MasterwebNews 31/12/16 - Dakuku Peterside: Resolute Revolutionary and Visionary Democrat at 46

[ Masterweb Reports: Chief Eze C. Eze reports ] - Preamble: As Nigerians and the entire world gather together and in unison to celebrate an icon and one of the new faces of Rivers State politics, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, on his 46th birthday this Saturday, 31stDecember, 2016; it gives me a lot of joy to express myself on this new leader of our time. Notwithstanding, I must confess that writing on Hon Dakuku Peterside, Director-General of Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on any issue maybe a herculean task, but it’s always a delight as his multi-faceted and enigmatic personality comes to play. 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. Besides Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Federal Minister of Transport and Senator Magnus Abe, Peterside is another fellow that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State dreads like a plague. Mere mention of the name of Peterside alone sends shivers down Wike’s spine.

Peterside is widely accepted by all the sections of Rivers State; a symbol of unity, visionary, egalitarian and most importantly a patriot whose love for Rivers State and her people is infectious. In addition, he has earned a reputation as a charismatic and disciplined leader, creative and hard-working, a broad-minded fellow with strategic insight. He brings integrity, compassion, pro-poor perspective and intellectual dimension to bear in tackling tough national issues. His loyalty to friendship and bridge-building skills is remarkable. He is respected as one of the most result-oriented, meticulous, consistent, trustworthy and god-fearing political leaders in Rivers State today. In all the public offices he has held, he has brought innovation to bear and made remarkable impact that has endeared him to compatriots. He is a role model and mentor to several young persons, who look up to him for inspiration.

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, 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.”

Having followed Peterside for about 10 years, I can conclude that Clausewitz, Bush, Ikanya and King Princewill had him in mind while defining what audacity and leadership mean. Peterside treads where even angels are afraid to tread. Even though the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has made the state unsafe for opposition, and had severally attempted to assassinate him, he goes about as if he has a spare life. When I confronted him on why he is not scared about all the killings, harassment and intimidation in the state, he simply answered: Chief Eze, if I get scared what do I tell my supporters? Besides, I am a Christian and my God is capable of protecting me in the hands of the evil-minded fellows in PDP.”

The Making of Dakuku Peterside

Dr Peterside is an indigene of Biriye in Opobo Kingdom of Rivers State. He was born into the family of Senibo Adolphus Peterside, a scion of Senibo Nibilagh Peterside, a famous warrior cum merchant, on 31st December, 1970. A true Nigerian, the young Dakuku grew up partly in Azumini (Ukwa East Local Government Area) and Aba, both in present-day Abia State; as well as in Kaduna and Port Harcourt. Dakuku attended Okrika Grammar School (OGS), Okrika; University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt; University of Port Harcourt; Georgia State University, Atlanta, USA; and Harvard-Kennedy School, University of Harvard, USA.

He worked as Special Assistant (Student and Youth Affairs) to the former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, from 1999-2002; Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, from 2002-2005. He was Chief Executive Officer of El-Darl Engineering Ltd from 2005-2007. He had previously served as a member of the Board of Centre for Black and African Art and Civilization (CBAAC).He was the Executive Director of Development and Leadership Institute (DLI). Earlier, he had served as State Officer of the Defunct All Nigerian Congress (ANC) as well as Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN). He held the position of youth leader in the Restoration Team, a political pressure group that supported and held sway during Dr Odili’s administration in Rivers State.

A notable student-activist, Peterside was the first Opobo/Nkoro student to be elected as the President of the National Union of Rivers State Students. He contributed alongside others to establish the Vanguard of Opobo Nation (VON) in 1994 and was its secretary and, later, national president, from 2000-2008. He has also worked as editor and columnist in some print media outfits.
A good family man, Dakuku Peterside is married to Elima, a lawyer, and they are blessed with three children, Soba, Belema and Miebi. He is a committed Christian who believes his relationship with Jesus Christ is what gives meaning to life.

His Politics

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.” In an unprecedented move, first in the history of his constituency, he embarked on the visit of 70 churches, to thank God for his immeasurable goodness, having achieved much as a politician of the Opobo extraction.

He used his position to attract state government projects in Opobo/Nkoro council area. One of such projects was the sand-filling of Opobo New Layout, a project for which his community will ever be grateful to the former Rivers governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. During his stint as the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, he contributed positively to the development of the area. That, coupled with his non-discriminatory behaviour, earned him a rare award – Honourary Life Membership of the Opobo Legislative Assembly – was conferred on him.

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