As Nigerians and the entire world gather together and in unison to celebrate an icon, an enigma, a study in resoluteness, benevolence, audacity, resourcefulness, creativity, one of the new faces of Nigerian politics and most importantly an emerging force in the Maritime Industry in Africa, Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside who will by this Monday, 31st December, 2018 celebrates his 48th birthday; it gives me a lot of joy to express myself on this new leader of our time at this auspicious season.
Though a very close associate and a true brother who understands what brotherhood is all about but I must confess that writing on Dr Dakuku Peterside, the energetic Director-General of Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the APC Governorship Candidate in Rivers State in the 2015 elections and currently President, Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) on any issue maybe a herculean task because of his multi-faceted and enigmatic personality but it behoves on me not minding the odds to expose some hidden facts about the remarkable life of this astute administrator to you and others that will have time to read through this..
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. A terror to undemocratic principles particularly to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his untoward manner of governance; he dreads Peterside like a plague and mere mention of his name alone sends shivers down his spine.
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, former 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.”
Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside whom I have closely monitored for the past thirteen years is a true reflection of what audacity, resoluteness, resourcefulness and creativity are all about no matter the field he decides to work upon or the odds. 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 Nigeria and Nigerians is infectious. Here is a man who is reputed as a charming, charismatic and disciplined leader; creative and hard-working, a broad-minded fellow with strategic insight. He brings integrity, creativity, compassion, and intellectual dimension to bear in tackling tough political and administrative 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.”.
This pride of Rivers State and one of the most articulated and educated political leaders from the State is an extraordinary and innovative administrator which absence from the governance of the State have resulted to the present catastrophic and sorrow state of Rivers State where people now sleep with only one eye closed with the pensioners not receiving their pension and workers not paid their salaries and the education sector in a limbo with our youths without any meaningful future. The Rivers State loss of this ingenious man is the gain of Nigeria and Africa as he has proved that he has the Midas-touch that can change the fortunes of any Organisation or assignment he gets himself involved. He is the pride of Nigeria and embodiment of the resoluteness spirit of Rivers State.
He started his public political life principally when he was appointed Commissioner of Works under the administration of erstwhile Governor of Rivers State and incumbent Federal Minister of Transportation, Dr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, from 2007 to 2011, where he (Peterside) excelled, redefined and created most of the major roads, flyovers and bridges in Rivers State. Since he left office in 2011, Rivers State is yet to get a reputable replacement for that office till date. This was a man who used midnight for the supervision of most of the key projects under his watch.
A former House of Representatives member and past governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, Peterside has demonstrated a sterling leadership quality that is by today acknowledged by the world and African leaders to warrant his elevation as Africa’s No. 1 Maritime Administrator. He has proved that his appointment by President Buhari, based on the recommendation of Amaechi, was in order. He has by this feat proved that the Rivers State spirit is in him, by positioning himself as one of the new revelations in the leadership circle in Nigeria. I can now agree with our amiable President Buhari, who spoke through Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo – during the unveiling of the new symbol of NIMASA – that Peterside has made Nigeria proud, by regenerating NIMASA and making it a centre of excellence for other countries to emulate.
Dr. Peterside from his early years in politics to date has remained focused and unwavering in his determination to provide service to ordinary Nigerians as a politician whether in the Nigerian lower legislative chamber where he earned a reputation as a progressive and broad minded legislator whose views were always respected or in his present position as D-G, NIMASA where he brings in words and actions, integrity, panache, compassion and intellectual dimension to bear in tackling tough issues of the agency..
Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside has pursued his vision with audacity and strength of will to somersault all obstacles to become Africa’s number one Maritime Administrator.
President Muhammadu Buhari captured the mood and minds of most Nigerians in his remarks about this enigma of a leader when he stated: “Peterside’s unanimous election is not only a personal honour and affirmation of confidence in his ability to lead AAMA, but also places Nigeria in a pivotal position to rally other maritime administrations in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) towards safer global maritime activities.”
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.
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,”
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.”
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.
DAKUKU PETERSIDE: HIS MISSION AND VISION FOR RIVERS STATE
According to Peterside when he was preparing for the 2015 gubernatorial election of Rivers State, “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.”
In the first lecture just few weeks ago, Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside as the Keynote speaker in an event, spoke on a topic titled (Rivers State Master Plan) said that there is a slight change in what was presented to Rivers people during the period under review (2015) but used Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority an agency of the Rivers state government, the second largest economy in Nigeria. That was formed under Law No.2 of 2009.
Peterside said the current administration lack purpose, plan and clarity. He said the best urban outcomes start with a clear idea about purpose, a personality for the place. Knowing what it is you are seeking to become brings order and clarity to design thinking and creates a clear framework around which investment can be prioritized and staged.
More so that strong urban design offers significant community benefits, better quality of life, safer and more secure cities and a greater ability to function as a society. It also provides each city with a required sense of identity and establishes the framework for it to be more responsive to differing climatic, economic or social variables.
THE FORCES AND FACTORS THAT DENIED RIVERS STATE THE INGENUITY OF THE ENIGMATIC DAKUKU PETERSIDE
In an article widely circulated and published which I titled, “AMAECHI, WIKE, ABE, DAKUKU AND THE STRUGGLE FOR THE 2019 RIVERS APC GUBER TICKET: CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE FORCES AND FACTORS AT PLAY” and the press statement I titled.”Peterside didn’t lose 2015 governorship election in Rivers State to Wike but to sabotage by APC chieftains…”, I highlighted all the forces and factors that denied Rivers State the ingenuity of Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
Eze, in a statement he personally signed and circulated to media organisations, maintained that not minding that Wike used security agencies and militants during the 2015 general elections to intimidate the electorates and the opposition political parties as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to influence the outcome of the election to his favour argued that had Senator Magnus Abe, Senator Wilson Ake, Chief Allwell Onyesoh, Elder Chidi Wihioka, Hon. Barry Mpigi, Chief Tony Okocha, whom he described as “great party stalwarts and Commanders at their various political enclaves”, and others not named, had played their parts to support the party and march Wike with all his tricks, Governor Wike would have by now be “singing a different song in the politics of Rivers State”. Eze reiterated that if not for the internal sabotage against Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who was the gubernatorial candidate of APC during the 2015 general elections, there was “no way a candidate like Wike would have defeated a shining star of Rivers State politics like Peterside in a free and fair election as the difference between the two great sons of Rivers State is very glaring and outstanding.”
Eze continued, ” Not minding that Wike is a deadly political strategist and tactician, but to defeat one of the most educated and highly performing politicians like Peterside who have distinguished himself during his days as the most audacious Commissioner of Works Rivers State ever had and a member of the seventh National Assembly where he made the difference as the Chairman of the Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream of the Federal House of Representatives is unthinkable and unimaginable. It is simply unimaginable for Wike to defeat a person like Dr Peterside who has within less than three years made the Maritime Industry in Nigeria the most outstanding in Africa and becoming the first Nigerian to head the Maritime Industry in Africa” Chief Eze emphasised.
Incase, you are in doubt of the assertions, you can google any of these titles mentioned above to read in full the forces and factors that made Rivers State a laughing stock under Governor Nyesom Wike.
DAKUKU PETERSIDE THE TRUE PARTY MAN AND HIS STATE MAN LIKE GESTURE:
Dakuku Peterside’s contributions stand him in good stead to still fly the flag of APC for the 2019 general elections but when the leadership decides otherwise and as a true party man in a press statement titled, “Unity to triumph” he proved that the future belongs to him. Read and pass your judgement.
“Dear Compatriots, Yesterday our leader, Rt Hon C R Amaechi, whom we all subscribe to his leadership made a decision of whom we should back for the office of the Governor of Rivers State in 2019.
The lot fell on my friend and brother in Christ, Tonye Dele Cole .
2. I made a commitment to the group earlier to stand by whatever decision the leader makes in the overall interest of the party and rivers state . I reiterated my position yesterday in the leadership meeting. I thus stand by the decision on TDC .
3. We have toiled from 2013 to date ( a period of five years ) and have made sacrifices & lost lives in course of enthroning the kind of government we want in Rivers State; a government that will guarantee peace , unity and prosperity. In course of the struggle we bonded as one indivisible family under God.
4. The decision by the Leader has been meet with mixed reactions, which is expected. My appeal is that we allow the greater interest of APC & RVS to prevail .
5. To those who believe in the vision I shared in the past 5 years , the leadership I gave at various times & the path of loyalty to the cause I have chosen over time , I urge you all to stand by the Leader, the party and the ordinary people of rivers state in support of TDC . I personally pledge my loyalty to the Leader (who is to me family ) and the decision he has made . I enjoin all my supporters to queue behind our leader CRA & ensure total victory for our party.
6. I pray for unity among the members of APC & VICTORY in the 2019 election.”
It can only take a true loyal party man like Dakuku Peterside to take this type of step even when you are fully prepared to fly the flag of the party.
No matter the position of his critics, 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. He is truly an amazing personality, an icon, an enigma, a study in resoluteness, benevolence, audacity, resourcefulness, creativity, one of the new faces of Nigerian politics and most importantly an emerging force in the Maritime Industry in Africa.
As Dr. Dakuku Peterside turns 48, it is a perfect opportunity for him to sense the feeling of being alive in the depths of his heart and promise himself to continue to do great things and aim even higher.
As he celebrates his 48th birthday in few days time, I wish this great, a resolute revolutionary, exceptional visionary and democrat the best in all his future endeavours.
•Chief Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org,