Ibrahim Nasiru: A quintessential image-maker

He quietly sneaked into the employ of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) like several others in 1987 in the officer cadre of the authority.

He left a huge gaping hole, as he exited the system 35 years after, as a quintessential image maker, last November.

A very fast learner, who had served his tutelage under master strategists like the former Managing Director, Mal. Abdulsalam Mohammed, and former General Manager, Chief Michael Kayode Ajayi; he actually came into his last portfolio and responsibility at a time when the NPA leadership was mired in controversy: former Managing Director Hadiza Bala Usman had been suspended and was facing a probe.

The cacophonous din was on whether her second in-command, Mohammed Bello-Koko, should be allowed to hold on to the fort, or thrown overboard with her. The journalists, particularly, the maritime media practitioners, were having a wonderful time. Documents flew around, whether genuine or not. The vibrant ones were, in fact, digging deeper, like the legendary Oliver Twist, seeking for more!

Then, suddenly, the NPA management drafted Ibrahim Nasiru in!.Nasiru has three things going for him:

  1. He builds bridges, believing that one day, they would be useful.
  2. Nasiru has the uncanny ability to divert required attention to another person or issue, while he pans himself into total insignificance.
  3. Nasiru enjoys the characteristic grace of being tactfully truthful. It makes him believable, even when you know he is not telling you all the truth.

Fortunately, his immediate predecessors allegedly alienated the media from Hadiza, which justified the backlash, fury and ferocity of the media onslaught. The pan was getting hotter. The grapevine, right or wrong, said the NPA management was also feeling more uncomfortable. Then, suddenly, Ibrahim Nasiru took over. The effect was like taking a hot frying pan into a giant fridge.

The deft move was both predictable and effective. Needless to say, from that point, the media fury, except for those who had filed in their stories and couldn’t retrieve them, simply disappeared. First, he activated the bridges; lashed them with more assurances and pledges; and being naturally believable, the blazing swords were immediately shielded. Sadly, he only fulfilled just about 50 percent of the entire pledges, as he bowed out.

Yet, you cannot peruse Nasiru, without seeing one distinguishing feature: Discipline. Anyone who truly latches on to discipline exudes confidence and is genuinely believable would ultimately be in motion, for a longer time, irrespective of the word – ‘retired’. Like a dove, Nasiru easily blends perfectly with the powers that be.

But then, that’s a story for another day. An indubitable fact however is that the outgoing General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of the Nigerian Ports Authority is also considered trustable by the ‘Jagabans’, within and outside the shores of Nigeria.

Amiable, versatile, transparent and jovial, Nasiru freely tells you his personal philosophy of life: Honesty, Diligence and Commitment. He has served in various port locations across the country, particularly the Lagos Ports Complex, Tin Can Island Ports Complex, and the former Container Terminal Port, Apapa, which makes up the current AP Moller Apapa Terminals.

He witnessed the port undergoing several reforms; and his unit transformed from PR Unit, Corporate Affairs Unit, Public Affairs Department, to the present Corporate and Strategic Communications Unit. He also witnessed how the department which was once statutorily headed by an Assistant General Manager (AGM Corporate Affairs), progressed to its present enviable status.
The quintessential image maker began his public relations career as an assistant manager, public relations from 1996-1997 at the headquarters, Marina; and from 1997-2000, he headed the public affairs unit of the Continental Shipyard Limited, being the pioneer image maker, which was a joint venture between the NPA and Des of Switzerland.

He got promoted and was redeployed to the headquarters as a full manager, public relations, a position he held from 2000-2002 after which he was deployed to head the public relations unit of Tin Can Island Port from 2002-2004.

From there he was again posted to Container Terminal, Apapa from 2004-2006, to head the public relations unit.

He became a senior manager, corporate affairs at the headquarters from 2006 and 2007 and was subsequently promoted to principal manager, corporate affairs at the headquarters in 2007, a position he held until 2011.

He was however promoted an assistant general manager, corporate and strategic communications in 2017, a position he held up to 2021 when he was promoted to the general manager position, a director cadre as head of the corporate and strategic communications department, where he now bows out.

Nasiru is a member of several professional organisations both locally and abroad. He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Institute of Shipping Technology, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and Africa Public Relations Association (APRA), among several others.

Nasiru pioneered the formation of the Committee of PR Managers, Federal Ministry of Transportation, and became its first secretary. The committee harnesses the public relations activities of all parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Transportation for effective collaboration with the media. The amiable, detribalised Nigerian has served in several committees both locally and internationally, including the Ministerial Committee on the sinking of MV Zanzibar.

He has also represented Nigeria at several outings, particularly the International Maritime Organisation, IMO; most recent of which is the just concluded IMO meeting on the London Protocol.

An image maker par excellence, Ibrahim Nasiru belongs to several management and business bodies. They are the International Management Academy; the American Management Training Academy (AMTA), and Galilee International Management Institute (IMTA), among several others.

An alumnus of the Institute for Democracy in Africa at St. Thomas University, Miami, Florida, USA, he is IT-savvy.

He is a member of Kuru Old Boys’ Association (KOSO), Crown Agents, University of Plymouth and Kansas State University.

He holds several local and international awards, including the Distinguished Visitor Award to Miami Dade County, Florida, United States.

We celebrate his exit from the NPA and strongly believe that the exit is truly an enabler, to saunter out, rub-shoulders, swim with the big-time business barracudas and political sharks, and juggernauts.

Aderibigbe writes from Lagos

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