· Tonye Cole tipped to face Magnus Abe
· NIMASA Executive Director Launches Book On Maritime Assets
In a surprise move on Thursday last week, the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi dropped the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside as the 2019 governorship candidate for Rivers State under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The billionaire oil dealer and co-founder of Sahara Group, Tonye Patrick Dele-Cole has emerged Amaechi’s preferred candidate for the forthcoming 2019 elections, ending speculations of Dakuku’s possible resignation from NIMASA to contest the 2019 gubernatorial election.
Amaechi-led caucus in the Rivers State chapter of APC did the endorsement at a meeting on Thursday last week, setting the ground for a possible grudge match between the camp and Senator Magnus Abe.
The news of Dakuku’s possible resignation in NIMASA had become so tense that hopes were raised in certain quarters within that his exit would create opportunities for a lively NIMASA, especially to some members of staff who often allege marginalization. Some senior members of staff had engaged themselves in personality positioning to occupy the position, while grand lobby for the position had begun in earnest.
MMS Plus gathered that there was a plan for the national chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomole to present a candidate for the position. Oshiomole’s candidate was one of the names in the list compiled for him even before his assumption of office as the party’s national chairman.
Dakuku’s anticipated exit from the agency had attracted mixed feelings among the maritime industry stakeholders. On hearing about his planned exit, some expressed disbelief with the expression of sympathy passed on to a person in a pensive mood, with interjection of why he would leave the known to the unknown. While some other category of stakeholders said he should stay and give his job the attention it deserves, others wanted him out.
With the turn of events now, NIMASA will become a battle ground for political shadow-boxing soon as those who had maintained some silence and patience in anticipation of scoring some career and financial mileage with the exit of Dakuku have been disappointed and as such the only way to occupy their dream positions is to push and lobby where and when necessary.
The NIMASA boss was the immediate past candidate for the 2015 governorship election under APC in Rivers State and lost to the sitting Governor, Chief. Nyesom Wike.
In what could pass for his acceptance statement issued by Dakuku himself, he said: ’Dear compatriots, yesterday our leader Rt. Hon. C. R. Amaechi, whom we all subscribe to his leadership made a decision of whom we should back for the office of the Governor of Rivers State in 2019.
“The lot fell on my friend and brother in Christ, Tonye Dele Cole. I made a commitment to the group earlier to stand by whatever decision the leader makes in the overall interest of the party and Rivers State. I reiterated my position yesterday in the leadership meeting. I thus stand by the decision on Tonye Dele Cole.
“We have toiled from 2013 to date (a period of five years) and have made sacrifices and lost lives in the course of enthroning the kind of government we want in Rivers State; a government that will guarantee peace, unity and prosperity. In the course of the struggle, we bonded as one indivisible family under God.
Noting that “the decision by the Leader has been met with mixed reactions, which is expected, he appealed that, “We allow the greater interest of APC and Rivers State to prevail”, adding that “those who believe in the vision I shared in the past 5 years, the leadership I gave at various times and the path of loyalty to the cause I have chosen over time , I urge you all to stand by the Leader, the party and the ordinary people of Rivers State in support of TDC”.
He said, “I personally pledge my loyalty to the Leader and the decision he has made. I enjoin all my supporters to queue behind our leader, CRA and ensure total victory for our party. I pray for unity among the members of APC and victory in the 2019 election.”
Dakuku has been accused severally of abandoning NIMASA job to suffer as he spends more time playing politics than working for the agency.
However, Amaechi has been commended for taking the best decision on retaining Dakuku in NIMASA by some observers who argued that the agency as a cash-cow for Amaechi’s hold on the central should not slip off him otherwise he is finished politically, especially when he has not gained Rivers State from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Therefore, it is better to field another person for the Rivers State governorship election and maintain NIMASA as a financial base.
In a related development, a book titled: “Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets – Past, Present and Future”authored by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of NIMASA, Mr. Bashir Jamoh was launched on Tuesday, last week.
The book which chronicles events in Nigeria’s maritime industry was launched at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja Tuesday, by President Muhammadu Buhari who was the Special Guest of Honour, while the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was the Guest of Honour.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion included; the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi as the Chairman of the occasion, Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai and the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside as Chief Hosts.
Others were; former Executive Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Executive Governors of Lagos and Ogun State, Akinwunmi Ambode and Ibikunle Amosun respectively, Emir of Zauzau, HRH, Dr. Shehu Idris and the Emir of Kano, HRH, Sanusi Lamido II as Royal Fathers of the day among other notable Nigerians.
Speaking at the book launch, Mr. Jamoh said; “the maritime sector is very critical to the growth of the economy, hence the need to do all we can as Nigerians to preserve it. This public book presentation is my own way of contributing to the growth of the sector and also to point policy makers, operators and scholars to the direction of sustainably developing the nation’s maritime assets”.
The NIMASA Executive Director is a seasoned administrator with over 25 years’ experience in the maritime sector. He is currently a Ph.D student at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), specializing in Logistics and Transport Management.