…Those who fought with me and those who fought against me are now NISA members
The former Chairman of the Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Morakinyo Jolapamo on Monday, expressed his joys that some of those who seriously fought his ambition to entrench a formidable and all encompassing NISA were now members of the body.
He made the observation in a valedictory speech, before handing over to the new NISA President, Capt. Dada Olaniyi Labinjo, at a ceremony which held at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos, stressing that he governed an association which was though ” battered, but not bettered; and attacked but not conquered”.
“Some of the gladiators in the election fought with me in the trenches; while others fought against me, on the other side of the divide. Interestingly all of them are united in the task of winning the Nigerian Maritime Industry,of which ship ownership is at the heart, for the betterment of our economy”, he stated, praying that better days when the Nigerian flags would again be hoisted on truly Nigerian ships, would be cris-crossing the domestic and international waters.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen time it was when the Nigerian red ensign was flown all over the world by Nigerian owned vessels carrying Nigerian cargo and crewed by the finest Nigerian officers and men. Nigerian ships ruled the waves and our maritime industry was the envy of many Nations.
“Backed by the United Nations UNCTAD code, cargo for our ships were assured. Nigerian maritime industry was destined as one of the best in the world. We even built a shipyard designed to repair our ships and ultimately build ships in Nigeria.
“Our indigenous progenitors joined the foray to sustain a budding maritime industry. Such like Chief SB Bakare, Chief Henry Fajemirokun, Chief Folawiyo of Nigerian Green Lines, Alhaji Yar Ardua and Chief MKO Abiola of African Ocean Lines. All of their vessels complemented the Nigerian National Shipping Line and an aspiring Nigerian National Tanker Company. The MV Oloibiri was one of the earliest VLCCs, then an exclusive vessel owned by exclusive nations. Not surprising we were admitted to IMO Council.
“Such a meteoric rise was unsustainable as forces both internal and external ensured the near total collapse of this economically and strategically vital sector of our sovereignty and economy.. Foreign companies that saw the opportunity of turning the industry to their cash cow invaded the industry linning their foreign accounts to the detriment of jobs for our vessels and our teeming unemployed youths.
“The Indigenous Ship-owners Association was formed to provide succour and maintain some national pride and dignity. In excess of 4 billion U.S. Dollars were invested in local ships which were to carry Nigerian oil, goods and provide services to our burgeoning oil industry. I wonder how many economies can sustain an unperforming 4billion dollars.
Such forces both internal and external battered and battled the indigenous ship ownership to the trenches to ensure foreign domination of our maritime trade.
“The national response through protectionist regimes in the cabotage and local content laws were laudable , the forces of domination continue to undermine these regimes. The inadequacy of the cabotage regime was exposed whilst the local content lacked professional maritime input in its implementation.
“Our maritime policy and administration was devoid of professional nigerian maritime input despite availability of such Skills.
“With the present administration led by His Excellency The President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, through his unparalleled commitment to the industry,we came out of the trenches determined to secure our maritime industry that is capable of reducing our dependency on oil, job creation and transformation of our socio-economic terrain.
“We are not unmindful of the enormitity of the challenges but with such allies as the Federal Minister of Transport, The Senior Special Assistant to Mr President on Maritime and our unrelenting champion of maritime empowerment the DG Nimasa and our numerous allies I am sure the battle of securing our maritime domain is a winnable task.and I salute you.
“We at ISAN have transformed ourself.we heard the call of the Governmnet through the apex maritime administration to unite all players in the maritime sector, have a new constitution and had a credible open, free and fair election. The election was conducted under the auspices of the Nigerian Maritime Administration. We are very grateful.
“Some of the gladiators in the election fought with me in the trenches; while others fought against me, on the other side of the divide. Interestingly all of them are united in the task of winning the Nigerian Maritime Industry, of which ship ownership is at the heart, for the betterment of our economy.
I am therefore, handing over to these elected executives convinced that they will exercise their democratic powers and privileges for the overall interest of the Nation working in synergy with the government and all stakeholders.
“The battle ahead is not going to be easy but it is my conviction that putting the Nigerian red ensign on many ships is a task that must be done.
“I salute all of you who have come to witness this memorable occasion which is a major milestone in the history of Nigerian Maritime Industry.
The incoming administration is rich with professionals of international acclaim and cuts across various sectors essential to a virile maritime industry. I call on them to use their skills with dexterity and strike the forces of domination with precision.
“I hand over the flag of Nigerian Shipowners Association to the incoming President Capt Dada Olaniyi Labinjo convinced that he will advance and gain grounds hitherto unthinkable.
“God bless Nigeria,God bless Nigerian Ship Owners Association I thank you all”, he concluded, handing over the mantle of leadership of an association he had nurtured, through thick and thin, after 12 years.