…How He Earned His Place in Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Train

Unlike many of his contemporaries who got their tenure truncated, Dr. Bashir Jamoh was allowed by President Bola Tinubu to serve out his four year tenure successfully. He only handed over the mantle of leadership of the agency few days ago to the director of Finance and administration, Dr. Chudi Offodile in an acting capacity after the expiration of his first tenure. As at the time of going to press, no official statement yet concerning his fate or about appointment of a substantive successor.

One of the innovations President Bola Tinubu brought into his government was the creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy. Many reached for their dictionaries to know what blue economy meant. But the President knew what he wanted and the professionals he needed to drive the new ministry.

The President’s personnel plans began to manifest during the reconstitution of the management teams of the four agencies which form the backbone of the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry. They are the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the National Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA). Of these, President Tinubu reappointed the Chief Executive Officers of NIMASA and NPA, the two agencies headed at the time by core professionals in the maritime sector, in order to avail the new ministry of their expertise and experience.

Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, the then Director General of NIMASA and President, Chartered Institute of Transport Administrators (CIoTA), is, unarguably, one of the longest serving managers and administrators in the Nigerian maritime sector. He has over 37 years of professional and technocratic experience in the transportation and maritime sectors of the Nigerian economy. He was first appointed Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of NIMASA on March 10, 2020 after serving in various management cadres and positions in the agency, the National Maritime Authority (which later transformed into NIMASA), and other transport and logistics companies.

Under Jamoh’s leadership, NIMASA has recorded major and groundbreaking achievements. Some of them include the restructuring, reformation and repositioning of the agency; improvement of revenue generation and steady remittance to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government; successfully hosting the 3rd Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), 2017; training of over 1,650 personnel locally and internationally in diverse subjects and skills; and establishing, equipping and managing NIMASA’s ultra-modern training centre with capacity to accommodate 200 participants at a time.

Others are: successfully planning, managing and appraising capacity development of the largest maritime organisation for about a decade;   improving and aligning the agency’s training to world-class standard; budgetary management of over N117 billion with commensurate value for every Naira spent; accidents and incidents-free management of the agency’s protocol and logistics portfolio for local and international operations; efficient research and data management for actionable maritime planning and administration in collaboration with vessel/cargo related MDAs; effective co-ordination of revenue generation from operations with a monthly budget of up to $40 million; and effectively managing the operations of incoming and outgoing vessels in major ports across coastal Nigeria.

Under Jamoh’s leadership of NIMASA, Nigeria has ratified six international maritime conventions which spell out proper modes of governance for various areas, such as standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for the fishing sector, pollution management and carriage of passenger luggage by sea.

Within Jamoh’s first three years as DG/CEO, NIMASA had concluded the review of 49 Regulations made pursuant to the Merchant Shipping Act 2007. Laws in this category specifically sought to protect the interests of indigenous professionals and investors in the maritime industry with first-choice opportunity preferences. It also bridged operational gaps between the maritime sector and other areas while fostering inter-agency collaboration with other federal government-owned organisations.

Jamoh and his team also succeeded in Executing some Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the agency and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), amongst others. Other MoUs reached include the one on the recognition of Certificate of Competency (CoC) and Training of Seafarers between Nigeria and 16 countries. It was aimed at expanding opportunities for international level job placement for holders of Nigeria CoC while also causing Nigerian skilled maritime manpower deployment in addressing the global challenge of a declined number of seafarers.

NIMASA also achieved the automation of the registration process of Shipping Company/Agents resulting in Certificates being embedded with QR Codes for authentication. This has successfully eliminated the back-and-forth incidents of alleged fake certificates in the past and has enthroned a greater level of integrity and accountability in the certification process.

NIMASA, under Jamoh, made deliberate drive to educate and strengthen judicial officers on how best to handle admiralty cases. The agency successfully hosted the Annual Nigerian Admiralty Law Colloquium in collaboration with the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) and the National Judicial Institute (NJI) for the years 2021, 2022, and 2023. It also championed the implementation of the Suppression of Piracy and Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, 2019, which has enhanced safer and secured trading routes through the Gulf of Guinea region and ensured proper prosecution of a sizeable number of cases such as FGN v Binaebi Johnson & 8 Ors and FGN v Frank Abaka & 9 Ors.

Other maritime administrations are presently studying this landmark SPOMO Act by Nigeria owing to its huge success in fighting piracy with a rich legal framework that has been marked with successes since implementation began. In general, the Jamoh-led management of NIMASA has doubled Nigeria’s momentum for a viable blue economy that seeks to harness maritime potentials for economic sustainability and growth.

These accomplishments earned NIMASA and Jamoh Presidential recognition through separate awards given by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR). While NIMASA was awarded the Best MDA in Digital Transformation, Jamoh was personally honoured with the Distinguished Trailblazers Award for Exemplary Leadership. There are many honours and recognitions both have been accorded since Jamoh became DG/CEO of NIMASA.

Announcing the reappointment of Jamoh as DG/CEO and Chudi Offodile as Executive Director, Finance and Administration, as well as other new NIMASA management team members, Ajuri Ngalele, the Presidential Media Aide, expressed Tinubu’s firm belief that they would expeditiously  and efficiently execute their collective mandate  to create the conditions  required  to significantly  raise the contribution  of the Marine and Blue Economy  sector of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.

Jamoh holds a Ph.D. from the University of Port Harcourt, specializing in Logistics and Transport Management. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Management from Korea Maritime and Ocean University; Post Graduate Diploma in Management Sciences from Bayero University, Kano; and a Diploma in Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, respectively. He has attended several leadership and management courses at the Harvard University, US; Oxford University UK, Cambridge University, UK; International Training Centre of ILO, Turin, Italy; Institute of Public Private Partnership, Washington DC,; International Law Institute, USA; and Institute for Leadership and Development for the Public Good, USA; Royal Institute of Public Administration, UK; and World Maritime University, Sweden; amongst others. He is also the author of the book, ‘Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets – Past, Present and Future.’

The DG/CEO of NIMASA began his working career in May 1987 as Accountant, Produce Purchase, Farmers Supply Company (KDS) Ltd, Kaduna. After two promotions to the positions of Assistant Produce Purchase Manager, and Principal Procurement Officer, he left the company in December 1993 to join the National Maritime Authority (NMA) as Principal Commercial Officer, Operations (Dry/Wet cargo) in January 1994.

Following the transformation of NMA into NIMASA, Jamoh became the Assistant Chief Commercial Officer, Eastern & Central Zones, of the restructured and rebranded agency. Between NMA and NIMASA, Jamoh held 10 different management positions, including Executive Director (Finance & Administration) from where he was made the DG/CEO NIMASA in 2020.