“ We are doomed”- Workers
- Stakeholders disappointed,play caution, set agenda
- Media divided over Dakuku
With the appointment of Dr. Dakuku Peterside as the new Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), Thursday, last week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has arrested and detained Mr. Baba Jauro, the immediate past acting director-general of the agency.
Jauro, who will soon be arraigned in court on an 8- count charge by EFCC for alleged complicity in the gross misappropriation of the agency’s funds by the last executive management of the establishment headed by Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, was arrested on Tuesday last week.
MMS plus gathered that EFCC had written the Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi intimating him of their plan to arraign Jauro following which the Minister, who had gotten a blanket approval from President Mohammed Buhari to effect changes in the maritime industry cashed in on the opportunity to fill the vacuum with his political loyalist, Dakuku without recourse to the list of names before the President.
As at press time, however, MMS Plus could not lay hands on the EFCC letter to the Minister, detailing the 8-count charge, but this was a good opportunity for Amaechi to act fast, to avoid creating a vacuum in the leadership of NIMASA, which had suffered leadership inertia for months on account of the acting status of Jauro, who was never present to work, as he was absent from office most times three weeks at a stretch lobbying for confirmation or attending to the demands of the EFCC.
This further explains why the press statement announcing the appointment of Dakuku was issued by the Deputy Director, Press, Ms. Yetunde Sonaike in the Federal Ministry of Transport instead of any of the Buhari’s media aides as usual. This slant, it was gathered had created some doubt on whether Dakuku in NIMASA is a popular choice among the party big-wigs or an Amaechi’s consequential candidate, especially against the background that the ruling party had zeroed in on a politician from Benue State, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, who was said to have made a greater sacrifice for the party in the last gubernatorial elections.
While the executive management of NIMASA is being expected to be composed, MMS Plus gathered that the EFCC had found Jauro culpable to the extent that they had allegedly discovered that he acquired four properties in different locations as the Executive Director, Administration and Finance of NIMASA.
Consequently, the crime agency had seized the properties in choice areas in Nigeria. One at Rayfield in Jos, Plateau State; One in Maitama, Abuja, said to have acquired in his daughter’s name; one in Park view, Ikoyi, Lagos and another at Lekki, Lagos.
Meanwhile, the appointment of Dakuku as the director general of NIMASA came as a surprise to many maritime stakeholders who had thought that the All Progressive Congress(APC) led Federal Government of Nigeria was determined to change the fortunes of the industry through the appointment of technocrats to head maritime agencies so as to produce the needed results. In NIMASA, last week, many members of staff felt that Dakuku is another Akpobolokemi, a merciless militant. A reaction from one them was: “ We are doomed!”
From the stakeholders, APC has deepened the drift started by the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) as Dakuku is said to lack the expertise and experience to move the agency and the industry forward.
Dakuku was the governorship candidate of the APC in the April 11, 2015 election, he was elected member, House of Representatives, where he served as Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources-Downstream. He holds a doctorate degree in Management Science(Organisational Behaviour) from the University of PortHarcourt, MBA in Business Administration and a Bachelor in Medical Labouratory Science(B.MLs) in Haematology from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Rivers State.
A former director general of NIMASA in a speech last week said Dakuku’s appointment is a breach of NIMASA Act of 2007 as he has no expertise in the industry but if he is intelligent he could catch up with ‘things’ under 18 months minimum. However, he should beware of those who could come around to mislead him both from within and outside NIMASA.
According to a port concessionaire who does not want his name mentioned,” Dakuku’s appointment has raised a lot of moral questions, going by NIMASA history. You can imagine Amaechi bringing his own candidate to head NIMASA. NIMASA and the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) should not be headed by politicians. These are two critical institutions that should not be left in the hands of politicians because these are the two parastatals that drive the policy directions of the government in the maritime sector. They both need professionals to drive them.”
Reacting, the Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council(NPCC), Otunba Kunle Folarin,” NIMASA is the apex of the maritime regulation that relates with international bodies. The new leader has to draw a new road- map for the agency given what has happened in the industry in the last one year. He has to see if NIMASA has to be unbundled or restructured but the important thing is that he has to face maritime security and safety seriously. He has to face shipping development, regulation, pollution control, wreck removal, making the sea free for navigation, looking at capacity development in real terms, not only for seafarers but for other mariners who are in charge of safety and security to build a formidable institution that can be compared with its counterparts globally. This is the agenda that will be rewarding to the industry. He should also look at generating revenue for the government, by blocking all the leakages in their financial system and be able to contribute to the new agenda, which means,” Maritime is the key now”.
Interestingly, too, Dakuku’s emergence has not only divided the maritime media along ethnic and expected pecuniary lines but even some of the national dailies as at last week cautioned some of their reporters not to question Dakuku’s appointment as the director general as a negation of the NIMASA Act.