NIMASA dashes Nigerian maritime students’ hope at conference

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Friday dashed the hope of the numerous maritime students who gathered at a conference organized by Platform Communications in Lagos tagged: A Day with Nigerian Maritime Students (Season 2), as it failed to present a lead paper titled,” Solving the Challenges of Nigerian Maritime Students: The NIMASA Game Plan” assigned to it by the organizers of the conference, where the students had hoped to get many questions agitating their minds answered by the agency.

Although the theme of the conference was centred on NIMASA’s efforts at solving the many challenges facing the Nigerian maritime students, it was not enough to bring the Director-General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside at the event.

Even when a former Director-General of the NIMASA, Mr. Temisan Omatseye explained that the DG was not at the event because he was not communicated with the new date and was making arrangements to attend the event with the old date given to him, he (Omatseye) however said that the DG had detailed another senior official of the agency, Mr. Victor Egejuru to be at the event to update the students on the efforts the agency were making to assuage their fears but he never showed up until the event was over.

Yes! The Head, Corporate Communications NIMASA, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi was at event, although he came very late, he was there based on his relationship with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Platform Communications, Mr. Sylvanus Obasi as it was evident in his goodwill message as he did not read any address prepared by the DG for him but only talked extempore as it occurred to him.

Even when he was speaking, he ended up reeling out the old statistics of how many students that were trained by the agency under its flagship programme, National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) without touching at the agency’s efforts to place the graduates onboard vessels for their sea time experience to enable them earn their certificates of competence. More worrisome was the fact that some of the questions asked by the students during the panel discussions were never answered as the Head, Corporate Communications NIMASA, M. Osamgbi was there, he never deemed it fit to tackle those questions thereby leaving the students to go home disappointed.

One may begin to wonder why NIMASA should shy away from a conference as important as this even when the whole conference was centred on it as aptly captured by the theme of the conference. I believe the organizers of the conference consulted with the agency before it came up with the theme for the conference as such it should have prepared for it. However, the answer may not be too far-fetched since the event was not a political programme and will not attract politicians, it will not find a place in the diary of the DG, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.

This is evident as the Director-General never, since assuming office attended personally any function organized in the sector by the media or better still by any stakeholder other than one organized by NIMASA or the one that will have the Minister in attendance, or better still, the one he was sent by the Minister to go and represent him. This goes to show how much he valued the sector he was sent to reform and what comes as his priority.

A nice project packaged by the Platform Communications to server as a platform for interacting with the Nigerian maritime students which has been threatened by the absence of the DG NIMASA since many of them will be discouraged from attending next edition which comes up next year since their fears are not being addressed by those concerned. Thanks to other maritime stakeholders who not only defied the rains to attend the programme on time but waited patiently to interact with the students.

The time has come for the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside to separate politics from the job he was appointed to do at NIMASA if not, he should aptly resign to give way to somebody that will face the job and do it for the benefit of the sector so that he will have enough time to play politics since maritime administration is not politics.

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