On Wednesday March 11th, 2020, there would be a change of guard at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the incumbent Director General, Dakuku Peterside, winds down his first term of four-year tenure on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020.
On Wednesday, Bashir Jamoh, who till Tuesday, March 10th, 2020, is the Executive Director, Finance and Administration in the agency, would take over the mantle of leadership as the new Director-General of NIMASA.
As much as the ascension of Jamoh to the top position in NIMASA enjoyed an overwhelming industry support and endorsement, it was however crafted in drama.
Apart from a few industry stakeholders, of whom we are among, the appointment of Jamoh caught many napping, including Dakuku who has strong ambition to bag the second term based on his achievements as NIMASA DG and his strong political affinity with Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation.
Ameachi, considered to be a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, is no less shocked and yet to come to terms with the non-renewal of Dakuku’s second term.
Nevertheless, we don’t what to get enmeshed in the politics and drama of the ascension of Jamoh to NIMASA’s top job.
Neither would we want to be bothered by the apparent deep sense of disappointment that currently envelopes Dakuku for losing out in the high wire politics of NIMASA top job and Amaechi’s emotions for having his political ego badly bruised.
However, we are convinced, just like the numerous industry operators, that Jamoh is eminently qualified for the lucrative job.
As they say, he is a round peg in a round hole.
Apart from being a homegrown, thoroughbred professional, Jamoh has intimidating credentials in Transport and Logistics management which is complemented by rich experience.
With a PhD in Logistics and transport management and over 32 years of professional experience in the transportation and maritime sector, Jamoh is roundly moulded for the top job.
We are sure that the Kaduna -State-born technocrat will bring his wealth of experience to bear on the fortunes of NIMASA and the industry in general.
We are especially excited that Jamoh, who rose through the ranks in the agency, has first-hand knowledge of the challenges of the industry.
Apart from John Egesi and George Mbanefo Eneh, who were appointed DG from within the agency at different times under the National Maritime Authority (NMA), Bashir Jamoh has the rare privilege of being the first “indigenous” DG since 2006 when NIMASA crystallised from the merger of former NMA and Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (JOMALIC).
With the benefit of hindsight, we have no doubt about the capacity of Jamoh to bring a fresh perspective into the industry.
An industry that is weighed down by under-utilisation of its vast and huge potentials.
An industry that is bogged down by low performance, insecurity, pirate attacks, lack of capacity of indigenous operators and other encumbrances that have stalled the growth of the industry.
We are not however taking anything away from Dakuku Peterside.
Even though he left it a bit late, Dakuku changed the narratives of the agency through his reform programmes that made the government parastatal a global brand.
Under Dakuku, the industry got global recognition due to some of the policies and programmes initiated and pursued by his management.
He sought to revamp and reform the moribund ship registry in the country, called global attention to the menace of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, increased domain awareness and enhanced maritime security through multi-layer collaboration with security agencies.
To us, Dakuku should be proud to leave the stage with his head held high because of what we consider to be his achievements that have impacted on the industry positively.
Notwithstanding his faults and other shortcomings, we think history will be kind to Dakuku Peterside when the story of the Nigeria Maritime industry is written.
That is why we are much elated that if Dakuku, who came to the industry as an outsider, a greenhorn, so to speak, could do the much he did in the face of the daunting challenges, we are confident that the new DG, Bashir Jamoh, will do more being an old kid on the block.
We believe that with his wealth of experience, the quantum of goodwill he enjoys among the operators, including the critical maritime press corps, Jamoh should make a world of difference in surmounting the daunting challenges of the industry.
We therefore wish the new NIMASA DG well in his new but onerous assignment of moving the maritime industry to an enviable height.
We will like to remind the new DG that as a man on the saddle, all hopes and expectations of operators will be on him to surpass the achievements of Dakuku.
As a tested technocrat and an industry person with a robust experience, Jamoh should know that his new assignment is not a tea party as he must not only meet the expectations of the industry operators but surpass them.
The new DG has his job cut out for him.
As an insider who has about 32 years of industry experience under his belt, he was also part of the ousted Dakuku administration.
These criteria stand him in good stead to have a correct diagnosis of the problems and challenges of the industry.
He should expand the frontier of the reforms initiated by his immediate predecessor in the areas of maritime security, enhancement of capacity for indigenous operators, revamping the ship registry, increased capacity for search and rescue operations, domain awareness, shipping development, increased cabotage activities and friendly operating environment.
What will make the new DG a shining star is if he could endeavour to persuade the recalcitrant Amaechi to disburse the controversial Cabotage Vessels Financing Funds (CVFF) to empower some of the indigenous ship owners whose businesses have been emasculated.
Also, shipping development and capability building for the languishing indigenous operators, most of who are either out of business or barely existing under heavy financial burden, should be given a priority.
The last but not the least, the new DG should form a close alliance with the maritime press.
He should not isolate them nor treat them with ignominy but cultivate their support and utilise their services to enhance his administration’s service delivery.
This is the area his predecessor fatally faltered and we encourage him not to make similar mistake.
If he doesn’t want to lose the vital support of the press, the new DG should scrutinise the activities of his public relations department for which overwhelming majority of maritime journalists have reservations.
We cannot but wish Dr Bashir Jamoh a heavy dose of luck, wisdom and God’s guidance to succeed in this huge national assignment.
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