By Alex Akao
Barring any unforseen last minute political maneuvering, the Federal government may soon announce a replacement for the current Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The new appointee for the headship of the coveted government agency who is billed to take over from the incumbent, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, may emerge from one amongst three top contenders to the job, two of whom are said to be from the Maritime industry.
Although Jamoh’s first tenure in office ends on March 10th, 2024, the new administration of President Bola Tinubu is amenable to his earlier replacement, without giving vent for the possibility of according him a second term of office.
Informed presidential sources hinted our correspondent that there are 3 contenders for the top job, including a former head of a lesser maritime agency who hails from the North Central part of the country; a foremost maritime player and ship-owner from the South-South; and lastly, a renowned maritime technocrat from the South-Western part of the country, who is said to be more favoured on account of his “intimidating” credentials.
Sources said the preferred nominee (names witheld), who doubles as an academic guru with double PhDs in Marine-related studies, had similarly served as head of two inter-related government maritime institutions.
His imminent appointment, according to sources, is already facing strident opposition from some quarters, with an avalanche of petitions against him being forwarded to the presidency.
Speaking on the development, a source who pleaded anonymity opined that: “Prof is the best man for the job, they are merely wasting their time with those frivolous petitions.”
“The Presidency should overlook and dismiss all those spurious charges made against the knowledgeable marine specialist, based on the fact that he has never been invited or indicted by any security or financial institution.”
“He has acquired two PhDs, one in Maritime Technology Management and one in Fisheries and Aquaculture. The eminent Professor additionally holds a Master of Public Administration degree as well as a number of professional credentials, including a Marine Navigation Certificate and a Joint Scandinavian Surveyor Certificate”, the source added.
Fact checks by our correspondent also revealed that the marine expert similarly has an MSc degree in marine (Nautical Science) from World Maritime University (WMU) Malmo, Sweden, way back in December 1994.
“He was also supported in 1991 by The IMO, European Union, and the then Nigeria National Maritime Authority (NMA), as an IMO Scholar with over 110 publications and textbooks to his name, hence we expect him to move Nigeria to the Category C, which has long eluded the country due to non-implementation of Conventions to which Nigeria is a party, particularly under the current DG, Dr. Jamoh”.
Although Jamoh is said to have similarly amplified his political network to avert his imminent removal and possibly secure another term, sources close to the presidency maintain that his chances for success in his bid appear “very slim, owing to a myriad of allegations as well as open misdemeanors currently working against him”.
He is alleged to have “institutionalized nepotism by allegedly sidelining Southerners in favour of his Northern allies for placement into key zonal positions.
“No matter how he denies it, records are there in the agency to indicate his relegation of Directors, while making Deputy Directors of Northern origin departmental heads.”
While the issues around nepotism in promotions and appointments have been debunked by the agency’s Public Relations team and voluntary Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) discountenanced financial misappropriations; they remain strong enough factors to oust the NIMASA boss according to Presidency sources.
“It is also on record how he flagrantly disobeyed electoral guidelines which stipulates that any government appointees in quest of elective offices must first resign their positions before announcing their bid. Jamoh reneged. He only hurriedly announced his withdrawal from contesting for the gubernatorial race to Kaduna state in 2022, even after picking up his nomination ticket of his party for N50million. Even the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele who attempted that is now facing the backlash”, the source quipped.
Dr. Bashir Jamoh was appointed by former President Mohammadu Buhari to replace Dr. Dakuku Peterside, as Director General of NIMASA in March 2020.
With over 29 years experience in public service, having transfered his services from the Kaduna state government to NIMASA, he was the agency’s Executive Director, Finance and Administration before his appointment as the substantive Director General of NIMASA.
There have been numerous developmental accomplishments for the agency and by extension the maritime industry under the Jamoh-led administration in over 3 years; but it appears the decision for helmsman’s seat at the nation’s apex maritime regulatory agency, will simply be a political one. Let see how the intrigues unfold!