If I’m to comment on Akpobolokemi’s tenure, I think he did well as the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). That is my own summary of his tenure. He did well considering his background because whether we like it or not, he was able to bring professionalism to NIMASA; he allowed mariners to be brought into key positions and those who came in are core professionals who are adding value.
There are controversies about Global West and the rest but we should know he was a political appointee and has a relationship with his pay master and the ex-President. He has to balance that relationship which anyone in that position will want to do but in doing that he did not lose sight of industry needs and for the first time, maritime professionals were appointed as Executive Director’s in the Agency.
Although, people will want to persecute him for CVFF, I say it will be wrong for people to want to blame the issue of CVFF on NIMASA. It was not a problem of NIMASA because NIMASA has done their bit and forwarded recommendations to the Ministry of Transport and the Presidency. So CVFF failed between the Ministry and the Presidency and there was nothing NIMASA and its DG could have done.
There is need to assess the administration of Dr Patrick Akpobolokemi so that incoming administrators will know where we are coming from.
What has happened with the former DG was that he concentrated more on a particular area than with safety which NIMASA stands for and building of capacity.
But, we all know that building of capacity goes beyond training of seamen and I think much did not happen in terms of building capacity for ownership of vessels and allowing people who own vessels and acquire jobs. Capacity building for the next DG must be for all sectors in the industry and what is more important is the ship because everything dances around the ship. So, they need to build capacity of indigenous shipowners, and attract more people into shipping.
The former NIMASA DG was a misnomer, if that word is accurate enough to describe his four year tenure in the agency. In the first instance he was not qualified to head the agency going by the enabling NIMASA Act. His sudden sack tells it all, that all was not well with NIMASA while he presided. The sack is not enough, his tenure must be probed to serve as a warning to others that government job is not an opportunity to steal.
Some of the programmes of the former DG were good but based on the change of government his sack was expected.
But, be that as it may, his sack was a welcome development and we are quite happy. If you recollect, his tenure was renewed by the last government and there is nothing we could do about it but now that he has been sacked by the new government we welcome it.
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