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Vote for Ambode or Perish Inside the Lagoon, Oba Akiolu Tells Igbos

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NPA,Rilwan Akiolu

Igbos living in Lagos were told on Sunday to vote for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, or else they will die in the lagoon.

A visibly angry Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, in an unconcealed threat, stated that he was not ready to beg the Igbos, but if they repeated what they did on March 28 when they voted for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan, then they should be ready for the consequences.

The governorship elections are scheduled to hold on Saturday, and it is believed that Igbo residents in Lagos will vote for the PDP candidate, Jimi Agbaje, just like they did during the presidential and National Assembly elections that led to the victory of PDP candidates of Igbo origin and from Delta State in three federal constituencies in Lagos.

The victory of the non-indigenes of Lagos, THISDAY gathered, has not gone down well with the Lagos chapter of the APC.

Speaking at a meeting with Igbo leaders in the state, according to an online news medium, Freedom Online, the first class monarch, who failed to recognise the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos, said: “On Saturday, if anyone of you goes against Ambode who I picked, that is your end. If it doesn’t happen within seven days, just know that I am a bastard and it is not my father who gave birth to me.

“Jonathan is my son and I speak to him everyday. By the grace of God, I am the owner of Lagos for the time being. This is an undivided chair. The palace belongs to the dead and those coming in the future.

“On Saturday, if anyone of you, I swear in the name of God, goes against my wish that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos State, the person is going to die inside this water.

“I’m not ready to beg you. Nobody knew how I picked Ambode. Jimi (Agbaje) is my blood relation and I told him that he cannot be governor in Lagos for now. The future belongs to God. I am not begging anybody, but what you people cannot do in Onitsha, Aba or anywhere, don’t do it here.

“If you do what I want, Lagos will continue to be prosperous for you. If you go against my wish, you will perish in the water.”

The monarch said anybody against Ambode did not wish the state well, adding, “I am for the progress, growth and development of Lagos. Ambode is highly cerebral, he’s a symbol and he is going to deliver the message which I, the Oba of Lagos, have said. And he will govern the state for another eight years.

“He is going on a mission and God will give him the wisdom and knowledge to fulfill that mission. Almost a year ago, I declared that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos and it will not change.

“From time immemorial, the previous occupiers of this house will say what they wanted after consultations with other people. And this hasn’t changed and it will not change at this time,” he said.

In a veiled reference to one of Jonathan’s predecessors, Akiolu stated that the crisis Nigeria was facing was not caused by the Jonathan administration but by another person he refused to name.

Continuing with his tirade, he said: “If not for the appeal from Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu) and my highly respected maternal father, the Awujale of Ijebu-Ode, all what is happening today is not the cause of the present government. The man who caused everything knows himself.”

In his response, the Eze-Ndigbo of Amuwo-Oriade, Dr. Gordian Dimojiaku, promised Akiolu that the Igbos in the state would support Ambode.

“The mistake of last Saturday was caused by everybody, not only the Igbos. It is not only the Igbos that were responsible for the votes. But we have learnt our lesson. Saturday’s election is going to be a different thing and Ambode is going to win.

“Everybody knows that when you fail the first time, you cannot afford to fail again. We are going to tell our people that Ezes from the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas are here and that we have sworn with the Oba that we are going to make sure that Ambode wins next Saturday’s election,” he said.

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

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…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

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

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…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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