The firing and hiring of chief executives of government organisations in the Nigerian maritime industry is a recurrent decimal, and, therefore, stakeholders are not totally surprised at each episode.
Penultimate Wednesday, the then Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Engr. Omar Suleiman, and then three NPA acting Executive Directors, as well as the then three Executive Directors of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) were all relieved of their positions in one fell swoop by the Federal Government.
To a number of stakeholders, it came as a surprise, especially that of Suleiman, who had barely spent a year and seven months as the NPA helmsman, but had amply demonstrated his capacity as a humane and focused administrator. Stakeholders soon took solace in the fact that the sack of chief executives in the Nigerian maritime industry has become government tradition.
Over the years, while the tenure of the chief executive officers of the 57-year-old NPA had been relatively stable, that of NIMASA, which is barely five years, has been a different ball game all together.
At the nation’s apex maritime regulatory agency, since the merger of the Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (JOMALIC) and the National Maritime Authority (NMA) in 2007 that birthed NIMASA, hardly has any Director-General of the agency spent two years in office of the four-year tenureship that is renewable for another four years.
Barely five years of setting up NIMASA, the agency till date has had four Director-Generals, including in this order: Mrs. Mfon Ekong Usoro, Dr. Ade Dosunmu, Mr. Temi Omatseye and now Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi.
Management changes at NIMASA through government intervention are annoyingly incessant, so much so that when these changes are made at the agency, stakeholders conclude by saying that the Federal Government has done it again and that the proverbial banana peel at the agency is at work again.
But has the banana peel syndrome really been far from the NPA? Certainly not. From April 1955 to date, the NPA has recorded 24 different administrations; a dismal average of two-year tenure per administration that ought to have a tenureship of four years per term.
The situation does not augur well for the industry and we join stakeholders to say that the frequent changes at the NPA HOUSE do not give room for development and consolidation of articulated plans and programmes.
From the look of things one will want to suspect that certain vested interests are bent on destabilising the sector with these frequent changes.
Government must not allow parochial interests to destabilise the sector. Government should ensure that stability is sustained in the industry, so that appointed chief executive officers for maritime agencies can execute and consolidate on their projects.
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