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Maritime stakeholders want Peterside to face NIMASA, leave Rivers politics alone

In view of the observed random involvement especially in regularly challenging the Governor of Rivers State on policy issues while still serving as the Director General of a critical agency of the federal government, stakeholders have advised the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, to chose between resigning and going back to his state and squaring it up with the governor, Nyesom Wike or forget issues about the state and face his job at NIMASA.

Some of the industry experts who spoke to our correspondent said he has taken the challenge of his governor too far and that the quantum of detraction he is receiving in the process is creating undue loss of focus at NIMASA.

One of them who rolled out the statistics of Dr. Peterside’s undue interference in the administration of Wike in Rivers State said “there is no month we do not read or hear a press statement from NIMASA either condemning or cajoling activities of the governor”.

“I think time has come for someone to tell him that elections are won and lost and that he should focus on NIMASA and stop dabbling into issues concerning River State openly and with NIMASA resources.

The shipping stakeholder who pleaded anonymity said “Some of us are worried because he is using NIMASA resources to issue all those press releases from time to time. Political campaigns are over and the more he does all these things, the more stakeholders will begin to see his appointment as an appointment given to one that is not yet ready to serve without distraction.

Besides credence to the pleas of the stakeholders can be seen from the latest outburst of the NIMASA boss when he criticised Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, over his recent revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy of Novotel Hotel in Port Harcourt.

Business Hilights gathered that Wike had said he revoked Novetel’s C of O because the hotel was allegedly being used by some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the non-elective congress of the party, which took place on Saturday in the state.

According to the governor, “Any hotel that is used to rig elections, that hotel’s certificate of occupancy will be withdrawn,” Wike was quoted as saying on Monday while addressing the 106th Quarterly Meeting of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers in Port Harcourt”.

But NIMASA boss who lost the Rivers State governorship election to Wike, responded to the development by accusing the governor of exhibiting traits of fascism, adding that the action was a breach of the Nigerian Constitution and a violation of the governor’s oath of office.

Peterside said “Wike had sworn to uphold the Nigerian Constitution without fear or favour and ill will or malice against any citizen,” Peterside was quoted as saying. “It is now left to Wike and his conscience to check whether he has been faithful to his oath”.

“When I heard that Wike had revoked the C of O of Novotel Hotel, I thought it was a joke until I saw a statement to that effect.

“In his trademark style of governance, he denied the management of Novotel any opportunity to respond to any accusation. Wike alone was the accuser, prosecutor, witness and jury in this matter.

“It is sad that at a time when Rivers State needs every investment it can muster to create jobs for youths, arrest insecurity and stabilise social relationships, Wike is busy closing established multinationals, global chains and respected franchise to which Novotel belongs. In his maladministration, Wike blames everybody but himself for the woes that have befallen Rivers State since he shot into the Office of the Governor.

Some of the stakeholders said if the diversion of attention continues, they may be forced to petition the National Assembly that somebody who has little of no time for an appointment he has sworn on oath to do, is joking with the soul of the maritime industry which is NIMASA.

They expressed worry on the delays in the effective processing and access to Cabotage fund, vessel financing fund, seafarers are still confused on which way to go. Besides, there is yet no clear direction in the flotation of new national shipping line. To them, this is time to tell him that the key functions of NIMASA include the development and formulation of policies for the Nigerian maritime sector and not dabbling into his state politics.

According to them, he is not the only DG of a parastatal that lost election in 2015 or before then.