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In strategic turnaround, Peterside harps on due diligence


Dakuku Peterside

BOOK: Strategic Turnaround, Story Of A Government Agency
AUTHOR: Dakuku Adol Peterside Ph.D
PUBLISHER: Safari Books Ltd
YEAR: 2021

Strategic Turnaround by Dakuku Peterside is more than a case study of transformational change in an African maritime administration. It is a roadmap for putting agency back into your government department, a go-to guide for reinvigorating your energy-sapped public servants, and a speakeasy description of how to overcome those structural influences of culture and bureaucracy that knee-cap many a change effort.

This book is a must-read for those [having to walk the tightrope of balancing the public’s expectations against the public’s purse when] attempting to restore confidence in an under-performing public service.

Armed with Dr. Peterside’s inspirational book, you too will succeed in bringing about transformational change in your government agency, said Dr. Claire Pekcan, Maritime Organisational Psychologist and Human Factors Consultant, Safe Marine Ltd.UK.


The book is timely with its focus on how an agency with a bold and visionary CEO can undertake reforms that transform institutions, whether they be governmental, business or philanthropic. In the space of four years, Dr. Peterside totally transformed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), turning it around to become a successful maritime institution today and a point of

This book is not a management textbook. It is neither an academic journal nor a chronicle of activities that took place at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) from March 2016 to March 2020. It is just what it is – an explicit, simple and easy-to-understand narrative of the principles, processes, patterns of reasoning, strategies and approaches that my colleagues and I took to transform NIMASA, a government agency.

It tells of leadership as well as management principles, useful and interesting insights that can be adapted to a variety of situations in organisations, especially those of the public sector struggling to fulfil their mission or seeking to achieve excellence. Also, the book reveals the core elements of some bold and strategic initiatives my team and I envisioned and executed to change from negative to positive narrative about the NIMASA.

The turnaround of NIMASA serves as the anchor of the narrative because it is a visible example of a success story about a public sector organisation that was disparaged, but transformed to command great respect from persons and institutions both within and outside the country. The turnaround of NIMASA demonstrates the power of vision, purpose, teamwork, good relationship management, effective planning and execution.

It follows therefore that this book starts with the first chapter detailing what we did to set the stage to do things differently. Nobody hinted us or guaranteed that it would be easy, and it did not turn out to be easy actually. Setting the stage involved the detailed examination of the organisation, redefining priorities, reorientation of perspectives and behaviours, and developing a roadmap to guide us on the new journey in a different but positive direction. Chapter two takes us through the quest to regain our reputation that was almost destroyed by stories told by others about us: a reputation said to be on life support.


Sequentially, we conceived and agreed on a plan to help us regain our reputation, and we did. Chapter three narrates how we rekindled confidence and rebuilt the capacity of our people who remained our greatest asset; and how we communicated to them in words and deeds that they are of great value and cherished. This translated into a new zeal and commitment on the part of staff of the Agency; evident by the maximum cooperation and support they gave to the management.

Chapter four talks about the enthusiasm of our people to learn, unlearn, and relearn, and how the knowledge they acquired was brought to bear in the discharge of their responsibilities. Chapter five describes the new corporate culture, shared values and practices institutionalised. How did we create an environment, which ensured that bonds of trust were built to enhance cooperation?

Chapter six outlines our bold and strategic initiatives to reform and standardise our regulatory and enforcement operations to ensure greater compliance amongst operators. It also includes how we organised available resources to perform this core function, and the results we got. Chapter seven explains further how we went all out to enforce compliance, specifically in the areas of Cabotage and shipping promotion, and the challenges we encountered at every turn.

Chapter eight describes the background, context, robust strategies and equipment deployed to tackle what happened to be our greatest challenge — maritime security. This is one area that our operations suffered several serious setbacks. Nevertheless, we remained resolute in our vision of tackling what obviously was (is) an elephant in the room. Chapter nine is the account of our unrelenting effort to embed technology in our work flow and business processes to enhance our efficiency and effectiveness. It is a potpourri of successes and failures.

Chapter 10 covers the pragmatic approach taken to update our laws and regulations, having acknowledged the dire consequences of outdated laws in regulations, much like a hurting tooth. The ship Titanic is history because it operated under laws of a past time. Suffice to say, it is one longer route in the journey to reach a successful destination.


Chapter 11 recounts how we moved from being caricatured in our local environment to be reckoned with at the global level. What brought the change in the narrative about us? Thus, chapter 12 presents the reflections from this unusual journey, in the forms of the lessons, challenges, actions, successes, failures and the unfinished business.

Chapter 13 provides an opportunity to share a common pattern which we believe can be replicated elsewhere to turnaround private and public sector organisations/agencies desirous of fulfilling their mandate and achieving excellence. Our model could serve as a guide for those who will embark on a journey of organisational renewal in developing countries.

The book is concluded with a postscript by Dr. Maxwell Ubah, a leadership trainer who is at the frontline facilitating learning in the art of leadership. He has facilitated leadership development for almost all key public sector organisations in Nigeria, and so brings a unique experiential perspective to organisational renewal.

The narrative in this book is not the entirety of our story. It is a journey punctuated by challenges. However, there is no challenge the human spirit cannot surmount provided there is a will. I am glad that we had not only the will but also made a positive difference. It is my hope that as you read the following pages, you will be inspired to work toward turning around any project, institution or organisation you have responsibility for.


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Dakuku PetersideNIMASA
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