- Perhaps, NIMASA is a microcosm of Nigeria!
Some members of the National Assembly, on Wednesday November 9th, 2016 joined the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dakuku Peterside in Netherlands, to inspect, evaluate and praise the DG for a modular floating dock which is due to be delivered to Nigeria next year. Little did the law makers know that the brain behind it is presently languishing, in a rented Lagos apartment.
Senator Ahmed Yerima, who led some members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport to Netherlands, while promising the agency of the law makers’ support in area of outlandish appropriation to enable NIMASA achieve its timely completion, especially having been satisfied with the quality of work done on the modular floating dock, never knew the visioner is still panning away, neglected or adjudged guilty, even before his prosecution began.
Similarly, the Chairman of the House Committee of Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, who insisted on an early delivery of Africa’s fifth largest modular floating dockyard, being constructed by one of the world’s largest ship building firms, Damen of Netherlands, (because the project would generate employment opportunities for youths and funds for Government), was probably not informed of the project dreamer, let alone the incarceration. He would have told them that incarcerating a visioner with uncanny penchant for baking stupendous revenues for Government, more so, when such a person was yet to be competently pronounced “guilty”, actually amounted to a breach of the Constitution.
The dream was not Conceived in 2013 by Akpobolokemi. It was Conceived and initiated by the only Nigerian who today can fly both a commercial plane and Captain a ship! He started as qualified master mariner. His adventurous spirit took him to Australia, where he worked, discovered the need to supplement coast Guard tasks with aircraft; and to prove it, took flying lessons and training; became a qualified pilot, resigned and joined Virgins, as a commercial pilot!
But his dream was pitched in controversy from day one!
Akpobolokemi never believed the dream was achievable. He only gave approval, on the condition that the young man who Conceived the vision, would also be able to generate enough resources to fund it.
When the young man took up the challenge and began to actually generate the resources, he instantly became an enemy of several of his colleagues! A staff who spoke on conditions of anonymity disclosed this much.
“The guy is a goal getter. But, he can also be garrulous”, the respondent indicated, stressing that our Visioner made enemies for himself, because, being from the private sector, he forgot he was actually operating then, in a wholly Civil service domain!
But Damen’s Regional Director for Africa, Harm Blaauw knew what the law makers didn’t know; in addition to knowing that a floating dock with capacity to dry dock other vessels, as well as itself, is currently, the most modern high tech floating dock globally.
Just like Sabi Bar Noy, the Chairman of NIRDA, Damen’s technical partners who recalled the beauty of a dock that could dock itself, saving it’s owners the pains of periodically moving it to India, Netherlands or South Africa; and spending avoidable millions elsewhere to dock was what Nigeria needed.
But, by removing him from the system, the ship owners registered with the agency are the greatest losers. It became a minus – one, too many. The agency is today, incontestably, in dire need of core professionals.
“He had to prove that he could generate enough income for those projects; that was the condition for the approval. He gave all he had to it. He also refused to receive settlement. And that was where he fell out with many friends, now turned enemies. If he won’t take, must he prevent others from taking?
He was initially in the security unit of the agency. Patrick took him from there and deployed him to Shipping Development. Initially he refused. But Patrick allegedly pressured him. He moved to Shipping Development and made a huge success of it.
“But his problem began, after he moved over to shipping development. Though he generated revenue, he failed to see the need to play, by the Civil Service Rules.
“The guy is a goal getter. But he can be very garrulous”, a source had told Maritime First. But he agreed Waredi may be clean, noting that if he stole money as being orchestrated, would he still be living in rented apartment at Satellite town.
The revenue target, according to a source was for about N50b. it was to cover the cost of a floating dock and a Shipyard. The Shipyard was costlier than the floating dock. And both would be installed in Nigeria. It might also be in Okerenkoko!
They have not finished with him. Dakuku needs him. But he does not know the degree of odds, stacked against his coming back. The day he responded to Dakuku’s call, somebody sent words that he had come to plant bombs. Under 15 minutes, the whole area became deserted. Those who hatched the plot laughed scornfully, the cowardly, who abandoned everything and fled. Only few people could make the connection.
Though the ‘bomb disposal’ team combed the entire area, and could not find the Phantom bombs, Waredi has since remained in limbo. Yet, nearly six months after, none of the bombs he allegedly planted, has exploded. Only the lies raised against him has!
Africa has talents. Nigeria is the Continental giant. They wait for us to champion their cause and give the necessary leadership direction. When we shed off the desire to ‘pull down’ the most talented, perhaps, we would wake from our deep slumber, and begin to lead both the country and the continent towards the desired destination!
Arguably, this is perhaps the story of NIMASA. And Perhaps again, NIMASA is merely, a microcosm of the great country called Nigeria!!!