By Gbenga Oke
“The two most important days in our life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” — Mark Twain
When Dakuku Adolphus Peterside was born in Biriye, Opobo Kingdom on December 31, 1970 to the family of Senibo Adolphus Peterside, little did the family envisage he will grow to become one of the foremost sons of the Opobo/Nkoro and Rivers State at large.
Peterside, who started his career at the popular Okrika Grammar School, OGS, attended University of Science and Technology, Port-Harcourt. Afterward, he attended Georgia State University, Atlanta and Harvard University for his tertiary and post graduate studies.
His leadership capabilities became evident when he was at Rivers State University when he was elected National President, National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS) in January 1992.
In RSUST, he became a symbol of analytical politics, towering above his peers. He also became the Editor, Campuswatch, the flagship of RSUST’s campus journalism.
Until about nine months ago when he assumed office as the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, he has served at various leadership positions which include Special Assistant to former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, on students matters in 1999, a position he held until he was invited to serve as Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro LGA in December 2002.
Not done with leadership positions, he was appointed Senior Special Assistant to the State Governor on Works after his tenure as Chairman and, today, the majority of the projects he supervised made Rivers people have value for their money. Afterward, he went on to form a NonGovernmental Organisation, NGO, called Development for Leadership Institute, DLI. The purpose was to groom and develop the teeming youths ahead of life.
Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives to represent Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro Federal Constituency, Peterside served twice as Rivers State Commissioner for Works (2007-2011) where he oversaw former Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s phenomenal transformation of road and infrastructural programme. He concurrently served on the Board of Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority (GPHCDA).
After running as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2015 governorship election in Rivers State, he was appointed the Director General of NIMASA in March 2016.
Nine months down the line, Peterside has laid a new foundation for the nation’s maritime industry. Upon his assumption at NIMASA, he said, “The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will undergo major reforms in the next one year to boast it’s capacity to drive the growth and development of the Nigerian maritime industry. The agency will also develop a medium-term strategic growth plan which will aid the management to focus on its core mandate of promoting the development of indigenous capacity in international and coastal shipping as well as effectively regulating the maritime industry in Nigeria”.
His other visions at NIMASA include transforming the maritime and oil and gas industry by developing in-country capacity and indigenous capabilities of high international standards resulting in significant employment and wealth creation.
As Peterside clocks 46, one cannot but celebrate him, his achievements and pray to God to continue to guide him.