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Sheer determination!

Though he was not poor; he was not rich either. He has one head, like everybody else. But where others worked hard to keep their cheek rounder and their pot-bellies bigger, he was contented to keep the tiny tummy he has. The Daura-born General had only one treasured possession: Spartan discipline: and upon this he built his gut, incorrigibility and uncompromising dedication!

The APC Backbenchers: Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (middle) flanked by former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku (Right) and Dr. Danjumah Dabo

The APC Backbenchers: Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (middle) flanked by former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku (Right) and Dr. Danjumah Dabo

Like Abraham Lincoln, he had lost every election he contested; like Abraham Lincoln he kept his head unbowed; and as a converted democrat, he rushed, each time to court, seeking redress; but again each time returning home, with a black eye. No wonder everybody believes that the judiciary under this man would not only be more vibrant, but also more dynamic and discipline!

11150309_317038235086667_7020098038868518964_n“I belong to everybody and, I belong to nobody!” he told the world shortly after he was sworn in as President, Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29th, 2015; affirming what everybody knows to be true. He could not be a boot-licker, a rubber stamp or anyone’s errand boy and still retain his sanity, his vision or his altruism. Of course, he was independently minded, or how else could he have retired as a Head of State, and Commander of the Nigerian Armed Forces; and all he could show for his effort, was Only two houses: one in Daura, his country home and the second in Kaduna.

FB_20150415_23_28_57_Saved_PictureHe had no house in Abuja. He kept coming to campaign in Abuja from his Kaduna home, until a wealthy “good Samaritan” assisted him with some space in Abuja on temporary arrangement. For Buhari, life was nothing but an opportunity to demonstrate discipline. For Buhari, life could also remain, forever like that as well, but for one factor:

The masses, one by one were coming to realize that the country had stopped ‘spoiling’. The country had finished ‘spoiling’. The country had begun to ‘decay’! Light had disappeared; having been hijacked by generator cabal. So, everybody- individual or corporate was running on generating plants.  

The health sector went under, having been hijacked by Health Contractors, who ensured that only those who could afford to fly into India, Germany, Dubai, Egypt or Saudi Arabia got noteworthy health attention.

The masses major mode of transportation, the railways was sabotaged, with new co-join vehicles cabal emerging. Overnight, the NUP-PENG and PENGASSAN became a group which, when they sneeze, the Government catches cold, while the individual Nigerians scrambled on ‘panicky-buying’ of petroleum products..

The decay finally moved into the agricultural sector, laid waste the weak platform the institutional incentives was supposed to build. Tastes changed as food cabal took over, hooking the citizens palate to rice from Thailand, India; and fish from Finland, Sweeden, etc.

Subsequently, the purchase of cars, even 17 year old fairly used (tokunboh) came to symbolize a mark of prosperity or ‘arrival’ marked by Special thanksgivings in Churches and Mosques. 
The Super-rich, being the pace setters, in gleeful show of ‘class’ quickly went into massive acquisition of private jets, highlighted by several congratulatory advert placement in national newspapers and televisions!

Sadly, those who should guide the nation had lost the vision. At a point, they even publicly campaigned for Vision 2010, forgetting that a 2010 vision could not in any way be a perfect vision. The Centre had caved in; and no one needed a PhD or a Chinua Achebe to know that things would naturally, consequently fall apart!

Meanwhile, things deteriorated fast. The infrastructural ruins therefore, began to decay.

A young girl asked her father, “How good, was the good old days?”

The father smiled ruefully; and recalled that in 1973, when the Naira was born and in diapers, so as to replace the Pound Sterling, its babyish value was N2 to a Great Britain 1Pound. The Naira grew teeth, yet even, with milk dentition in 1985, at the beginning of Babangida’s reign, yet it was still so strong that, a US$ was a mere 90 Kobo!

The father went further: “Few years earlier, Malaysia, a country which secured independence on August 31, 1957, also from the same British people like us, was so proud of Nigeria, particularly our country’s sense of industry, acumen and diligence, that its people came here to beg for a few palm nuts and a few untutored farmers to go with them, to teach them how to plant and manage the palms. They were absolutely enamoured by our palm oil, palm kernel industry.

“Today, one US $ is about N205 and the Great British Pound is over N350. Today,, we are monthly importing ship-loads of palm oil from Malaysia!” The little girl was shocked.

“Daddy, are you saying we have gone more than 200 steps backwards?”

The father answered in the affirmative. The little girl was stupefied. 

“Dad, from Babangida till date, who were our Ministers of Finance? I know only of Okonjo Iweala…”.

The questions were getting trickier, even from a little kid. The father told her: “Nneka, did you say you know of Okonjo Iweala? Then, don’t worry. If you know of Okonjo Iweala, you have known all of them dear!”, the father said, concluding that “All of them went to same school of financial logic like Okonjo Iweala. So, you already know all of them!”

But as the ruins stared the masses in the face, one thing became unmistakable: discipline was conspicuously lacking; and this was one trait that Buhari, abundantly possessed! 
The rest is history!

We would miss Jonathan!

Chances are now higher, that we may soon have light. And may soon forget the agony of sleeping under the noise of generating plants,  The citizens may also have better roads, an improved GSM services and a more secured environment.

In return, the citizens would be expected to forfeit the freedom to urinate anywhere, anytime, anyhow… 
So, how long would it take, before we begin to complain on the rigour of having to queue for everything, in every place, and at everytime?

We have endured pains. The pains, that comes, from the reality of doing nothings. But Buhari, if we know his antecedent, pedigree, would task all of us, to go productive;  to do something; and that is when our cacophonous complaints would become deafening!

We are Nigerians. We love freedom. A freedom that only a clueless government foisted.
Change is permanent. Jonathan has gone. And also, the freedom for everyone to do nothing. To go to work and do nothing. And sometimes, not to even go to work at all, because, nobody would do anything about it.

We blame NEPA or Power Holden Company of Nigeria (PHCN) for not working. But the culture was that nobody works. So, we brought in light contractors, called distribution agents.  Expectedly, they too, did nothing. If the top, the leaderships did nothings, why would the followers do something?
Annointing after all, flows from the top!

Bye bye Jonathan. We will miss U. 

Welcome President Buhari! But, how much do we have to pay, now that basic things are set, to properly work?!


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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