By Gbenga Oke
This month makes it exactly one year since Dr. Dakuku Peterside took over at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, as Director General and, within the period, the agency has witnessed mind-boggling transformation.
Peterside, who is known for his Midas touch anywhere he goes, is leaving no stone unturned at ensuring the agency gets a new lease of life.
Before Peterside’s assumption of office, it was believed that NIMASA was a money making agency with no direction and focus beneficial to Nigeria. Though the agency rakes in much money for the country, its effects and reasons for creation had not been achieved.
Meanwhile, within a year in office, NIMASA has started realizing its objectives with the new strides brought to the fore-front by the DG who insists it is not going to be business as usual.
According to Peterside, the reforms he will engage in at the agency were in line with the ‘change’ agenda of the Buhari administration which is committed to the diversification of the nation’s economy.
“On the public perception of NIMASA over the years, the agency under my leadership will completely change the narrative from the negative perception of corruption, inefficiency and abandonment of its core mandate to that of a Maritime Administration that is alive to its responsibility intent on making Nigeria the preferred destination for maritime activities in Africa”, he stated.
With this mind-set, Peterside began with the change agenda in NIMASA and his strides cannot go un-noticed.
One of his major achievements is the total rebranding of the agency which will be unveiled April 22 by President Muhammadu Buhari. According to him, the need to rebrand NIMASA was borne out the fact that the agency must align with other foremost maritime administrations in the world.
Another area of achievement of his administration is the promotion of over 300 staff members of NIMASA in the last 12 months.
People are familiar with the agency will know that several staff and directors had been stagnated for a decade. With his promise to rebrand NIMASA, Peterside came with a mandate to introduce a completely new work ethics and energy in the agency.
“We had the mandate from the President through the Honourable Minister of Transport to go and reform NIMASA. This we have initiated by first of all knowing that NIMASA cannot work under the defunct structures of JOMALIC and NMA. We also noticed that NIMASA had resourceful members of staff but needed motivation and this we have started by re-orientation of the staff”.
Since the introduction of this new works ethics, many can testify to the fact that professionalism has grown within the capacity of the staff and new work ethics are fast changing the fortunes of the agency with better service delivery.
Taking into consideration the importance of hi-tech, the Peterside administration instituted a medium term strategy through digital transformation to hasten processes at NIMASA.
The process allows stakeholders to register their vessels and transact all other transactions digitally with a click of a button on their laptop.
Other achievements include the repositioning of Nigeria in the international maritime politics. Nigeria is said to be out of the Council at the International Maritime Organization, IMO, for over half a decade thus relegating the country at international politics in the maritime sector.
In a bid to reposition the Nigerian maritime sector and make Nigeria a global voice again, the Heads of African Maritime Administration have agreed to converge in Abuja in April for the 3rd Association of African Maritime Administration Conference. With feats like these, the Nigerian maritime sector will be repositioned to take the lead in the comity of maritime nations.