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Hajia Lami Tumaka: Drawing the curtain on a meritorious career

Hajia Lami Tumaka

By Daniel Kajo
After 22 years of meritorious service to the Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Hajia Lami Tumaka bows out today
upon attainment of the mandatory retirement age of 60. 

A career that started in
1998 when Hajia Tumaka joined the services of the then National Maritime
Authority (NMA) as Chief Research Officer and saw her rise to the rank of
Director has been characterised by several awards and accolades from within and
without especially in the field of Public Relations which has defined most of
her stay in the Agency.

She has had to head the Public Relations Unit of the Agency at three
different times. Two of those times, she was called upon to remedy crises that threatened
to erode the confidence of stakeholders in NIMASA, the apex maritime regulatory
Agency in the country.

Mindful of the critical role of NIMASA in the nation’s economy, Hajia
Tumaka is always strategic in her approach and methodical in execution of her
responsibilities by constantly engaging her immediate constituency – the media
and the larger maritime community. 

As a thoroughbred Public Relations
professional, Hajia Tumaka believes that inadequate or lack of information
gives room for speculation that could fuel fake news and outright falsehood.

Accordingly, she maintained an open door policy where every journalist
had unfettered access to her to be able to verify information. Even her critics
will agree that Hajia, as she is fondly called was always available to comment
on any issue concerning the Agency whenever there was a reason to do so.

One of Hajia Tumaka’s ‘magic wands’ was to always keep tabs on
developments in the lives of media personnel covering the maritime beat. By so
doing, she hardly forgot to visit or at least identify with anyone that was

She would always remember to send a message of felicitation in case of a
new birth in the family of a journalist, their birthdays and other milestones.
This endeared her to a lot of journalists to the advantage of the Agency.

During one of her sojourns in the Public Relations Unit, Hajia
identified the lack of a proper communications structure in the Agency where
sometimes Top Management staff spoke directly to the media often in discordant

She thus developed a Communication Policy which ensured that the
Director General and the Head of Public Relations Units were the official
spokespersons of the Agency. In cases where other Top Management Staff were
delegated to perform this role especially while representing the Agency in
various fora, they were guided by the provisions of this policy.

The Communications Policy, along with other internal policies of the
Agency have been documented into a single document by the administration of Dr.
Dakuku Peterside for ease of reference and has greatly minimised misinformation
in the Agency.

Hajia Tumaka has received several awards and
recognition for her professionalism in the practice of Public Relations. She is
a recipient of the Maritime Media Woman of the
Year 2011 and 2012. She was also voted the Best Maritime Industry Public
Relations Officer 2011 through a poll among several other honours.

In April 2016, EvanCarmichael.com, a popular website founded by
Evan Carmichael, a Toronto-based entrepreneur named Hajia Tumaka
amongst the top 100
global Public Relations Practitioners for mentees to follow.
EvanCarmichael.com is a Toronto-based
entrepreneur and an international speaker dedicated to helping others succeed
by monitoring their progress and influence in their professional and
entrepreneurial careers.
Amongst her colleagues, Hajia Tumaka is a champion of interpersonal skills.
Her relationship with colleagues was almost excellent with her office serving
as a meccah of some sort for her colleagues. 
It is common place for staff to
approach Hajia for counselling and even support especially when there were
issues to be resolved at the official level. She would always listen carefully
and assure you of her efforts to try and resolve the matter. Most times she was
successful but as all things human, she was unsuccessful in a few cases.

Inspite of Hajia Tumaka’s professionalism, she is a deeply compassionate
and humane administrator. Many who come across her always have positive things
to remember her for. She could bend over backwards to assist providing she
believes in the course. Little wonder she seems to be the doyen of maritime stakeholders
for her calm mien, problem solving attitude, positive mental disposition and
friendly nature.

Born on January 14, 1960, Hajia Lami Tumaka had her primary education at
the St. George’s Primary School Ikoyi, Lagos State. Her secondary education was
done at Fatima Secondary School and Government Girls Secondary School both in Minna. 

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the renowned
Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1979. She returned to her alma mater in 2000
where she earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). 

Hajia Tumaka also
holds a Certificate in Basic Film Production with Distinction from the TV
College Jos (1986) and a Diploma in Public Relations from the Prestigious
Holborn College London (1993).

She started her working career at the Army Day Secondary Jaji upon
completion of the mandatory National Youth Service Corps. She later joined the
services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in 1986. Before joining the
employ of the NMA, she was the Public Relations Manager of Peugeot Automobile
Nigeria (PAN) Limited.

Hajia Tumaka is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations
(NIPR), Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration Nigeria
(CIOTA), Member Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), Member
Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria amongst

As she retires from NIMASA today, Hajia Tumaka will be sorely missed by
friends and colleagues in the maritime industry. But as the saying goes,
whatever has a beginning must surely have an end. 

The end of her public service
career in NIMASA can only mean the beginning of another chapter in her life
because clearly, Hajia Tumaka may have retired, but she is certainly not tired.

This is wishing Hajia Lami Tumaka 60 hearty cheers and the very best
wishes in her future endeavours.

Daniel Kajo wrote from the Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)HQ Office, Lagos.
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