ppolitician.
The President may have found Jamoh as a replacement for Peterside after due Consultations with the Industry Operator. Events moved fast as he was elevated to the enviable position as Executive director, Finance and Administratio from to a deputy Director. The elevation to the new office qualifies him to be a member of NIMASA Board and one of the most powerful person in the agency.
The NIMASA former Executive Director, Finance and Administration, and now ,Director General of the NIMASA. may have convinced his sponsors for the Position and the Presidency that he understands the language of the Industry when he published a book, ‘’Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Asset’’ in 2018. He may have won the heart of the Cabal in the Presidency who saw it as a pragmatic approach to reviving the nation’s comatose maritime sector. The seven chapter book, according to NIMASA source gave an insight of what the Maritime Regulatory agency needed to do to bring the indigenous ship owners back to life.
Perhaps, what may have drawn the attention o f the President to select him as a replacementnt for Peterside was the Chapter on the book that has to do with ‘’charting a future framework for the Nigerian Maritime Industry. The President. Asource said believes that since he had an indepth idea about the industry .he should be given the opportunity to implement such ideas described as very pragmatic, that could more jobs in the Industry.
There are indications that the President may have informed Senator Saraki, the minister of state , Transportation , overseeing the nation’s maritime Industry but she kept it a closely guided secret. Moreso, the President may have taken the decision because he is not going to seek for any elective office again. Amaechi, the minister of Transportation who may not wanted to cross path with the President a chief Executive oficer under his ministry could be removed without his knowledge had made people to know that the President has the Constitutional powers to hire and fire any of his political appointees.
Unconfirmed report said there have been petitions flying left and right against him since it has become obvious that he is leaving office on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, an indication that he may go through what past Director Generals of the agency went through in the hands of the Ibrahim Magu led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.