At last, the Federal Government has appointed Mr. Dikko Bala Tahir as the Alternate Permanent Representative(APR) to the International Maritime Organisation(IMO). Dikko is to replace Capt. Olugbade Ibrahim Adegboyega, the APR who is due to retire from service in November 19, 2015
In a letter of appointment sent to Dikko from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) and signed by the Director of Administration and Personnel Services, Mr. Ibrahim Jibril, the agency stated:” Iam pleased to convey the approval of the Honourable Minister of Transport of your appointment as Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO dated 27th May, 2015, with Ref. No. MT 206/S.6/TB/685.
“ Your release is with effect from 9th October, 2015 in order for you to understudy the current Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative who is retiring on the 19th November,2015 which is your effective date of resumption”, the letter added.
Dikko is still a NIMASA staff on Grade Level 16 as a Deputy Director just like Capt. Olugbade. Dikko is expected to report to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport for further directives.
By this letter it means the purported extension of Capt. Olugbade’s service is a ruse.He is retiring after 35 meritorious years of service which saw him working in the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line(NNSL), Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) and then NIMASA.
DIkko, on the other hand was seconded to the former Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar as Special Adviser from NIMASA and so when the request for an APR to IMO came up the Minister nominated him despite strong opposition from the deposed embattled Director General of NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi who had a different candidate.
An APR as the name suggests is the maritime expert attached to the Nigeria’s High Commissioner to United Kingdom(UK) to seat in his place in crucial meetings of the IMO which comes regularly in London since the High Commissioner is usually saddled with too many national issues and lacks time and the needed concentration to attend all IMO meetings.
However, lately Dikko choice became a subject of controversy over his technical competence and sufficient exposure to maritime matters to adequately represent Nigeria in IMO. At that point, many Nigerians had asked that the position be thrown open to all the parastatals under the ministry of transport to present the most qualified candidate.