Dakuku’s “Strategic Turnaround” book: A milestone of a World-Class Leadership material – By Chukwuemeka Eze

Dr Dakuku Peterside
Dr Dakuku Peterside

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.’ Chief Eze

Preamble

According to one of the foremost philosophers, John C. Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. While to Stephen Covey, “Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out”.

It is on these special quotes by these great minds that could have had in mind my dearest brother and friend, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, when they made those great statements that I am set to unravel another great feat of this enigma of a leader from Rivers State in Nigeria. These quotes resonate again as Dr Peterside formally presents to the world one of the most celebrated and revolutionary books ever presented which he authored on 25th March, 2021. It is a book titled, ‘Strategic Turnaround’ aimed at how Government institutions all over the world can be reformed and repositioned to deliver effective and efficient services.

Dr Peterside is the immediate past Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the book, which chronicles the transformation of a strategic government agency), is authored by this erudite scholar.

The Perception of the Book by a British Professor, Chris Bellamy

The work has already become a world beater, acknowledged and approved by great foreign Professors as a definitive case of successful high-level change management and essential insight into the maritime sector of an emerging maritime power.”

Prof Chris Bellamy is Emeritus Professor of Maritime Security at the University of Greenwich United Kingdom, a former Professor of Military Science and Doctrine at Cranfield University, and Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Maritime Crime and Security.

According to this great Professor who had the privilege to preview the book, the work is recommended for Strategic Turnaround.

Professor Chris Bellamy further posited, “Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside’s book, Strategic Turnaround, showcases the radical reform of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the entire maritime sector in Nigeria by its leaders and key stakeholders”.

The story of how strategic change was initiated, instigated, and successfully managed in the maritime sector in Nigeria has far-ranging relevance within the horn of Africa and beyond. This story is briefly and eloquently told in Strategic Turnaround.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous in the world with 206 million people in late 2019. Its maritime sector is highly significant: Nigeria has Africa’s largest economy and the 24th in the world, with a GDP estimated by the International Monetory Fund (IMF) at about $500 billion. Sometimes called the ‘Giant of Africa’ because of its large population and economy, it is one of the MINT countries named in 2011 – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey – having great potential and offering potential great returns on investment in the next decade.

Nigeria’s maritime sector is of great importance, not only for indigenous transport but global potentialities. Oil is one of the critical cargoes. “Nigeria hopes to compete with the Philippines in provision of seafarers. However, it also faces challenges. It lies on the Gulf of Guinea, which in 2013 surpassed Somali-based piracy in the western Indian Ocean as the world hot-spot for piracy and armed robbery at sea” argues Professor Bellamy.

Professor Bellamy, who had the opportunity to preview the book, has praises for the story style writing of serious leadership, management, and maritime concepts.

He praised the book for its straightforward narrative that makes it easy for every scholar to understand how Peterside’s leadership team applied leadership and management principles to change the maritime industry in Nigeria.

Other Testimonials about the Book Strategic Turnaround:

1.According to Forbes Magazine Africa, “A number of reform principles are embedded in the method used by the Dakuku Peterside team in NIMASA to lift the Agency from a mediocre local player to a respectable global player in Maritime regulation”.

2. While to Dr. Lasis Ologunji, “Reflection is good for leaders if they must reach their full potentials. You’ve always known that reformers are fishermen in crocodile-infested waters. They will suffer attacks unless they get their acts together early enough and conquer the terrain with deep understanding, superior wisdom and tact. You are now convinced that managing government agencies expose leaders to challenges from external factors, policy changes, changes in political leadership, poor leadership, or just some internal crisis that could lead to poor performance.”

3.Dr Maxwell Ubah in his view, “The book is more than an account of stewardship embarked upon by Dr Dakuku Peterside and his team in NIMASA; it is a corporate case study of how any leader can lead large-scale transformational changes in any organisation. While your organisational context might be different, the principles of leadership contained in the book are relevant, practical, and universal in application.

Consequently, irrespective of where you are in your leadership journey you will find in the book a treasure load of lessons, examples, and nuggets to help you become a more effective leader and unlock the greatness in your team or organisation.”

4. Mr. Olukorede Yishua in his submission stated, “The book comes in an easy-to-follow style. He deploys anecdotal technique where necessary to spice up his narration and makes for engrossing reading”

5. To Chuks Oluigbo, “Aside from the story of bold changes, the 13-chapter book highlights challenges to watch out for when embarking on the reform of any government institution. It navigates through changes in culture, priorities, human resources, reputational positioning, commitment ny leadership and stakeholder engagement’

6. Adeola Akinremi of Strategy Yard, USA captures the book more aptly when he stated, “Any organisation, irrespective of how badly run or underperforming, can be transformed to perform optimally to the satisfaction of stakeholders. Every challenge can be overcome with the power of possibility,” he writes, pointing readers in the direction of leading change with a different way of thinking in an era of increasingly rapid change.This book is like a reel with a thread of ideas on how to breathe life into a dying agency of government or corporation.”

7. To Don Baridam, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and 6th Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria, This work is a masterpiece for students of strategic management and practising managers who want to turnaround their organizations for effective performance.

8. Prof Banji OYELARAN-OYEYINKA, Senior Special Adviser to the President, AfDB, Abidjan in his view, “This timely book by Dr. Peterside details the deep-going reform that led to a huge transformation of a relatively non-performing public organization into a high performance one. The steps taken by the author who was the architect of the change holds useful lessons for public and private sector enterprises alike. I recommend the book to academics and policy makers desiring to learn more about the nature and nurturing strategies for positive change”

9. Dr. Marcel Mbamalu exposed his thought on the book thus, “The trail of intellectuals in political and corporate leadership is often blazed by strategic thinking and policy execution within the context of sound governance. This is exactly what Dr Dakuku Peterside has done. I am glad he has gone a step further to document his times at NIMASA in Strategic Turnaround. The book is, therefore, a must read, not only for those in Maritime sector but also for Nigerians who see value in strategic leadership”

Over 1500 Copies Already Sold Before the Formal Launch

Great Nigerian Minds and Billionaires that have the ability to smell gold no matter the distance have already purchased over one thousand five hundred copies of the great book even before the formal launch.

Two Nigerian Billionaires Otedola and Dantata have already purchased 1,500 copies of Dakuku’s book on strategic turnaround even before the public presentation, apparently knowing what the book holds for the emancipation and development of our great country if the principles are carefully studied and implemented.

Billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, and founder of MRS Group, Alhaji Sayyu Dantata, are some of the first set of Nigerian business leaders to pre-order the book on Management and Leadership, ‘Strategic Turnaround’.

Otedola who pre-ordered 1,000 copies at cover price for distribution to selected institutions across the country expressed his belief in the reformation of public sector institutions as an enabler for private sector performance.

In his words, “I believe in the reforms of public sector institutions for greater efficiency and effectiveness. If our public sector institutions are functioning well like their counterparts in other parts of the globe, it will lead to improvement in quality of services rendered and will strengthen the private sector to create jobs. Job creation will address poverty and accelerate development.

“I believe that what happened in NIMASA in the past four years under the leadership of Dr. Peterside is a success story of institutional reform which can be replicated in other agencies of government which is why I am preordering this book so that more persons can read about it and be inspired to also reform whatever government institutions they find themselves By this logic, it means that Dr Peterside has not only reformed NIMASA but has reformed or will reform many other government institutions and agencies indirectly by dropping a book or blue print that may hand-hold other bureaucrats in reforming other agencies.

On his part, Dantata, who has pre-ordered 500 copies, wants as many aspiring leaders as possible to read the story of the transformation of NIMASA through committed and visionary leadership.

According to him, “I want as many persons as possible to read about the success story of how one of the most important agencies of government in Nigeria was transformed under a period of four years. If NIMASA can be effectively reformed then all other agencies can be reformed. All we need is visionary and focused leadership which Dr Peterside gave while at NIMASA”.

He said that the pre-ordered copies would be distributed to selected public universities and libraries across Nigeria.

But who is Dr. Dakuku Peterside

Dr Dakuku Peterside 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.

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.

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 former position as D-G, NIMASA where he brought in words and actions, integrity, panache, compassion and intellectual dimension to bear in tackling tough issues of the agency..

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 any assignment given to him.

Dakuku is faithful to friends and friendship and wears loyalty as a Royal robe and in this regard his mentor and boss Rt. Hon. Dr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi went further to explain that, “I remember when I was told that Dakuku will be a sell-out when we were vying for governorship under Dr. Peter Odili. Today, he is the only one remaining among those I can call my political allies.

During his tenure as the DG of NIMASA he reduced running costs significantly and improved revenue generation to the Federal Government simply because the man, Dakuku, is not corrupt. He is not greedy, and he is a content fellow. He is a transparent character and fits perfectly well within the common agenda of any assignment”

He has lived out the thinking of John C. Maxwell by demonstrating that he is a leader who not only knows the way but goes the way and shows the way.

He  has truly established himself at this young age as  an icon, an enigma, a study in resoluteness, benevolence, audacity, resourcefulness, a consummate administrator,  a humanist, creativity and has easily positioned himself as one of the new faces of Nigerian politics and most importantly an emerging force in the global Maritime Industry particularly in Africa and becoming the first Nigerian to be elected the President by 34 countries that are members of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA).

An Astute and charismatic politician, a seasoned and consummate  administrator with an amiable personality, a phenomenal reformist whose cult-followership stature particularly among the youths that puts him as a leader to be admired, watched and associated with.

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.”                        

His Feats as Director General of NIMASA

Since Dakuku’s appointment as Director-General of NIMASA in March 2016, a lot of reforms have been initiated, including the new Cabotage Compliance Strategy, which has created more employment for Nigerians in the maritime sector and significantly grown the maritime sector’s contribution to both the Federation Account and the Gross Domestic Production (GDP).

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.

His turnaround and re-engineering strategies and efforts in NIMASA have given a facelift to not only just the Agency but the maritime sector- With NIMASA now attracting commendation from the Federal government, through the Minister of Finance and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as the highest revenue remitting Agency in Nigeria.

“Under the watch of this reformer and revolutionist, NIMASA, with its record-breaking income generation into Nigeria’s coffers, received presidential commendation and dusted other similar agencies to top the chart on Port and Flag State Control in the West and Central African sub-regions. The maritime regulatory agency outranked other maritime regulators in the region, in the inspection of vessels calling at Nigerian ports, according to the latest report by the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control for West and Central African Region, otherwise known as Abuja MoU.

All these were part of the fruits of reforms initiated by the agency and deliberate investment in enforcement equipment. The fact remains that the management team of NIMASA is conscious of global best practices and is determined to rid our waterways of all substandard vessels, with the ultimate aim of ensuring a safe and robust maritime domain. This afforded the agency the capacity to be a competitive player in the global maritime space, giving her an edge in the community of maritime investment destinations.

“NIMASA under Dakuku then engaged in deliberate efforts to protect the country’s maritime assets and environment by building up response capabilities under the Deep Blue Sea project. The Agency acquired special mission aircraft, special mission telecommunications gadgets, and 17 interceptor special mission vessels. It has also, in conjunction with the country’s security services, set up a Command and Control Centre, with a complement of armoured vehicles to patrol littoral states, and a standing military force to deal with criminal activities at sea”.

Dakuku left the Agency on March 10, 2020 in a touching moment of camaraderie. A colourful and historic pulling-out ceremony held in his honour at the end of his tenure brought together history, legacy, and lesson for the future. He says, “Serving in NIMASA was fulfilling; leaving was breath-taking. Now, I feel elated to watch my successor, Bashir Jamoh, a man of phenomenal institutional knowledge, advancing the spirit of excellence that guided our collective tenure.”

More Facts about the Book

The Strategic Turnaround – Story of a Government Agency, by Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has 13 chapters spread in 302 pages. It is published by the Safari Books while the forward of the book was written by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

Prof Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Industrialization, African Development Bank (AfDB), Abidjan is the Chief Previewer of the book.

The Book to be formally launched on Thursday,  March 25 2021 by 11am  with the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, VP Yemi Osibanjo, as Special Guest of Honour with Rt. Hon. Dr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi the Minister Of Transportation will act as the Chief Host with Prof Babagana Zulum the Executive Governor of Borno State.as the Keynote Speaker.

Conclusion

Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside 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.

I am glad at this juncture to join the entire world to celebrate my dearest brother and friend, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside the Golden Boy of Niger Delta Politics and one of the best products from Rivers State to the world on this auspicious occasion of presentation of his great book aimed at reviving, reforming and repositioning most dying government Institutions in the world. He has by many feats proved himself a world beater in all ramifications

With Dakuku Peterside succeeding to achieve what he set out to do in this book and for turning around an underperforming state institution into “a model maritime administration for developing countries, I highly recommend this book to State Governments, students of Management Studies, Leadership Studies, policy makers, politicians and academics alike.

Chief Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and can be reached via   ezemediaconcept2020@gmail.com

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