President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, appointed Alhaji Bashir Jamoh to replace Dakuku Peterside as the director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in what Business Hallmark understands was influenced by some power brokers in Aso Rock, particularly, Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf who doubles as Personal Assistant and Private Secretary to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Peterside who was appointed in 2016 to head the agency would serve out his first term on March 10.
He is, however, eligible for reappointment for a second term in office. And indeed, there had been expectation within the industry that he would be reappointed given his outstanding track record in office.
His reign as DG is said to have led to improved accountability, efficiency and stakeholder relations that have continued to elicit positive reactions across board, even as NIMASA, under him, has witnessed an increased trade relation in the sub-region and beyond with the agency leading the charge in reorganizing African Maritime Administration Agencies into a broad-based common ideology.
Despite his track record however, feelers had emerged that certain interest groups in Aso Rock had penciled down one of their own to take over from him.
The appointment of Jamoh, 56, from Kaduna State by Buhari to replace the Rivers State born Peterside does not therefore, come as a surprise.
Jamoh is currently the executive director for admin and finance at the agency and also serves as the president of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIoTA).
His appointment was said to have been brokered by Yusuf his son-in-law and one of Buhari most powerful aides.
Yusuf who got the name “Tunde” from being likened to Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon, is the son of Mamman Daura, Buhari’s uncle’s biological sister, Hajia Halima, who died in 2018.
A young man in his early 30s who reportedly sold recharge cards before the emergence of Buhari as President, Yusuf is said to rank third after Daura and Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the president in the pecking order of influence in Aso Rock.
His ability to influence the appointment of his father-inlaw as new NIMASA helmsman, analysts say, is an indication that the Minister of Transportation, which is the supervising ministry of the agency, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, may have lost influence in the Buhari government.
Peterside’s appointment in 2016 is believed to have been part of the compensation for the major role he played in the emergence of Buhari as president both in 2015 and 2019.
With the new appointment, every other agency and parastatal, with the exception of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is now headed by northerners, a situation political watchers say is a dangerous precedent.
The list includes Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) headed by Ms Bala Usman; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) head by Mele Kyari; PenCom headed by Hajia Dahir-Umar; Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) headed by Mohammed Nami; Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) headed by Hameed Ali; Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), headed by Ahmed Kuru; Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), headed by Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta; Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), headed by Umaru Ibrahim, among others.
“Federal character provides for equitable distribution of appointments, but that is being disregarded by the current government,” said Aare Oladotun Hassan, President, Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide.
“Basically, Nigerians are overfed with this northern hegemonic appointments. It has really gone out of hand and has become a permanent malaise.
“But it will lay a very wrong precedent. If another zone gets into power, they may be tempted to do the same. And it’s not a good thing. It is dangerous.”