…As Nigeria’s Maritime Sector weeps!***
The immediate past National President of the Association of Nigerian License Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu said it more succinctly: Nigeria is still blinded by crude oil money!
And the Head of the Centre for Financial Journalism, Ray Echebiri took it a step further on Wednesday, when he showed it: there’s a strong correlation between ports performance and the GDP of most EU countries! In other words, the health status of the economies of European Union States are directly impacted by the ports traffic!
Today, there’s one simple thing President Muhammadu Buhari can do, to positively redesign the economic future of Nigeria: Intensively focus on the Nigerian Maritime Industry!
There’s nothing the President is looking for from forex generation, massive youth employment as enacted by the Philippines, to unimaginable gains of the Blue Economy like perfected by India.
Unfortunately, if President Buhari treats the maritime industry like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, or Goodluck Jonathan, in due course, his era will go unsung; the inclement weather conditions would further wither his economic miscalculations, the poverty level would remain unchanged or worsened; and in four years time, Nigerian journalists would add his name to the list of those mentioned above, who had God given opportunity to make the desired gargantuan leap; but equally wasted it!
The legal rules Nemo dat quod non habet, says “no one gives what he doesn’t have”, it simply means that the President must look for truly gifted, selfless and resourceful and proven person, not necessarily a politician, who would assist Buhari realize the vision, while the President take the glory!
The Holy Book of Christians, the Bible tells us the unparalleled wisdom of Pharaoh, who appointed a non-Egyptian, and made him a Minister of Agriculture, Silos Storage and Distribution. The result: while others grieved and lament the seven years of devastating famine, both the young and old generated Pharaoh for his ‘divine wisdom’, foresight and distinguished leadership!
Nigeria has descended into its own abys of wilderness and famine. The President needs to take a leaf from Pharaohic wisdom!
Buhari must not repeat the mistakes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo or Jonathan.
During the reign of the two,
☆The Contributions of the ports were not seriously recognised.
☆Maritime indices were lumped with the entire revenue from Transport!
☆The only successful far sighted reform was the Port Reforms and even so, it’s final implementation was at a point warped!
☆The 25-Year Ports Master Plan was designed, appraised and filed in the Clouds! Since then, everyone, including the present NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman is talking idly about it. Has it started? When did it start? What year is the 25-Year going to lapse?
The only remarkable thing about the 25-Year plan is that cargoes are now spending six weeks to exit the ports in Lagos; and empty containers three weeks to return!
No one really needs to blame anyone, neither President Muhammadu Buhari, nor most of his appointees in the maritime sector has an iron-grip water-tight understanding of the peculiar needs, knowledge or dynamics of the maritime industry! In the nature of the nemo dat rule, they cannot but failed!
And not wanting to look flatfooted, they have taken to playing politics of ‘extreme loyalty’ to either the President, APC or both!
In Obasanjo’s National Energy (Economic) Development Project, the ports were not directly mentioned. Was it a mistake?
In former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Priority Projects, Policies and Programme, the ports, shipping and maritime were again, sidelined! It was an unforgivable blunder! A total of about 41 projects were ITEMIZED, yet the nation’s maritime industry, the only viable, vibrant and enviable gateway to the Economy was sidelined!
Sadly, as if the nation is indeed cursed, even also in President Buhari’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the Ports or shipping only got mentioned, in passing! Sadly, the ‘Plan’ was highlighted as ‘Comprehensive’!
The Comprehensive Plan has no identifiable strategy for Ports or Shipping Development!
In the Primary school, we were taught that six blind men went to the zoo, touched the elephant. They came back with reports that the elegant looked like ‘fan’, ‘wall’, ‘pistle’, ‘snake’, etc.
In Nigeria, the whole lot of ‘experts’ after seeing the elephant seemingly indicated seeing something like a Snake!
No wonder Singapore is attracting about seven percent of its GDP from the maritime. No wonder Ghana is daily devoting quality attention, like South Africa to its Maritime. No wonder Indonesia and Malaysia would never play with its maritime industry!
And no wonder Nigeria is probably where it is currently too!
The Minister of State, Petroleum, Dr. Kachikwu this week in Yenagoa told a bewildered nation that the crude oil is truly a ‘depreciating asset’. We have a depreciating asset, yet the youths are hungry, restive and unable to sleep. Who knows, one day, the depreciation would slide so much, even the rich would begin to suffer insomnia!
Let’s continue to pray for Nigeria, while Nigeria’s Maritime Industry is crying for attention!
Let’s Pray for Nigeria!
May the President live forever!!