Stakeholders in the maritime industry have expressed divergent views over Government’s appointment yesterday, of Dr. Peterside Dakuku as the substantive Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
In the press statement made available to newsmen yesterday, the Federal Ministry of Transportation appointed Peterside as the substantive DG with immediate effect.
In their various reactions, while some applauded the appointment others asked the government to always revert to the Act that established the agency.
Others yet again, flayed the Federal government for allegedly dancing to the wishes of the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi who is believed to be a political ally of the new DG.
NIMASA Act prescribed that only those with adequate skills, exposures or background in: Maritime Safety, Security, Pollution, Nautical Sciences and Hydrography; as well as Maritime Engineering, Marine Law, Transport Logistics and Marine Labour were qualified to be so appointed.
However, speaking with newsmen, the Secretary General, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Tunji Brown praised the recent appointment saying his association had been waiting for the appointment of a substantive DG for long.
Referring to Dr Dakuku, a former legislator who recently contested the Rivers Stake gubernatorial election, but lost, Brown said the new DG “is not a novice in the industry as he was appointed the chairman, house Committee on Downstream. He was in the House of Representatives and he has knowledge about the industry.”
However, a renowned Shipowner who pleaded anonymity disagrees with Brown saying Peterside is a stooge of the minister of Transportation.
“I have reservations against this appointment. We all know the relationship between Peterside and Amaechi, so the appointment to me is not the best but at the appropriate time, I will make my opinion known,” the Shipowner said.
When asked further what the relationship between the two was, he said, “Are you telling me you don’t know it was Amaechi that made him APC candidate in Rivers State? We all know Peterside is Amaechi’s stooge.”
Also speaking, Capt. Adewale Ishola said the appointment was a tough one as critical stakeholders have called for appointment of stakeholders in the industry.
Ishola, a former president of the National Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) however asked the President to appoint maritime experts on the board of the agency.
“That is a tough one. We have been saying they (government) should follow NIMASA Act in making appointment but government have a way of doing their things and so there is barely anything we can do.
“But, the man should surround himself with professionals who can show him the way because we have said this all this while but the government have refused to listen to us.
“We complained about Akpobolokemi we can only plead that they allowed industry stakeholders and professional to be part of top management to direct them in the right way.”
In his own submission, a maritime Lawyer, Emeka Akabogu said the absence of a substantive DG at NIMASA for nine month had stagnated the agency.
Akabogu said, “NIMASA has been without a substantive Director General for almost nine months and things have evidently been at a standstill. In view of this and the strategic importance of the agency, I welcome the appointment of Dr. Dakuku Peterside at this time.
“It is the prerogative of the President to appoint, and he has done so. The challenges ahead are significant and I urge all stakeholders to give the new Director General the support required,” Akabogu stated.
Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, Dakuku served twice as Rivers State Commissioner for works (2007-2011) where he anchored Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s phenomenal transformation of Roads and Infrastructural landscape of Rivers State.
He concurrently served on the Board of Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority (GPHCDA).