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FG denies plans to postpone 2015 polls



The Presidency, yesterday, said there was no truth in the allegation by opposition parties that President Goodluck Jonathan has perfected plans to postpone the 2015 general elections.

Debunking the allegation in Abuja yesterday, Senior Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, described it as “idiotic,” insisting that the current administration has done so well to enable it win the impending presidential election without recourse to any form of deceit.

He berated opposition politicians over what he described their “do-or-die and win at all cost” tendencies, saying they have been miffed by the fact that President Jonathan has performed creditably well despite enormous challenges that has bedevilled his administration.

Okupe, who spoke at the 2014 Nigerian Pilot/Newsworld Annual Public Lecture and Award, in Abuja yesterday, queried why Jonathan should plot to postpone the election when he is sure of being re-elected next year on the basis of his “substantial performance.”

He further carpeted the All Progressives Congress, APC, for threatening to form a parallel government should it fail to unseat President Jonathan after the 2015 general election, saying: “In very civil societies, people like that, whatever political tendencies they represent should totally be wiped off from peoples memories as bad teachers.”

Okupe, who maintained that he would never subscribe to the idea of election rigging, regretted that the governorship candidate of the APC in Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, earlier took to Twitter to allege that President Jonathan was using the prolonged insurgency in the North-East to deceitfully extend his tenure beyond 2015.

Specifically, El-Rufai had alleged that Jonathan’s administration was creating a war situation in the region to enable him to invoke Section 216 of the Constitution that allows the cancellation of elections in war zones.

More so, the APC had in a statement it issued on September 21, warned those nursing plans to postpone the 2015 general elections to perish the thought, saying Nigerians will not accept, under any guise whatsoever, any scheme by desperate elected officials to get tenure elongation by subterfuge.

Nevertheless, reacting to the allegation yesterday, President Jonathan’s aide advised the APC to go out and canvass for votes rather than dissipate its energy fighting Jonathan who he said was not desperate to hold onto power at all cost.

He said: “All politics should end the day you cast your ballots. The Nigerian political class must learn great lessons but it is too late. Maybe the younger generation may have different perspectives. We have not undergone the election itself and people are saying that they will form a parallel government for an election they have not lost.

“In very civil societies, people like that, whatever political tendencies they represent should totally be wiped off from peoples memories as bad teachers. Those are not people that will mean well for the country.

“Another politician said that the President, Goodluck Jonathan, is fanning the war (against Boko Haram), so that the election can be postponed. This is a president that has run and that has held the office for four years, to the glory of God he has been able to make some substantial performance, unarguably.

“Every indication points out to the lengthy road of his winning. So, why will he want to stop the election that his likely opponent has no record of winning anything?

“If Nigeria were to be a private estate owned by some of us, with Goodluck Jonathan as the Managing Director and Chief Executive of that estate, will anybody change him for a Buhari?

“It is not likely, but because Nigeria doesn’t belong to anybody and the elite are not stakeholders, that is why people will want to use people just to get power, whether it is for good or for bad, they really don’t care.

“So when people do things like this, it make issues and challenges that will come in 2015 very frightful. As a matter of fact, the greatest problem we will have in post 2015 will be the acceptance of defeat by losers.

“I want to tell you for sure, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is not desperate for power. He is a good Christian and a responsible man. We have done so well, we have been encouraged by so many people. We have got the best stars in the firmament. They tell you things, they say that the President is clueless, that is a joke.”

“Let’s just assume for a minute that the President is clueless, is Okonjo Iweala clueless? Can you say the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, is clueless also? The Director of Budget of this country is a Harvard graduate.” – Vanguard.

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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