Dr Dakuku Peterside; The Acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked the Acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Mr Haruna Baba Jauro and appointed former APC Governorship candidate in Rivers State and former member of House of Representatives; Dr Dakuku Peterside to replace him. A statement signed by Yetunde Sonaike, the Director, Public Relations, Ministry of Transportation in Abuja said that the appointment was with immediate effect. Peterside was the governorship candidate of APC in April.11, 2015 governorship election in River state and also a former member, House of Representative from 2011 to 2015. According to the statement, Peterside has a Doctorate Degree in Management Science from the University of Port Harcourt and MBA in Business Administration. He also holds a Bachelor Degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences (B.MLS) in Hematology from Rivers State University of Science and Technology. But, maritime industry stakeholders yesterday received news of Peterside's appointment with scepticism, even as some of them expressed doubts about his background and knowledge of the maritime sector. Speaking with Shipping Position Daily, a ship owner, Capt Deji Abegunde stated pointedly that Hon. Peterside may have been appointed to get his own slice of cake at NIMASA and not necessarily to contribute anything to the system. He said that NIMASA is in a very terrible and delicate situation that needs to be fixed urgently and failure to get a professional to head the agency, the Federal Government should scrap it totally. Capt. Abegunde who is the owner of the ill fated ship, MT Nicky 'C' told our correspondent that: "The situation in NIMASA is so terrible that we need somebody that will salvage that place or it should be scrapped completely, so we don't just want government to bring anybody to that place that will come and start listening to somebody before he could work" "NIMASA is already down and we don't need anybody that will start experimenting, we need somebody to move the place forward "We need technocrats and not political appointments, they should look for somebody that cannot be bamboozled, maybe they appointed Peterside to come and make his own money at NIMASA" the ship owner stated. Also speaking with our correspondent, former president of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) Capt Adewale Ishola expressed doubts about the background of Peterside. Captain Ishola stated that the NIMASA Act has been jettisoned completely in matters relating to the appointment of head of the agency. "If you look at NIMASA Act, the law is there, we need somebody who has a professional background in various fields in the maritime sector to head NIMASA, the Act is there, it's just that they are not implementing it, but we are advising the government to allow a professional to head NIMASA" he said On his part, former President of Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transporters Senior Staff Association, Capt Thomas Kemewereigha said that Hon. Dakuku Peterside is a strong member of APC government that contested elections in Rivers State and he deserved to be compensated. He however cautioned that NIMASA is a sensitive parastatal and that as a flag state, it is established by an Act that must be followed. Capt Thomas warned that NIMASA is no longer at an experimental stage, but it is at a performance stage. He said that if government makes a mistake to appoint a politician without knowledge of the sector to head the agency, it would amount to moving ten steps backwards. "I don't know much about Dakuku, but I know he was in the House of Reps at a time, I don't know the committee he belonged to, but it is not out of place that government has appointed him as the DG of NIMASA, he is a very serious member of APC, haven contested and lost in Rivers State, he has to be compensated" "But the bottom line is that, is the appointment in line with the NIMASA Act? Does he have knowledge of the maritime industry?" Also reacting, Secretary General, Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association; Comrade Julius Efokpor lamented that the appointment of the new NIMASA helmsman was quite unfortunate and sad that a technocrat was not appointed for the job. According to him, the APC since it took over governance has allegedly been appointing the wrong people to head key positions in government agencies and parastatals. Efokpor stated that Dakuku’s appointment is not acceptable, adding that is a setback for the maritime industry. "How can government appoint Peterside Dakuku to be DG of NIMASA?, somebody that does not have any experience in maritime" "For me, it is just another wrong appointment by this APC led government, they keep making the same mistakes since they took over from the last administration" Efokpor noted that the appointment of the Rivers State politician and that of the minister of transports, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi will take the sector backward because of their background that has nothing to do with maritime operations. "He may learn faster though, but a technocrat would be able to hit the ground running to achieve his mandate as DG NIMASA" "The bitter truth is that the same man will come to the system and start re-organizing the place to suit his taste; which may not be well with the industry”, he added.