…As Ilori calls for caution in the days towards inauguration
The newly elected President, Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA), Capt. Dada Olaniyi Labinjo has declared a three point agenda, aimed at bringing back the elusive jobs of the indigenous operators, stressing that he, in concert with his team intend to hit the ground, vibrating.
He highlighted this, in a telephone chat, responding to Maritime First request to know whether he was going to keep what he plans to do secret, even now that he has, against all odds, won the election he campaigned vigorously for.
“The truth is that I have never kept my plans secret. I have made my plans open as to what I was coming to do. During the campaigns and particularly, both at the Debate session and at my Post election statement, I have openly indicated that I have a single mission: to bring back the jobs of our members!” he highlighted, adding that the task is everyone’s task, only that it is compulsory that one person, must be at the driver’s seat.
“So, it is the strategy to bring back our jobs that we are fine tuning. We need to have all our members’ ships engaged; and that is my immediate concern, and that will start manifesting, the moment we are inaugurated”, he stated further.
He identified the second aspect of his agenda as the strategy to energize a new regime of functional ship-repair and ship yards.
“Our second agenda is the strategy to get our ship yard and ship repair-yard functional. This would become necessary as a result of the infrastructural development which is due to follow a prosperous shipping regime, which all of us would soon collectively entrench.
“There would always be infrastructural development which would be reflected, in the development of ship-repair yards or shipyard, because, this usually follow a prosperous shipping service.
“And the third point is the road-map for seafarers training. These were the things I have said that I will do; these are the things we will pursue with vigour. And once we are inaugurated, I will take the issue of getting back our jobs squarely, especially from the ‘usurpers’!
“It is unheard of that, foreign vessels will operate in our water without waiver. The waiver provision in our Cabotage law itself is vista to allow for short falls in shipping service provision. It is just a vista for short falls in shipping service provision! And where there is no short fall, there is no need for a waiver. Yet, the vessels that work in our water are not specialized vessels that the Nigerian ship-owners cannot provide. They are not! Including an FSO…the Nigerian ship-owners are providing them.
“So, where is the need for the waiver? It is just that we have been allowing the foreign companies to operate 10,000 tons, 15,000 tons and 30,000 toners-vessels in our water in Nigeria. These are shipping services that the average Nigerian ship-owners can provide. And that is why we must get back our jobs from them, immediately after our inauguration! But, like I told you, the entire membership would be involved.
“But as of now, my concentration, is for the inauguration which has been programmed for November 11, 2014; and already confirmed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), to take place”, he also said, lauding the NIMASA for organizing an absolutely free, fair and transparent election.
“You were there; the election was conducted in the full glare of everybody. It was clean, free, transparent, acrimony- free; and you all saw it. And of course, there were over 72 members of the association (NISA) who voted at the election. Let me remind you that out of the 72 shipping companies’ representatives that voted, about 50 of them were ship owners; and only about 20 of them were associate members.
“It was well conducted by NIMASA. In fact, going by the high level of transparency witnessed in that election, the INEC has a lot to learn from the NIMASA!
“But, the election is already done. So, we are for now, focusing on the inauguration. And we are expecting ship-owners of neighbouring States to attend the inauguration, including the Executive Coordinator of the African Ship-owners Association, Funmi Folorunso who also, has promised to also be present, at the inauguration”, he further explained.
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary designate, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori has appealed to some members of the association, particularly those yet to recover from post election shocks, to note that not only was the exercise ‘fair, free and credible”, but also that another would soon be around the corner.
Ilori who said he had noted there have been a flow of emails which were capable of damaging the upward progression of this NISA, said it was rather unfortunate that the protractors were also, largely candidates that enjoyed the privilege of not facing the electorate and resisted any attempt to face any competition.
“We cannot afford to loose the gains and credibility which this election has endowed us. The winners must remain magnanimous in victory.
“NIMASA as the apex maritime regulatory body called us to unite, have a new constitution whose drafting committee was led by an accomplished legal luminary and one of our own.
“NIMASA also conducted the election under the guidance of a non sectional committee and chaired by an industry elder statesman. None of the candidates queried the process leading to the election nor immediately after the election. There is no record of NIMASA’s displeasure nor preference for any particular candidate.
He therefore appealed to his members to rally behind the democratically elected executives, in the overall interest of Nigerians, particularly the thousands of unemployed who would gain jobs by the success of NISA..
“New professional hands have been injected into the exco, who I believe will work with the government and create synergy in the overall interest of this industry and the nation.
“In as much as the desires of a few have not materialised this time we must remember that the electorate have spoken. Another election is not too far and there will surely be many more.
The whole nation and may I say the eyes of the international community are on us. Making Nigerian ships for Nigerian jobs a reality is a great task which can only be derailed by sectional and/or personal interests, such luxury we cannot afford”, Engr. Ilori concluded.