… As he extends the olive branch to Ogbeifun, Omatseye
The President, Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA), Capt. Dada Olaniyi Labinjo has reiterated the need to adopt all legitimate measures to bring back NISA jobs, presently in the hands of foreign operators, adding that he would also, fully collaborate with relevant Government agencies to do this.
The first elected NISA arrowhead, Labinjo made the statement on Tuesday, in an inaugural speech at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos, emphatically extending the olive branch to aggrieved members, particularly, his co-contestants in the election, pleading for their total support, because the battle to “bring back the jobs”, must be collectively fought and won.
“This day, marks the beginning of a new era, an era of consolidation. We are consolidating across the Maritime board”, he stated, adding that the new NISA leadership would work, with a determination to build, both on the vision of past leaders, as well as the unfolding opportunities of the present, especially the elongation of Patrick Akpobolokemi’s appointment, in a bid to take the nation to its rightful place.
“For the new Executives our task is very clear. The Consolidation that the new Executives of the Association will bring about will be such that our jobs, taken up by foreign ship-owners, are brought back and Nigerian Ship-owners henceforth will provide the shipping services and ancillary and associated maritime services to the Nigeria Oil and Gas communities.
“We are confident that we shall succeed in this effort as we shall be embedded from now on with all the Government Maritime Agencies, particularly NIMASA and NCMB. We need them as much as they need us for the benefit and growth of Nigerian Maritime Economy.
“This is the right time to recover Nigerian Shipping Services for Nigerian ships given the dwindling fortunes and the decline in oil and gas trade and the need to develop alternative to oil and gas. It was the decline in foreign trade that forced USA to adopt the restrictive shipping policy of Jones Act thereby abandoning the “free ship policy” of the protagonists in the 20th Century! The intendment and spirit of the Cabotage Act, 2003 and Nigerian Content Development Act, 2010 are to similarly restrict the provision of shipping services to Nigerian shipping services providers.
“Our members and the new Executives are aware that the task ahead is not a simple one. It is going to pitch us against those who are benefiting from the domination of our maritime space by foreign shipping services providers and will not like to see a change in the status quo even if it means undermining or breaking Nigerian laws. The good news is that we are prepared as an Association to protect our investments and the Maritime economy of Nigeria. After all, Nigeria is the only country where we can undertake the shipping services as the Greeks, Indians or Americans will not admit us to come near their coasts to share in what is reserved exclusively for their citizens.
“At this juncture, I will like to make a passionate plea to Nigerian Shipowners and ancillary maritime services providers not to sit on the fence any more but to join the Association forthwith so that together, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, we can make the Maritime sector a veritable replacement to Oil and Gas in the contribution to the Nigerian economy.
“And, still on this, I will like to appeal to those our members who felt aggrieved by the outcome of the election particularly my good friend and brother who I have a great admiration for, a smooth and suave operator, Gregory U Ogbeifun, the Chairman of Starsz Group, to please join me in the new effort to rid our waters of usurpers. The same appeal goes to Temisanre Raymond Omatseye, the vibrant and ebullient Executive Chairman of Polymaz Shipping Ltd whose participation in the NISA Election added glamour and colour to the exercise. We shall require of your respective experiences and reach in the task of bringing our jobs back.
He described the maritime transport sector as a critical infrastructure, for the social and economic development of a country, with strong impetus for influencing the pace, structure and pattern of development.
“Maritime infrastructure which includes ship building and ship repair, major ports, national waterways and inland water transport must be impacted by the growth in the Oil and Gas industry”, he posited further, noting the benefits of the stability in the management hierarchy of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Local Content Act.
“The stability in the management hierarchy of the Flag Administration (NIMASA), as the DG has been re-appointed for a record second term of 4 years. Mr Patrick Ziakede Akpobolekemi thus becomes the first DG to be so appointed since the establishment of NIMASA formerly NMA in 1987; and the great strides Nigeria is making in the Nigerian Content contribution to Oil and Gas development in Nigeria”, he indicated further.
Labinjo tasked the industry stakeholders to collaborate and synergize in a bid to make not only the inauguration ceremony a memorable one, but even also the date.
“The inauguration of the elected NISA Executive Members today is significant and auspicious for many reasons.
Firstly, it is the first of its kind in our Association in 12 years! We are therefore very thrilled.
“Secondly, the inauguration falls on the Remembrance Day, a day set aside to honour all our fallen heroes. They paid the supreme price in the defence of our country. But for them we would have no country where you and I can ply our businesses peacefully. And still on that, our hearts and prayers go to our gallant men and women in the Armed Forces currently fighting in the North East to rout out the inglorious Boko Haram who have killed several thousands of harmless Nigerians and are holding on to over 200 young girls seized from Chibok. Just as we in NISA, in our own small way, have been fighting off the foreigners and their collaborators who dominate the cabotage trade reserved for Nigerians only.
“The other significance of this day is that the founding Chairman of the Nigeria Shipowners Association, Chief (Dr) Isaac Morakinyo Jolapamo, is a year older today!
“But for all the sacrifices, physical, emotional and financial, of this amiable, pacifist per excellence but dogged, visionary and uncompromising Nigerian, there would not have been a Shipowners Association determined to rescue Nigerian maritime economy from those holding it hostage and there would have been no ceremony today. Though he has handed to me the NISA ship, he is not abandoning the ship. He has promised to be there for the Association at all times which is gratifying.
“I will therefore, like to end this comment by quoting from the Report of the United States Maritime Commission on American Shipping before the Civil War:
“Shipping is our oldest industry; it is also one of our most complex—– it is, so far as the United States is concerned, an instrument of national policy, maintained at large cost to serve the needs of Commerce and Defence.”
“Nigeria, like United States of America, must see shipping as an instrument of national policy to be maintained at whatever cost to serve the needs of our Social, Economics and Defence”, the new NISA President concluded, thanking dignitaries in attendance, for their physical presence, at the inauguration.
In his own remark, the outgoing NISA Chairman, chief Isaac Jolapamo said he was satisfied and honoured to have not only led the association for about 12 years, but to have also, in the process, established a foundation, strong enough to withstand future challenges.
Jolapamo who on Tuesday turned 66 years, admonished his members to remain united, committed and proactive, stressing that he was confident that the current leadership would take the body to new heights.