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WEEKEND GINGER: MARCH 28- A DAY THE CITIZENS EMANCIPATED A COUNTRY!

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Congratulations!
By the time you are reading today’s Weekend Ginger (WG), the first leg of the two-day election is concluded and Nigerians may now safely wait for the results, particularly, that of who emerges as the nation’s arrowhead, for the next four years.

One thing is certain, today’s election, unlike all other ones in the past, has assisted the citizens to finally abrogate the sanctity or inviolability of the incumbent!

The Incumbency factor was so incarcerated and laid low, that President Goodluck Jonathan absolutely abandoned his “comfort zone” and actively embarked on a one-to-one, inter-modal vigorous campaign to sell himself!

Congratulations Nigeria! For whatever may be the final result of the election in due course, the true winners of today’s poll, are the citizens! Not General Muhammadu Buhari. Neither is it Dr. Goodluck Jonathan!

Congratulations! If you are reading this WG, because beyond every imagination, whoever wins this election, by virtue of the process, would never take the electorate for granted again. This is the first election in Nigeria, where the ‘underdog’ appeared to have entered into the proverbial ring, being genuinely confident, that truly, victory may not, automatically, be appropriated by anyone else, but itself.

In other words, this is the first election that may truly set Nigerians free, from those who erroneously thought that elections were political contraptions of a systemic ritual, for elongating the tenure of the guy in power!

Congratulations!
For now those who thought that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would rule for 60 years, uninterrupted, would have realized by now that such tall orders would be a mirage, if those in the party daily sleep-walk, wobble and fumble about, only.

Congratulations!
For we may now inch, towards the point that Ghana reached, several years, the point at which the importance of the citizens were recognised; shortly after which electricity supply and other infrastructural facilities began to work!

It is therefore, for these reasons, that we must overlook whatever shortcomings may have been observed, in the course of this election.

It is for this reason, that we must overlook the observed setback at: Polling station 033 Satellite town Lagos Nigeria, where eager Nigerians waiting to get accredited in order to cast their vote queued endlessly, because  INEC officials were unable to hold up their end of the bargain, even as at 9.20am

It is for such reasons that we may understand and appreciate the death, as reported by the AFP, of the two people killed by Boko Haram at two polling units in Birin Bolawa and Birin Fulani in the Nafada district of Gombe state this morning.

It is also, in the light of this Citizens’ victory that we may understand the herculean task the INEC faced, or survived from those who attacked and briefly hacked, Saturday morning, the website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

‎“We are aware of the recent hack of our @inecnigeria website, we are currently investigating this incident”, indicated the INEC in a tweet, and to which we should urge them to ignore the hackers and avoid distractions.

It is in the light of such development that we may also appreciate the feeling of the electorates in Anguwan Sani Polling Unit (011), Egwa-Gwada Ward in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State chased INEC officials away from their polling unit, because only 15, out of over 900 qualified voters had Voter card (PVC).

The people claim that of the 963 eligible voters which had their Temporary Voter cards, only  15 got their Permanent Voter Cards. 
If you think the percentage is low, so also would be the percentage of the actual voters, in the long run.

The Electoral Officer in Shiroro LGA, Isah Idakwo, confirmed that the 15 people with PVCs at the unit mattered to the Commission, because a vote can make the difference and as such, according to Idakwo: “We sent our men there but they chased them away and we can’t afford to endanger any of our officials’ lives”.

Idakwo however said it is not a deliberate act, adding: “INEC sent workers there but they were sent back but if they change their minds we will ask our workers to go back there and make sure the 15 people vote

It is in the extension of this victory, that the tension in Gov. Uduaghan’s birthplace, Abigborodo community, soared, when voting materials fail to arrive, on time.

Or, why the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Peter Onwusanya, was angry when the Card Reader rejected 10 persons within 15 minutes in his Ward 4, Unit 8, at Asagba Model Primary School in Oshimili South LGA.
Onwusanya described the machine as “dangerous”.

It is in the light of the Peoples’ victory that the electorates must remain undaunted any time the presently postponed House of Reps Elections in 11 Jigawa Federal Constituencies is meant to be held, and still come out and vote!

And it is in this same light, that President Goodluck Jonathan must bear with us, if indeed, three Voter Card Readers failed to accredit him on Saturday, for the presidential election, resulting in a delay, over how his biometric details could be easily captured.

At this point, we have however compulsorily single out the less than the expected number of people who actually voted in the South-west. Rather than the outlandishly high figure who made empty noise, even when they knew, they would not vote.

A good figure did not register. A good percentage registered, secured temporary voters cards,; but failed to exchange it for any PVC. A reasonable figure of those who collected their PVC in Lagos, and Ibadan, relocated to other towns and States to enable them stay with their families during election…., just in case, there would be crisis!
They too did not vote! 

But, unto all those who dared the hot sun, particularly of those in Enugu, who despite the early morning bomb explosions, still waited, and voted, we sincerely doff our hat!

You are the ones guaranteeing that electricity supply would be stable tomorrow. You are the ones that ensured that more roads would be tarred, next year!

You are the true patriots! You are those, upon whose shoulders the future of our democratic hopes laid. You are the ones, who won us today, the enduring electoral victory. A victory which neither Jonathan nor Buhari can wish away!
Kudos to the unrelenting citizens!
Congratulations to all Nigerian people!

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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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