Valedictory/Handover speech by Dr. Dakuku Peterside, outgoing Director General/CEO, NIMASA, delivered in the agency’s Board Room on 10th March, 2020
It is an honour, my pleasure and with the greatest sense of fulfillment that I welcome you all to the Board Room of this great Agency – NIMASA. Perhaps, this is the last time I will sit in this position to speak to you all. It is a privilege. I do not take lightly.
Precisely on the 10th of March, 2016, Mr. President appointed me the DG/CEO of NIMASA, the country’s foremost maritime regulator. I am eternally grateful to God Almighty for such a great honour and privilege amongst almost 200 million Nigerians. I thank God that after 4 years I am here hale and hearty to bid you all farewell and stand up for the great dreams of our country in the maritime sector.
Permit me to take advantage of this valedictory speech to thank Mr. President, Commander-in-Chief for the rare opportunity given me to serve this country and my cherished maritime community. I owe Mr. President a debt of gratitude.
Inspired by Mr. President’s message of change, my colleagues – Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Mallam Gambo Ahmed and Engr. Rotimi Fashakin – settled down to deliver the results. You all know whether we delivered or not. History and posterity will judge our actions.
I am also particularly grateful to H.E Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the workaholic, resourceful, visionary, result oriented Honourable Minister of Transportation for his belief in me, his support, sense of mission, guidance and motivation. It is his motivation and leadership that has propelled my team to deliver on all fronts in the last four (4) years.
The Federal Ministry of Transportation and Heads of Sister Parastatals gave their overwhelming support.
We got on the saddle at a time NIMASA and the industry were at its lowest ebb. There were challenges across all levels of the maritime industry from safety, security, maritime labour relations to structural and cultural issues. My colleagues and I knew we had a task; to restore the dignity of the Agency, get it to work for Nigerians, for the maritime industry and put her back on the path of international respect. We considered the bigger picture and long term need for the industry before committing to our course of actions. We set to work with a broad reform agenda in 2016 to reposition and restructure NIMASA under five pillars, namely: Survey, Inspection and Certification Transformation Programme; Environment, Security, Emergency Search and Rescue Transformation Initiative; Digital Strategy Reforms; Capacity Building and Promotional Initiatives; and Structural and Cultural Reforms. Listening to all of you speak and even industry stakeholders who are not here, I am satisfied that we have made a difference, we have delivered, we have made the country proud and we have laid the most important foundation for the foremost maritime regulatory Agency in Africa to thrive and deliver value.
From the first day I joined the Agency, I confessed about the quality of staff my Management team and I were blessed with, I witnessed workers who are ready to go to any length to deliver if only they are given leadership. I saw staff yearning for their hope and aspiration to be restored. I met staff in every department and unit who simply wanted opportunity and tools to deliver on their given assignment, enjoy the dignity of labour and command the respect of Nigerians. That pushed me to inspire, motivate and empower staff to perform at their best to achieve results. We introduced the in-house Knowledge Transfer Session, the DG’s Half Day Seminar and a Reward Culture for excellent performance. Consistently, we focused on staff training (both foreign and local), improved working condition and welfare of staff. What we boast of today is staff who have become more knowledgeable and can compete with their peers at any level both locally and internationally.
I met a lot of stakeholders, some with great ideas and others ready to critique every single move we made. I assured all that I came across, that our task in NIMASA is to keep them in business, safeguard Nigerians, our oceans, ships, and promote the participation of Nigerians in coastal and international shipping. I reassured them that it is because of Nigerians and the industry that we were appointed to serve. We were not appointed to be praised or for our own self. It is these stakeholders that are the reason we have made the tremendous progress that today we are given credit. Collectively working as a Team, we have had commendations and wholehearted encouragement even if we may have had our individual differences, all we wanted was to build a better NIMASA, so we welcomed ideas from stakeholders whom we openly collaborated with.
The vibrant maritime media kept us on our toes throughout. We at no time said we were infallible but their critical scrutiny is one of our greatest assets.
As my colleagues and I settled in to work with the rest of the team in NIMASA, we reversed the negative reputational damage in no time; we championed the greatest reforms in maritime regulation in the history of the Agency. We changed the narrative; we totally re-invigorated the industry, and put NIMASA back in international reckoning, (and) most importantly, we restored the sense of common purpose for the Agency and the industry. Our staff could work around again with pride because they realized that the nation values their work and contribution.
We received the support of the International Community, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Labour Organization (ILO), the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), Representatives of Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO), Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), to mention but a few who were genuinely interested in NIMASA’s transformational initiatives particularly our efforts to ensure security in the Gulf of Guinea. The hosting of the Global Maritime Security Conference in Abuja in October 2019 brought with it floods of commendation from the international community. They all showed wholehearted commitment to helping us secure our waters.
The combined effect of our reforms and the dedication of our resourceful staff has today, without denial, made us an enviable maritime administration in Africa by every measure ever thought of. To mention but a few of our significant achievements which are all included in my handover notes, it is pertinent to state that Nigeria was adjudged:
– the most outstanding in Port and Flag State Control in West and Central African sub-region recording the highest Port State Inspections in Abuja MoU;
– No. 2 in tonnage and fleet after Liberia which operates an open Ship Registry;
– The first country in Africa to put 7,000 seafarers in cabotage vessels in one year;
– First to publish maritime industry forecast, every year since 2018;
– First to come up with a maritime action plan on marine litter and plastic management;
– First to come up with Roadmap to achieve IMO 0.5% Sulphur Cap;
– First country in West/Central Africa to have a distinct anti-piracy law, a feat achieved in 2019. Steps are already being taken to implement the law; etc.
By the grace of God, in the next few weeks, we will be the first Maritime Administration in West and Central Africa to be ISO 2015:9001 certified.
We also recorded the following milestones:
– Successful Implementation of the Agency’s Medium Term Strategic Plan (2016-2019) up to 75%;
– Inauguration of Search and Rescue Marshals in the Littoral States;
– Inauguration of Marine Litter Marshals in the Littoral Sates;
– Introduction of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure (The Deep Blue Project);
– Introduction of 5 year Cabotage Waiver Cessation Plan;
– Publication of the Agency’s Annual Report in an international format consistently for three (3) years;
– Continental leadership in steering the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) since 2017. Today African Maritime Administrations have a strong voice in advancing IMO Conventions and Protocols.
– Memorandum of Understanding entered into with World Maritime University and other bodies;
– Putting in place a solid foundation for disbursement of the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF);
– We moved from number 21 to 7 in the efficiency rating by the Ease of Doing Business Index of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC);
– We also moved three (3) steps forward in the Transparency Index rating by PEBEC;
– Leadership positions on Committees and Working Groups of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at various times.
– We have reached advanced stage in the domestication of Six (6) IMO Conventions and review of both the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 and NIMASA Act 2007;
– We developed an integrated roadmap for the reform and repositioning of the Nigerian Ship Registration Office.
Our scorecards are there. I am happy today that though my four (4) years tenure as Director-General/CEO NIMASA has come to an end, Mr. President, Commander-in-Chief has appointed one of our own as the new Director-General/CEO NIMASA. What it means is that he and his team will bring in new ideas to sustain and build on our collective achievements while upholding the vision and mission of NIMASA.
I wish the new DG/CEO and the incoming Executive Management Team well and pray that God blesses them with foresight and wisdom.
I most sincerely thank from the depth of my heart, the Executive Management Team that ran the race with me, without your support we would not be standing tall today. May God bless you in your future endeavours.
To you our esteemed staff that formed part of the greater Team NIMASA, I urge you not to relent in your efforts but to continue to extend the same support given to us to the incoming Executive Management. Remember that this is our country and fatherland. No organization can survive without a resourceful and committed workforce.
To all Nigerians, I consider it a great privilege and honour to serve you. If I am asked to choose, I will serve you again and again. I will always give my all to this great country.
God bless NIMASA;
God bless the maritime industry;
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside
10th March, 2020