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Sun, 12 May 2024 Feature Article

NIMASA: Tasks and expectations from Mobereola

NIMASA: Tasks and expectations from Mobereola
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The trajectory of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has always been in the news for negative reasons. For instance, among its past Directors-General, we have those who have faced corruption charges in the law courts. But the new helmsman, Anthony Ekundayo Mobereola, has a high reputation for integrity, performance, and delivery on expectations. He has renewed hope amongst the maritime stakeholders that the organization's ship will be redirected along the right path.

People who have interfaced with Mobereola have spoken glowingly about his high value for professionalism, vision, patience, and a striking resemblance to public etiquette in whatever he does. His maiden interactive session with Maritime stakeholders which was held on Thursday was a testament to how highly rated he is in the industry and shows that expectations are a mouth full. He is perceived as a man with the Midas touch under whom substantial transformation of the sector is anticipated.

As a brand, Mobereola is a man of powerful spirituality, absolute purity, and all-round spiritual flexibility. Even in his alma mater, where he presides over its National Alumni Association, he has within one year brought a lot of changes to the old students’ body, by inspiring and mobilizing the Alumni to give back to the alma mater. Ayo Aluko-Olokun, who works closely with him as the General Secretary of Saint Patrick’s Grammar School, Ibadan Alumni Association, describes Mobereola as “a visionary leader and team player with a strong sense of patriotism. He is a leader who takes service to humanity, not as a job but a mission. The NIMASA DG leads by generously donating and contacting other old students to donate handsomely to the progress and development of the school and the academic excellence of the students.”

Social formation teaches that a change in nomenclature will also lead to a change in the status of any newly established institution, and it is bound to affect everything around it. With this in mind, one may wish to ask: what’s President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda all about and how does Mobereola as the new NIMASA DG fit in? To start with, the Agency is very central to the concept of the blue economy, not only in terms of maritime safety and the development of an exceptional trade facilitation framework in Nigeria but also in its potential to help grow the economy and raise the revenue profile of the sector. Mobereola holds a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. in Transport Economics from the University of Wales, United Kingdom, which makes him suitable for the job. The Marine and Blue Economy Ministry is a new creation and it is in the delivery of performance of parastatals like NIMASA and others that the Ministry will be able to deliver on its mandate and Nigerians would now see the need for the creation of that Ministry. NIMASA has a task to protect the local shipping industry to generate wealth for Nigeria.

According to Henry Ford, “coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” From what yours sincerely have heard about the new appointments in NIMASA, Mobereola’s choice is very endearing and it is in the right direction. It is hoped that he would live up to his billing, with his rich track record.

Born on August 26, 1959, the new DG was the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), where he was popularly called ‘Dr. MOB’. He led the processes that took the public transport system in Lagos out of its “dysfunctional and chaotic” state to its present enviable status. Between 2015 and 2016, Mobereola served as Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos State and was later appointed the Chairman of The Board at Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL) by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration. He was the architect of much of what is being celebrated in Lagos today as the Blue and Red Rail Lines projects.

I have argued elsewhere that in the First Republic, under the 1960 and 1963 Constitutions, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was contributing 42% of its earnings to the coffers of the Federal Government annually. It’s time we went back to that framework, and NIMASA has a big role to play in it. It is estimated that the maritime sector can turn about N7 trillion into the economy annually. NIMASA can achieve this by focusing on its core mandate and not trying to be everything to everybody. For those who care to know, NIMASA is currently one of the most important agencies in Nigeria, after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the military. So, its technical capacity has to be top-notch because it’s the agency that will enable the country to earn the kind of foreign exchange that the Maritime and Blue Economy will need to solve the balance of payment and currency crises currently confronting our dear country.

For Tinubu to make this happen, he must make sure that NIMASA is very well-funded and supported with policies and FEC approvals to drive its transformation and also unbundled the Maritime fund which is 3% of freight on every cargo. And for Mobereola to succeed, the strategic option is to remain the patriot that he has always been – an exceptional manager who has the technical capacity, intellectual nourishment, and strategic opportunity to run an Agency as complex in shape and size as NIMASA. Not only that, members of staff of the Agency should be well-remunerated and motivated. He should also introduce data-driven processes and ensure ease of doing business by the shipping lines. Technology should be deployed to move the sector forward and faster - and can be first-class, bringing in the foreign exchange that the country needs to survive. Failure to do these will be catastrophic for the country’s economy because, if Nigeria doesn’t diversify her economy from crude oil, she is finished! Yes, if Nigeria is to get her way out of the critical balance of payment crisis, NIMASA should be at the centerpiece as a formidable front for the maritime base, in agreement with “the policies and programs outlined for the sector, guided by the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, H.E. Adegboyega Oyetola.”

A word of advice, though: as Nigerians are expecting an even bigger performance from this man of wisdom and impressive capacity, let Mobereola make clear the government’s policies and direction for the sector. An Agenda not politically driven but industry-focused and friendly must be stated for him to etch his name in gold!

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

*KOMOLAFE wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria ([email protected])

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