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Dakuku Peterside: Resolute revolutionary and visionary democrat at 46, By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

By News Express on 31/12/2016

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 •Dakuku Adol Peterside.
•Dakuku Adol Peterside.

Preamble

As Nigerians and the entire world gather together and in unison to celebrate an icon and one of the new faces of Rivers State politics, Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside, on his 46th birthday today, Saturday, 31 December, 2016; it gives me a lot of joy to express myself on this new leader of our time. Notwithstanding, I must confess that writing on Hon Dakuku Peterside, Director-General of Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on any issue maybe a herculean task, but it’s always a delight as his multi-faceted and enigmatic personality comes to play. An Astute and charismatic politician, a seasoned administrator with an amiable personality, a phenomenal reformist whose cult-followership stature among the youth and god-fearing people puts him as a leader to be admired, watched and associated with. Besides Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Federal Minister of Transport and Senator Magnus Abe, Peterside is another fellow that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State dreads like a plague. Mere mention of the name of Peterside alone sends shivers down Wike’s spine.

Peterside is widely accepted by all the sections of Rivers State; a symbol of unity, visionary, egalitarian and most importantly a patriot whose love for Rivers State and her people is infectious. In addition, he has earned a reputation as a charismatic and disciplined leader, creative and hard-working, a broad-minded fellow with strategic insight. He brings integrity, compassion, pro-poor perspective and intellectual dimension to bear in tackling tough national issues. His loyalty to friendship and bridge-building skills is remarkable. He is respected as one of the most result-oriented, meticulous, consistent, trustworthy and god-fearing political leaders in Rivers State today. In all the public offices he has held, he has brought innovation to bear and made remarkable impact that has endeared him to compatriots. He is a role model and mentor to several young persons, who look up to him for inspiration.

The leadership quality of this resolute revolutionary and visionary democrat is reflected in the words of many outstanding great leaders, such as: Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian General and military theorist, who stated: “If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them, in spite of all obstacles.” One-time President of the USA, George W. Bush: “Leadership, to me, means duty, honour and country. It means character, and it means listening from time to time.” To his father, King (Prof) TJT Princewill, Amayanabo of Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State, “a leader is not worth anything if he or she does not represent the values of love, unity, peace and justice for his people.” But in the words of Dr Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, Rivers State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), “Dr Peterside is a well-brought-up youthful manager of men and resources, who has been prepared for leadership by the invaluable lessons he received from elders across the state.” 
Having followed Peterside for about 10 years, I can conclude that Clausewitz, Bush, Ikanya and King Princewill had him in mind while defining what audacity and leadership mean. Peterside treads where even angels are afraid to tread. Even though the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has made the state unsafe for opposition, and had severally attempted to assassinate him, he goes about as if he has a spare life. When I confronted him on why he is not scared about all the killings, harassment and intimidation in the state, he simply answered: “Chief Eze, if I get scared what do I tell my supporters? Besides, I am a Christian and my God is capable of protecting me in the hands of the evil-minded fellows in PDP.”

The making of Dakuku Peterside

Dr Peterside is an indigene of Biriye in Opobo Kingdom of Rivers State. He was born into the family of Senibo Adolphus Peterside, a scion of Senibo Nibilagh Peterside, a famous warrior cum merchant, on 31st December, 1970. A true Nigerian, the young Dakuku grew up partly in Azumini (Ukwa East Local Government Area) and Aba, both in present-day Abia State; as well as in Kaduna and Port Harcourt. Dakuku attended Okrika Grammar School (OGS), Okrika; University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt; University of Port Harcourt; Georgia State University, Atlanta, USA; and Harvard-Kennedy School, University of Harvard, USA.

He worked as Special Assistant (Student and Youth Affairs) to the former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, from 1999-2002; Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, from 2002-2005. He was Chief Executive Officer of El-Darl Engineering Ltd from 2005-2007. He had previously served as a member of the Board of Centre for Black and African Art and Civilization (CBAAC).He was the Executive Director of Development and Leadership Institute (DLI). Earlier, he had served as State Officer of the Defunct All Nigerian Congress (ANC) as well as Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN). He held the position of youth leader in the Restoration Team, a political pressure group that supported and held sway during Dr Odili’s administration in Rivers State.

A notable student-activist, Peterside was the first Opobo/Nkoro student to be elected as the President of the National Union of Rivers State Students. He contributed alongside others to establish the Vanguard of Opobo Nation (VON) in 1994 and was its secretary and, later, national president, from 2000-2008. He has also worked as editor and columnist in some print media outfits. 
A good family man, Dakuku Peterside is married to Elima, a lawyer, and they are blessed with three children, Soba, Belema and Miebi. He is a committed Christian who believes his relationship with Jesus Christ is what gives meaning to life.

His politics

A non-violent-par excellence politician, Peterside knows the worth of human blood and life. That is why he continued to preach peaceful conduct of elections in Rivers State, to all and sundry, in order to perpetuate and sustain the democratic experiment. His words: “Electoral victories, like mine, could only make meaning when it is won without violence. I abhor violence; no victory in any election and, indeed, in any human endeavour in life, is worth the blood of anyone; no victory is worth the life of any person.” In an unprecedented move, first in the history of his constituency, he embarked on the visit of 70 churches, to thank God for his immeasurable goodness, having achieved much as a politician of the Opobo extraction. 

He used his position to attract state government projects in Opobo/Nkoro council area. One of such projects was the sand-filling of Opobo New Layout, a project for which his community will ever be grateful to the former Rivers governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. During his stint as the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, he contributed positively to the development of the area. That, coupled with his non-discriminatory behaviour, earned him a rare award – Honourary Life Membership of the Opobo Legislative Assembly – was conferred on him.

Academic and professional laurels

As earlier stated, Dakuku is an alumnus of Okrika Grammer School (OGS), University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, University of Port Harcourt, Georgia State University Atlanta, and Harvard-Kennedy School, University of Harvard. He earned degrees in Medical Laboratory Sciences (Haematology), Business Administration (Management) and certificates in Leadership and Project Management respectively. He has attended several oil and gas courses globally. He is a member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), fellow of Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria (IMCN) and member, Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences of Nigeria.

Political appointments

It is as if the great philosopher John C Maxwell had Peterside in mind when he postulated: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” In living this truism, prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, Dakuku served twice as Rivers State Commissioner for Works (2007-2011), during which time he anchored then Governor Amaechi’s phenomenal transformation of roads and infrastructural landscape of the state. He concurrently served on the Board of Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority (GPHCDA). Before he was appointed commissioner, Peterside had served as executive director, Development and Leadership Institute between 2005 and 2007; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Works (2003-2005), and chairman, Opobo-Nkoro LGA (2002-2003).

As LGA Chairman, he was declared The Most Outstanding Chairman by the then State Governor of Rivers State, Odili. He had previously served as Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth and Student Affairs, and part-time board member, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation, a Federal Government arts and research establishment.

He has at various times turned down at least 14 chieftaincy titles, several honorary doctorates and awards, rather believing in the people as a reason for service. In the House of Representatives, Peterside has earned a reputation as a charismatic and disciplined leader and creative and hardworking legislator who is broad-minded with strategic insight. In the House of Representatives, he served as chairman of the Petroleum Resources (Downstream) Committee that oversees the management of the key-driver of Nigeria’s economy. Dakuku also served in the lower chamber’s most important committees: Anti-Corruption, National Ethics and Values; Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes; Co-operation and Integration in Africa; Electoral Matters; Industry; Communications and Works. He was a champion of reform and strengthening of institutions as key to unlocking development potentials. Peterside was widely respected by his co-Reps as an achiever and a strong voice for the House on national issues. He is a regular commentator in Nigeria’s leading media outfits. 

In his home state, Rivers, he is respected as one of the most result-oriented, meticulous, consistent, trustworthy and god-fearing political leaders. In all public offices he has held, he brought innovation to bear and made remarkable impact that has endeared him to compatriots. Hon Peterside, Amaopusenibo of Opobo, was elected to represent Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro area in the House of Representatives in 2011.

Outside the green chambers of the National Assembly, he is an international resource person on oil and gas matters and a leading leadership/management scholar and speaker. Dakuku speaks in conferences around the world. He is respected as an authority in corporate political strategy and business-government interaction in Nigeria. 

He was the standard-bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress during the 2015 general election in Rivers State. He has positioned himself as the opposition political leader and voice of the opposition in the state. Peterside’s nomination to fly the APC flag in the 2015 general elections was to address three principal injustices visited on some sections of Rivers State: one, the riverine areas of the state not occupying the seat of power since 1990; second injustice to be addressed was that of the Ogoni, a key tribe of the state, not producing a governor, deputy governor or Speaker of the State House of Assembly since the creation of the state in 1967. The third is that of the Rivers South-east Senatorial District not producing the governor since the creation of the state. Recall that Rivers East produced Odili (1999-2007), while Rivers West produced Amaechi (2007-20015). Sadly, with the confirmation of Wike’s victory by the Supreme Court, none of these injustices have been addressed.

The above injustices notwithstanding, Dakuku’s candidature achieved two of the three necessary goals of conceding power to the South-East Senatorial Zone and also shifting power from the Upland to the Riverine area of the state. Peterside, from the Riverine area of Opobo/Nkoro LGA, is a veteran federal lawmaker, a symbol of unity and a symbol of hope for Rivers State and her teeming population.” 

With Wike’s presumed election, it has made the Upland to govern the state for 20 years, thus temporarily excluding the South-East zone, including the Riverine area from governance of the state.

Wike as a tool in promoting Peterside

There is a ray of hope for Peterside to achieve his vision for Rivers State sooner than expected, as Governor Wike’s maladministration, abysmal performance in governance and promotion of insecurity, has turned attention to Dakuku as the option to what Wike has become in Rivers State. This has become imperative in view of the sharp increase of insecurity, kidnapping, armed robbery and diverse criminal activities in our dear state since Wike became governor by force on 29 May, 2015.

On His Vision and Mission

According to Peterside, “My mission and vision for the emancipation and growth of Rivers State is contained in my road-map, Wealth for Rivers State, anchored on a legacy and foundation of prosperity laid by Governor Chibuike Amaechi. We all know Amaechi’s legacies in education, health, agriculture and other areas. He has built world-class schools and hospitals in every nook and cranny of the state. His health centres can match any standard hospital found anywhere in the world. We have unveiled our campaign plans and programme and we can be judged by our vision and contract with Rivers State and our people contained in the ‘Road-map to Prosperity’ at the end of our tenure, if elected. This is Rivers project. It is not about APC. We invite everybody to come on board, join us to move Rivers State to the next level. Rivers people’s support for me is overwhelming. I really appreciate the outpouring of love. I thank all Rivers people. I will not disappoint you. APC members rely on God. And I will continue to rely on God. I do not depend on my strength or ability. I will ensure unity in Rivers State. All Rivers people will have roles to play in my administration, when elected as governor by God’s grace. Our doors will be wide open.”

Following the stoic nature of this new leader, coupled with what Wike has turned himself into, the reality of this road for Rivers’ prosperity is still alive. In the light of the discovery of the nepotistic style of Wike and the obviously sinking ship of the PDP in Rivers State, we believe that only fools commit suicide, as it is only the living that praise God and have the opportunity to turn a new leaf and make a fresh start that is likely to end in good fortune and praise to God Almighty.

Hon Peterside maintained that no matter the odds, Rivers State must be liberated from the shackles of evil and maladministration to which they have been subjected in the past one year and seven months by the Nyesom Wike administration. The ray of hope to achieve this is now realistic, with Peterside, the APC gubernatorial candidate celebrating his 46th birthday today, Saturday, 31 December, 2016. He said that he intends to wipe away the tears which Wike has inflicted on them whenever he is called to duty.

Dakuku as Commissioner for Works

It is not disputable that the period that Dakuku Peterside performed as the Commissioner for Works still stands as the golden age of Rivers State politics, as his accomplishments, based on the number of roads, bridges, flyovers was never achieved by any other administration both in the past and present. This was a man who works almost 24 hours to ensure that he delivers on his task.

Under his watch, the following was achieved: amongst others: Dualisation of eight major roads in Port Harcourt, namely, Rumola-Rumuokuta, Oginigba-Rumuokbiakani roads; Eastern by-pass - Amadi Amaa-Oginigba, Old Aba Road, Elekahia-Rumuomasi, Rumuokuta- NTA-Choba roads; Tam David-West Road, the Mega Airport-Isiokpo-Omerelu dualisation, though 42-kilometre Federal road, was initiated and completed during the period; Rumukurusi-Eneka-Igwuruta Road, award and completion of about 850 km of roads. Two overhead bridges completed; two, six bridges completed. It is to the credit of this administration that very soon communities in the Riverine areas, hitherto inaccessible by road, will be linked to the road network. Former President Goodluck Jonathan had, during his visit to the state, commissioned some of these projects, including the Port Harcourt – Owerri Road, a Federal Government road constructed at the cost of N45 billion by the Rivers State Government to ease the suffering of commuters. The former president eulogised the Amaechi led administration for her vision in the choice of projects that impacted positively on the people. President Jonathan noted: “Beside the road network, I want to commend Governor Amaechi on three major projects – the quality of primary and secondary schools that we saw, as well as the power project that would aid small business enterprises.” 

Peterside as NIMASA DG

The appointment of Peterside, the Rivers APC standard-bearer in the 2015 general elections as the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is well-deserved. It is a case of putting a square peg in a square hole.

As a tested and trusted reformist-minded administrator, who has all it takes to reform and transform NIMASA into the pride of Nigeria and Africa, Peterside has proven that his appointment was not misplaced. 

“Dr Peterside comes well prepared for the task of breathing a new life into NIMASA. Apart from boasting a sound academic background that includes a degree in Business Administration (Management) and certificates in Leadership and Project Management, he holds a doctorate degree in Organizational Management with research interest in Corporate Political Strategy. 

Dr. Peterside is reputed as an authority in corporate strategy and business-government relations. He acquitted himself creditably in all his previous assignments, including as Commissioner for Works in Rivers State and a distinguished member of the House of Representatives and Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) during the Seventh Assembly.

He is a well-known champion of reform and strengthening of institutions as key to unlocking development potentials. Dr Dakuku Peterside, a legislator par excellence has served at all levels of government in Nigeria: local, state and national and, is fast establishing himself as a national reference speaker on oil and gas policy and legislation matters.

Peterside has been a most sought-after resource person in international conference: he was a major speaker at the 2013 Middle East Downstream Week held in Abu Dhabi in May, 2013 and the 2013 World Refining and Petrochemical Technology Summit in Doha, Qatar, among many other speaking engagements around the globe. I have no doubt in my mind that he will excel on his new assignment as the NIMASA Director General,”

President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s confidence reposed in Peterside, as evidenced in his appointment as the helmsman of a strategic parastatal like NIMASA, was not misplaced based on his feats so far in this task.

His vision for NIMASA

As DG of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Peterside said that he and his management team were determined to make the agency a world-class and high performance organisation. He gave the assurance during the Management Performance Review (MPR) of the agency held in Lagos. He said that the agency’s repositioning initiative was all-encompassing and, when concluded, would be beneficial to the entire maritime sector. “When I joined you in NIMASA we sat down and agreed to build a world-class high performance organisation. In subscribing to that, we set out to craft a Medium Term Strategic plan which would be our road-map. “We have already started the critical elements of the things we agreed that are necessary to build a world-class maritime organisation. One is the automation of our processes; and to fast-track this, we set up a special task-force. It is our vision that by October, NIMASA would be fully automated. My dream for NIMASA is to make it recognised as the foremost maritime regulatory agency in Africa that would be the pride of the continent. The bigger picture is to build a world-class, high performance organisation that would satisfy the interest and yearnings of our clients, as well as serve the interest of the country that set us up. We are indeed facilitators of maritime business, therefore, we will not stifle it,” he stated

Steps adopted by Peterside to reposition NIMASA

1. For non-compliance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency – which regulates shipping, maritime and coastal waters activities – has shut three jetties and port facilities for non-compliance with the provisions of the code. The ISPS Code is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies. 
The facilities shut included Heyden Petroleum Jetty, Ijora, Lagos; Waziri Jetty, Dockyard Road, Apapa, Lagos, and Starz Marine Shipyard Limited, Onne in Rivers State. These closures are in exercise of the agency’s powers in line with provisions of Part VIII of the ISPS Code Implementation Regulations 2014, under which the facilities were adjudged to be non-compliant, despite repeated warnings to remedy the deficiencies. “These facilities have persistently failed to comply with the ISPS code, necessitating their closure in order to forestall a situation where security breaches in such facilities will negatively impact the compliant ones.” 

2. Engaging US Coast Guards

As a result of the innovative leadership of Dakuku Peterside, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) was recently in the country to carry out a pre-assessment report of port and terminal facilities in Nigeria, in line with the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

The ISPS Code is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988) on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies. It came into force in 2004 and prescribes responsibilities to governments, shipping companies, shipboard personnel, and port/facility personnel to “detect security threats and take preventative measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade. The group, which is more concerned with the safety of life and property at sea and terminals, however, added that the visit was to prepare Nigeria for the USCG Assessment Audit coming up in February 2017.

Leader of the USCG team, Edward Munoz, said: “The purpose of this visit was really to prepare for the next assessment visit so it goes smoothly. With the details of the schedule and also to provide questions to the Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) and to NIMASA, so that they know what kind of information we will be looking for.”

He thanked NIMASA for the work done on the implementation so far and assured the agency of the continuous support and partnership of the USCG at all times. The NIMASA DG had identified the support of the U.S. Coast Guard and cooperation of Nigerian stakeholders as reasons behind the success the agency has achieved in the implementation of the ISPS Code.

Dr Peterside welcomed third party evaluation from the USCG team, saying it provides the agency a better opportunity to assess its progress and adopt new improvement initiatives, adding: “Ultimately, all of us are working for a common purpose, a safer world through safety and security of the maritime sub-sector. If we fix our different corners of the earth, the whole world will be safer for everybody. And so, no effort should be spared in trying to guarantee safety and security of all our people. We are totally committed, we are working very hard with all our partners. One thing we are sure of is that by the time the full assessment team comes in February, they would have noticed remarkable improvement.” 

3. Implementation of Stevedoring regulations

The DG said that the agency was set to enforce full implementation of the NIMASA Stevedoring Regulation 2014.He disclosed this at a one-day Stakeholders’ Sensitisation Seminar on NIMASA Stevedoring Regulation, 2014. He said that the enforcement of NIMASA Stevedoring Regulation 2014.would strengthen stevedoring operations in all dock labour operational areas. The NIMASA boss said that the regulation prescribed standards for the appointment and operations of stevedoring services at the ports, terminals, jetties, onshore or off shore oil and gas or bonded terminals, Inland Containers Depots (ICDs) or dry ports, off-dock terminals and platforms within the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). “Let me assure you that the agency under my watch will strive to create the enabling environment for maritime labour employers to operate in line with international best practices.”

4. NIMASA partnership with NIMET

NIMASA is to partner the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) on meteorological data. Peterside disclosed this when NIMET’s management team, led by its Director-General, Dr Anthony Anuforom, paid a working visit to the NIMASA Headquarters in Lagos. Peterside said that the agency is interested in studying and analysing meteorological data for ships, dissemination of information in ways that meteorological data can aid navigation for the purposes of ensuring the safety of lives and vessels on sea.

“In pursuit of that mandate, we are ever-ready to collaborate with anybody who can be of assistance to us. Without a doubt, by reason of the technical capacity you have in the study of weather analysis of meteorological data, you are definitely useful to us. It is in realisation of that piece of fact that a relationship was initiated sometimes in 2008.

“It is in the same realisation that we set out to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between our agencies, in pursuit of common objectives of securing lives and assets at sea, in line with the provisions of SOLAS, particularly Chapter 5, which is an instrument of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO),” the DG said. 

5Staff Promotion

To have a virile and vibrant workforce, the Governing Board of NIMASA recently approved the promotion of 76 management staff their next grade levels. The promotions were approved at the 34th meeting of the board, held in Lagos under the chairmanship of General Jonathan India Garba (rtd). 

Eight deputy directors were promoted to the level of directors, 15 assistant directors were promoted to deputy directors, while 56 grade-level 14 officers were promoted to their next grade of assistant directors. Those promoted to directors include the agency’s Spokesperson, Hajia Lami Tumaka, Head of Procurement department, Mr. Sani Mohammed, Head of Financial Services department, Mr. Olayemi Abbas and his counterpart in Cabotage department, Mr. Hassan el-Yakub. Others were the Co-ordinator, Western Zonal Operations, Hajia Aisha Jummai Musa, Head of Marine Environment Management department, Mrs. Susan Asagwara, Head of Shipping Development department, Mr. Akin Akinyosoye and his counterpart in Legal Services, Mr. Suleman Abdulsalam. The promotion went through a rigorous process, as independent consultants were engaged to carry out the exercise. Also, the agency approved the promotion of 222 non-management staff between grade-levels 4-14.

Conclusion

I wish to say without fear of contradiction that Peterside is a symbol of unity, a visionary, egalitarian and, most importantly, a great patriot whose love for Rivers State and her people is infectious. Here is a man who is reputed as a charismatic and disciplined leader; creative and hard-working, a broad-minded fellow with strategic insight. He brings integrity, compassion, and intellectual dimension to bear in tackling tough political issues. He is truly a bridge-builder and loyal to friendship. He boasts credible credentials as a renowned resource person on petroleum matters, leadership/management expert, motivational speaker and a respected authority on corporate political strategy and private-public interaction in Nigeria. I therefore recommend him for any higher office in future as with Dr Peterside on the saddle, the future of Rivers State will be truly great.

Finally, may I seize this opportunity to wish my brother and leader, Dakuku, a very happy birthday and many happy returns! Happy birthday to a resolute revolutionary, exceptional visionary and democrat at 46!

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State & can be reached via ezemediaconcept2020@gmail.com, 08038199163

 

Source News Express

Posted 31/12/2016 05:09:39 AM

 

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