The nation’s foremost shipping mogul, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun on Sunday clocked 67 years, igniting widespread clinking of wine glasses by family members, stakeholders and friends, amidst distant phone callers breaking the airwaves to celebrate an altruistic and committed patriot, whose recognition is daily growing in the international maritime sector.
A Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Starzs Group, Ogbeifun who is also the President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), it was learnt had expressed a preference for a quiet family thanksgiving / celebration, until appreciative business associates, colleagues, and the shakers and movers got wind of his Great Day!
Only few months back, the Doyen of the Nigerian Maritime Industry and an Ibadan High Chief, Adebayo Babatunde Sarumi had lauded the SOAN, not just for emerging as the most credible Shipping body still providing a noteworthy hope for the country, but for actually transforming Nigeria from a country of “Commission agents” and “Commission earners”, into full fledged ship-owners and operators’ nation.
A staunch member of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), Ugbeifun is expected to lead about 25 highly revered Nigerian business moguls in April 2018, to London’s Commonwealth Summit, for a brainstorming session, meant to chat a way forward, for the Commonwealth, including Nigeria.
A pioneer Arrowhead of SOAN, Greg was reelected at the Avenues Suites Hotel, Lagos on March 7, 2017 as President, for a second term of another two years, alongside other officers which included a guru of medicine, Dr. MkGeorge Onyung, 1st Vice President; Mr. Alfred Okoigun, 2nd Vice President; Mr. Eno J. Williams, Financial Secretary / Treasurer; and the Mr. Sonny Eja, who was elected the Chairman Ethnics & Privileges Committee.
But for SOAN’s focused and dedicated battles, there would probably be no stories to tell of shipping at the domestic level, today, except perhaps only of rancor and in-fighting.
For his astuteness and laudable business vision, his company, a leading marine industry service provider, the Starzs Marine and Engineering Limited was honoured with the 2016 Best Enterprise Award, by the Europe Business Assembly, sequel to its nomination by the Socrates Nomination Committee.
The event, branded as ‘Summit of Leaders, Oxford 2016’ was held December 20th, under the aegis of Europe Business Assembly, the Academic Union, Oxford, ICL where Nigeria and the STARZS Marine and Investment Ltd was seriously commended, for its strong and vibrant position in the national and international market ratings, as well as for its successful implementation of modern management technologies, high staff qualification and efficient marketing strategy.
But his strong belief that the presently lack-lustre performing Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) must be overhauled and re-positioned to better serve the industry stakeholders and make higher returns to Government has sometime attracted the anger of some cynics and paid agents.
His plea to successive governments to harness, exploit and utilize the maritime and shipping endowments of the country towards solving the challenges of youth restiveness has also, to a large extent, remained unappreciated. Most often, they listen, collate his ideas, but take only the little they believe could enable them further optimize revenues, in the short run.
While unconfirmed reports indicate Engr. Ogbeifun is currently in close parley with the present administration, towards uplifting the both the economy and the country’s shipping sub-sector, it can be authoritatively confirmed that 30 Heads of Government, including President Muhammadu Buhari are set to storm London in April this year, for a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from 16 to 18, to enable the intercontinental body debate basic economic issues facing their countries in 2018 and beyond.
A 25-man strong team of revered businessmen, largely of Ship Owners, led by the SOAN President, would also be in attendance, to articulate Nigeria’s position at the 2018 Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF 2018) which will hold alongside the CHOGM, as an integral part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.