Dakuku, Politician Turned Maritime Administrator

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Not many politicians remain relevant after losing a major election. But not Dakuku Peterside. His stewardship as Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is a testimony to the fact that you don’t have to be a governor to serve your country‎, writes Tobi Soniyi

In our climes, it is not always easy to find a politician or a top government official worthy of commendation. But that is changing. Luckily enough we find one: Dr Dakuku Peterside, the Director General of the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

At the Federal Executive Council meeting held on September 13, 2017 revenue generating agencies were discussed after it was discovered that there had been a sudden increase in revenues generated by some agencies. In the affected agencies, the only thing that had changed was the leadership. NIMASA is one of agencies.The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is another.

Consequently, FEC gave instruction that past leaders of these agencies be probed to discover why the agencies did not remit as much revenues as they are doing now.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who briefed council about the performances of some government agencies, said JAMB for the first time remitted N5 billion to the coffers of the government with a balance of N3 billion still to be remitted compared to only N3 million per annum remitted in the past.

JAMB in July announced the remittance of N5 billion to the Federal Government which happens to be the highest so far in the last 40 years of its existence.

She said the disparity in the remittances of the two agencies in the past necessitated the decision to probe all previous heads of the two agencies (NIMASA and JAMB).

Appointed on March 10, 2016, by President Muhammadu Buhari, Peterside inherited an agency with battered image. With a doctorate degree in management science, Peterside quickly settled in the job and tried as much as possible to put the scandal which the agency was plunged into by the previous management behind him.

When he was appointed, he stated that NIMASA, being a regulatory and enforcement Agency was set to ensure that it accomplished its core mandate in a way that would serve the best interest of Nigerians within a dynamic and complex economic environment. That was his promise. And that is what he is doing.

Less than two years in the saddle, he had proved to be one of the best appointments made by the president so far. There is no denying the fact that some of the let downs which this administration had recorded were the direct result of the appointments made by the president.

As parts of effort to restore the nation’s credibility and leadership position in the continent, NIMASA under his watch hosted two Sub-Regional Technical Committee meetings to build regional network in responding to distress calls on time.

As a result of initiatives put in place by the new leadership, NIMASA recorded less than 10 maritime accidents in the last one year compared to previous accidents recorded. Recorded also shows that it foiled seven of 11 cases of pirate attacks recorded in Nigerian waters. He is un-relentlessly pushing for the passage of anti-piracy bills for a safer Nigerian maritime domain.

The increase in revenue generated by NIMASA did not happen by accident. It was the result of strategic thinking put in place by the new leadership under Peterside. NIMASA now operates a 24-hour surveillance system to capture vessels in the Nigerian maritime domain irrespective of weather conditions. The fall out of this is that the surveillance system has reduced NIMASA billing operational time from 72 hours down to 24 hours. Peterside believes that this is not good enough and he is working towards 6 hours billing More ports are now ISPS compliant, which makes Nigeria to be rated 80 per cent compliant higher than her assigned 13 per cent compliant level 5 years ago.
.NIMASA has secured Minister of Transportation’s approval to increase number of search and rescue marshalls from 100 to 1000 for safety boat users in Nigeria

Peterside has since discovered that the only fewer Nigerians are benefiting from the maritime sector and he is determined to change that. Over 60 per cent of workers onboard vessels operating under the Cabotage regime are now Nigerians compared to less than 12 per cent of Nigerians onboard vessels operating in Nigerian waters before the implementation of Cabotage regime in 2003.

He is working hard to enforce Sections 36 and 37 of NIMASA Act 2007 to build indigenous capacities in shipping.
NIMASA has also taken delivery of the 5th largest modular floating dockyard on the African continent soon, which will help Nigeria save $100m annually.

The result of the new focus in NIMASA is that the world has taken notice. It received commendation from the United States Coast Guard.

In order to continue to meet international standards NIMASA adopted corrective measures as recommended by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) report in June 2016.

He had successfully changed affreightment of Nigerian cargo especially crude oil lifting from Free On Board trade term to Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) arrangement in favour of indigenous operators.

. NIMASA registered 370 vessels with a total tonnage of almost 420,000 GRT in 12 months compared to 262 vessels with a total tonnage of slightly over 232,000 GRT registered in 2015.

The maritime regulatory agency concludes audit of 16 maritime training institutions accredited to offer courses in line with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).
Even the president congratulated him when he was appointed the new Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA),

In a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, the “President notes that Peterside’s unanimous election is not only a personal honour and affirmation of confidence in his ability to lead AAMA, but also places Nigeria in a pivotal position to rally other maritime administrations in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) towards safer global maritime activities.”

Buhari said that given NIMASA’s encouraging performance under Peterside especially in the fight against sea piracy through inter-agency cooperation, he had no doubt that his new position provided him with an even bigger platform to forge ahead in doing the nation proud by meeting the objectives of AAMA.

Before his appointment as DG NIMASA Peterside was the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State. At the end of the election, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party the winner of the election. Peterside went to court but his petition was dismissed.
Dakuku Adolphus Peterside was born in 1970 to a middle class family in Biriye Polo, Opobo. He grew up in Azumini, Aba, both in present day Abia State. At various times, he lived in Kaduna and Port Harcourt.

Dakuku attended Okrika Grammer School , Okrika, one of the pre-eminent public schools in the 1980s in Rivers State where he served as school prefect by reason of his conduct, leadership qualities and academic standing.

He earned his first degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences (Haematology) from the University of Science and Technology (RSUST) Port Harcourt and later studied Business Administration at Post Graduate Diploma and a Masters level in the same university. He is also alumnus of University of Port Harcourt, Georgia State University Atlanta and Harvard-Kennedy School, University of Harvard.

He is a member of Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), fellow of Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria (IMCN) and member, Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences of Nigeria.

He was elected to represent Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro Area in the House of Representatives in 2011-2015. While in the lower chamber he served as chairman of the strategic Petroleum Resources (Downstream) committee. He also served in the other committees including anti-corruption, national ethics and values; drugs, narcotics and financial crimes; co-operation and integration in Africa, electoral matters; industry; communications and works.

While in the House of Representative, Peterside built for himself a reputation as a charismatic and disciplined leader, creative and hardworking legislator who is broad minded with strategic insight. Colleagues in the house testified to his integrity and compassion. He is very passionate about developmental issues and how government can reduce poverty in the country.

Prior to being elected into the House of Representatives, Peterside had served twice as Rivers State Commissioner for Works (2007-2011) where he anchored Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s phenomenal transformation of roads and infrastructural landscape in Rivers State. Before he was appointed Rivers State Commissioner of Works, he had served as Executive Director of Development and Leadership Institute (DLI) between the year 2005 and 2007, Senior Special Assistant to Governor of Rivers State on Works (2003-2005) and Chairman of Opobo-Nkoro LGA (2002-2003).

He also served as Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Youth and Student affairs and concurrently as a member of Board, Centre for Black and African arts and civilisation (CBAAC), A Federal Government arts and research establishment.

Peterside is an international resource person on oil and gas matters and a leading leadership/management scholar and speaker. He has spoken in conferences around the world. He is respected as an authority in corporate political strategy and Business-Government interaction in Nigeria.

The NIMASA DG has a gift of simplifying complex issues and explaining these to his audiene with ease.
Dakuku is married to Elima, a lawyer and they are blessed with three children, Soba, Belema and Miebi.

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In our climes, it is not always easy to find a politician or a top government official worthy of commendation.