This week’s guest on maritime life is an employee of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who has put in about 32 years of service.
He is a former president of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporation, Transport and Communication (SSASCTAC).
Comrade Umar Omeiza Jimoh is not in any way strange to the media. Outspoken, intelligent and knowledgeable about national issues.
In this interview, you will get closer to the great philanthropist through knowing some things you hitherto did not know about him.
What is your full name?
My name is Umar Omeiza Jimoh, Senior Manager, Tariff and Billing, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
What were the positions you held in the senior staff Union?
I was the Deputy President General of SSASCGOC before disengaging owing to the promotion I got in the office.
Before then, I was the President of SSASCGOC, Maritime branch for two terms
Where are you from?
I am from Okene in Kogi state. I am an Ebira by tribe. I grew up and had my primary and secondary schools in Okene.
Tell us the schools you attended.
I attended Etahi Community Primary school. I left in 1976, I went to Okene Secondary school and finished in June, 1982 and proceeded to the then Kwara School of Technology now Kwara Polytechnic.
I came to Lagos and joined NPA in 1988 and entered UNILAG same year.
What’s your favourite colour?
My colour is white. White is synonymous with truth. If you put on white and it gets stained, it will be pronounced and you just have to change it.
What sports have you ever engaged in?
When I was young, I represented my primary and secondary schools in football competitions but when I was in the school of technology, I was in School of Basic Studies (SBS).
What were the things that existed when you were growing up that are no longer in place today in our society?
When I was growing up, in the communities surrounding us, you can hardly differentiate between people and anyone could discipline you then and when your parents got to know, they would go and thank the person that disciplined you,
We used to mingle then and we were going to one another’s homes so much that we would wait for one another when we were set for school and all the parents were lovers of children then. Nobody discriminated against anyone then. I enjoyed that then. If you were yet to pay your school fees then, another person would pay for you and would not even tell your father except you the child told your parents about it. That is why most of us then are still very close friends till date.
How many wives do you have?
I have more than one wife. I married at the age of 25. It was the following year after I got this job that I married my wife.
How do you relax these days?
I stay with my family most times especially weekends, I stay indoor most times and I read newspapers, articles and books a lot.
I have limited time visiting people.
Your favourite food
It is my local soup called Ebatu with our own amala (yam flour). The Ebatu soup is made from the bigger garden eggs. It is very nutritious. When I was in Warrington, I was used to Edika ikong, it is also my favourite. I take a lot of fruits too.
What were your memorable experiences in your unionism days?
I don’t want to go into that for now. But in Nigeria, people see Union as antagonist to management but in my own time, it was collaborative.
That is why you can see that the industry has grown from what it was years ago. That is one thing I am proud of. We worked to see that the project Nigeria waxed stronger.
Do you see yourself become the paramount leader of Ebira land or community leader after you retired from NPA?
Anything that comes man’sway is God’s gift. I cannot tell you this is what I am aspiring to be. It is whatever God brings.
What’s your belief about life?
Do unto others what you want others do unto you. Wait for God’s time and don’t jump the gun, don’t look for position by force because God will remove you by force.
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