…As Ishaku Shekarau backs NIMASA, despite Nigeria’s loss!***
The Minister of State, Transportation, Gbemi Saraki has vowed to take back Nigeria into Council Seat of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), stressing that having come so close as to lose by one vote, Nigeria would renew its bid in 2021, in stronger spirit.
Nigeria came within a whisker of returning to Category C of the IMO on Friday in London, after losing the election by just one vote, to Kenya to the Governing Council of IMO’s highest decision making organ.
Gbemi Saraki was particularly pained that not only did Nigeria lose the bid, West Africa also lost its only seat in the Council, as Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, and Kenya retained their seats in the 20-member Category C of the IMO.
She however took consolation in the fact that though, the country missed its bid, Nigeria’s performance was nonetheless a remarkable improvement from 2017, when it lost by 12 votes.
She was therefore pacified by the fact that Nigeria’s delegation to the 31st Session of the IMO had put up a spirited campaign for election into the Governing Council, whose membership the country lost in 2011; polling 110 votes to come 21st, one short of the 111 polled by Kenya, which came 20th, and made the cut off point for Category C membership of the Council.
Being in the Council brings opportunities and openings for nations to be involved in various decisions that will impact on the maritime sector globally and the country in particular.
Consequently, Dr Gbemisola Saraki, who led the country’s delegation, said the campaign for the 2021 bid had begun in earnest, stressing that it was a matter of paramount national interest that “Nigeria gets a seat on the maritime table”, beginning first, with an appraisal of the factors behind its narrow loss.
“We are going to go back to the countries that voted to ask them what they did not think we have done well or why they did not vote for us,” Saraki stated, insisting that Nigeria had done remarkably well in reforming its maritime sector to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She also noted the milestones in maritime safety and security, gender equality, and environmental responsibility.
Saraki was however delighted by the determined effort of the Nigerian delegation to campaign for the Category C seat.
The Nigerian delegation included the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside; whose Agency was the lead anchor; the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman;
Chairman Senate Committee on Maritime transport , Senator Danjuma Goje; and the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Lynda Ikpeazu;
Others included also, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari; Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Duja Effedua and Barr. Hassan Bello, the Executive Secretary Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC).
Meanwhile, an Ex-NIMASA Executive Director, Dr. Ishaku Shekarau on Saturday threw his total support to the Agency, stressing his satisfaction with the detailed preparations of the country prior to the election, irrespective of the final outcome.
Shekarau’s swift reaction came, shortly after reading the Maritime First Weekend Ginger, stressing his support for both the Agency and the position initially canvassed by Nigeria’s foremost shipping mogul, Engr. Greg Utonwen Ogbeifun, weeks before the Friday election.
“For the first time, I will comment here. I am in absolute concurrence with Egnr. Ogbeifun and other observers with International cognate experiences and Maritime investors, developers and Major Labour Employers.
“Interestingly, I have been on the side line following this our recent preparations.
“That informed my response today. Recall I was part of the Dr. Dosunmu team and participated in the Asian block campaign.
“I am just imagining the Kenya Shipment throughput comparatively. Invariably, propaganda works. Watch their city Policing video. Though I have not seen what they did for Maritime thing that is just limited to one major Port, Mombassa”, Dr. Shekarau stated further.
Engr. Ogbeifun was the first to throw his weight behind Dakuku while expressing his satisfaction with the nation’s preparations, emphasizing his position, irrespective of whatever becomes the final outcome!
It would be noted that some stakeholders have also specifically called attention to a few technical things Nigeria failed to put in place, prior to the election, even as they tasked the Agency to assemble a body of core professional stakeholders to scrutinize factors responsible for the country’s election failure, so as to block all identifiable loopholes!