By Kenneth Jukpor
As the entire maritime community in Nigeria mourns the demise of a former Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Capt. Adamu Biu, the loss is one that would be felt across the nation’s shipping industry.
Capt Biu was the third and immediate past Executive Secretary/CEO of NSC and served two terms between 2004 and 2012, stabilizing the Council at its most critical phase.
The present Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello referred to Capt. Biu as a rare gem who personified professionalism, astute administration and knowledge.
Biu brought his wealth of experience as a Master Mariner to connect the NSC to the industry and is credited with pioneering works on dry ports and the regulatory status of the NSC.
He was an internationalist who worked assiduously with Shippers’ Councils in Africa thereby bringing regional collaboration which subsists till date.
MMS Plus reached out to some of Capt. Biu’s trained hands, his Personal Assistants, colleagues, an NSC Director influenced by Biu and the head of Senior Staff Union during Biu’s administration as CEO at NSC.
Mr. Moses Fadipe was the President of the Senior Staff Association during Capt. Biu’s administration at NSC
The death of Capt. Biu came as a great shock to us; we didn’t expect it. Captain was somebody I was very close to. I spoke with him less than two weeks before his death and there was no sign that something would happen to him anytime soon.
I worked closely with him for eight years. When I was the President of the Senior Staff Association in NSC, Capt. Biu was the CEO.
You can imagine what it means for a labour leader to work with the CEO of an organization. It’s usually not a rosy experience but you have to maintain what we call good industrial relations.
Captain was an epitome of humility, equality, and a peace loving man to the core. For instance, if you get your facts right, he was a leader who will give you the support when your facts are right. At every point in time, he was ready and willing to direct as a team leader. He took the career growth of all members of staff very seriously and encouraged staff capacity development in terms of training.
He would never joke with the welfare of his staff, no matter the circumstances. He was very transparent, and always ready to sit down with you to ponder solutions on how to develop or handle situations to make everybody happy and productive.
Beyond NSC, his death is a loss to the industry because he came into the Council as a Master Marina and he gave direction to the organization. Anyway, I’m short of words now that he is no more with us.
May Allah grant him eternal rest!
A Director at NSC who preferred anonymity said:
Capt. Biu was such an amazing fellow, a team leader and team builder, an amazing talent manager. He loved his workers, the workplace and treated the NSC workforce like his family. At times he could bend backwards to see that he’s workers excel.
He was very supportive especially when he believed in a cause or believed in a person or saw something promising in a person. He was equally a father that was pretty frank in his appraisals. He would tell you the area you got things wrong and use his life experiences to teach you.
There was nothing he didn’t have as a competent leader, even on his mistakes he would own up to them and explain his reasons. He loved to see the young ones grow through the ranks. He believed that where he had reached in his career should just be the start point for those coming behind him. He really didn’t look down on anybody.
I worked with him during the period he pioneered the affairs of the Shippers’ Council and he was an exemplary leader. There was no iota of tribalism or religious sentiments with Capt. Biu; he would support you as long as you could deliver on the job.
Having been a Master Marina who had been to many ports around the world, he looked forward to Nigerian ports that would be business oriented and display topnotch services. He would be deeply missed by the industry and there is no doubt about it. He was a committed officer; a gentleman with a great polish of excellence.
There was a time the Presidency asked him to cut down staff at the Council but he lamented that he needed more workforce and not less. When he was pressured, he put up a huge sum with massive benefits and told the government that he would disengage the workers if they were paid that sum in full. He made it more difficult to pay off the workers than to retain them. The government couldn’t bring that huge amount and he assured that he could turn the Council around. His demise is really sad.
Mr. Bashir Ambi was Capt. Biu’s Personal Assistant at NSC for 8 years.
Capt. Biu was more than a boss to me, he was my father.
I was privileged to serve Capt. Biu throughout his two tenures as his Personal Assistant. He was an upright man who would always say to me, don’t get involved in contracts. I never handled any contract despite my crucial role as his Personal Assistant. I learnt a lot of great qualities that have shaped my life and career from him. I learnt discipline, sincerity of purpose and dedication. These are qualities he displayed and ensured that his workers carried this along.
He would always say that whosoever we see on the street, we should always be respectful because we never know when we would be going to the graveyard or the circumstances that would lead to one’s death.
He was truly a father that taught us the importance of integrity. He was a man blessed with ideas, yet humble and accommodating. Capt. Biu was a guru in the maritime industry, yet he was intelligent enough to listen to the counsel and opinions of others. I loved him dearly.
Capt. Tajudeen Alao is the President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM)
Capt. Biu was a foremost Master Mariner and an international shipping practitioner. He was a maritime guru and everything about him was centered on shipping.
He was a true icon of maritime in Nigeria, whose career started as a cadet in a shipping company, before rising to a Master Mariner and after a Managing Director of African Ocean Lines and Niger Brass.
He later established his company which was into ship chartering. He later became the Chief Executive of Shippers’ Council and his over 50 years were spent in the maritime sector. His life revolved around the oceans and the cargoes.
Biu was a very close colleague that was fair in everything he did. He had the fear of God and this guided his principles, deeds and actions.
As a friend, he would send me Jumaah prayer posts every Friday and when his son called me to inform me of his demise I was shaken.
Adamu was a jolly-good fellow who loved jazz music, soul music and he always reached out to everyone around him. He was a vital member of NAMM and Master Mariners really miss him.
Capt. Biu came, he saw and he conquered.
God probably has a ship up there and he has taken Capt. Biu up there.