Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Emmanuel Jime is at the crossroads of diverging roads at this moment as an individual in his life’s journey. In the above first and last stanzas, Robert Frost in his poem, “The Road Not Taken” captures the dilemma of a lonely traveler torn in between choices and uncertainties. His decision or choice of future action is of utmost significance since the decision decides his destiny .The poet, Robert Frost, through this poem asserts the importance of the right decision at the right time. In life we have to make our choices; sometimes we have to make these choices without the full understanding of the state of affairs. Even then, we should arrive at a decision only after carefully considering all the crucial moments that will determine and change the path of our life. Hence, the poem stresses the need for deep and critical analysis of the situation before we arrive at a life-transforming decision.
The maritime industry makes or mars political careers, so there is a decision to be made and a life will be changed, perhaps forever. Examples of victims of political career misadventure in the industry abound. It is, therefore, expected that Jime will take the road less travelled by that will make the difference. How can he achieve this?
Last week, this column, The Sperm espoused the modest contributions of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to the economy under the immediate past Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Hassan Bello and his dynamic leadership style that attracted the fortunes, as a reference for the in-coming CEO of the Council, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Jime and many other public servants. Jime was urged to strive to surpass the gains or sustain the tempo, at worst.
However, as he assumes office this week, many of the Council’s members of staff are curious and asking too many questions wrapped in uncertainties that resonate in choices. Unfortunately, their choices are cast on Jime’s choices of either making a positive difference with them or drifting away with political dreams.
Jime’s profile as a formidable politician in his state has thrown up fears that he might be contesting another election in 2023. And if this fear is anything to go by, it simply means that the performances of the Council will be jeopardized or derailed and focus blighted. He will be torn between reality and shadow. It also means that between his time of resumption and 2023, NSC will be, at best, a ‘dangling modifier’ because the entire 2022 is invariably a political year by Nigeria’s political calendar. Governance usually takes flight for politics in parastatals and ministries, especially where the sitting minister or agency head aspires for a political position.
Former Director –General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside and the sitting Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu, are good examples of parastatal heads whose political aspirations eclipsed their agencies performances. Dakuku came highly rated in his state, engendering high hopes and expectations from industry stakeholders. Today, all that have become castles built in the air. Back in his state, his political rating took a break.
From the day he took office as the head of NIWA on 7th October,2019, Moghalu did not hide the fact that he had his eyes on becoming the governor of Anambra State. This aspiration of his left NIWA rudderless at best. With his unfortunate outing at the just concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries, NIWA may find its direction soon. What he lost, NIWA gains in choice and uncertainty.
NSC is in search of advancement and positioning to deliver its brief as the port economic regulator and so it needs a man who can seize the day, to make a remarkable difference even if on a lonely route divided by an accretion of choice and chance. The Council offers eight years of unbroken leadership with certainty which is divorced from that next political gambling.