Stakeholders fret over IMO Council’s election debacle

Failure of Nigeria to clinch a position in the Category C election of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), has triggered concerns from stakeholders, who blamed the poor performance on awkward preparation.

The least expected happened to Nigeria at the weekend when the nation lost out in its bid to be re-elected into category ‘C’ of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

This unfortunate incident is happening for the third consecutive time, after Nigeria won its IMO Council bid last in 2007, under Dr. Ade Dosunmu, who was then the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). Every attempt made since 2011 to return to the Council had proved abortive.

Managing Director, Eyis Resources Limited, Lucky Amiwero, in a chart with The Guardian said it is high time Nigerians knew that international positions are not conventional politics done locally, adding that there is a need for Nigeria to re-strategise, and fully comply with the necessary international maritime conventions.

Amiwero said: “Until Nigerians put their house in order. Most of the people representing Nigeria at IMO are politicians who are there just to feather their nest. They are just wasting money; the right thing is for us to put structures on ground. You dong just go and waste money on election, when you have not complied with many of the IMO conventions.

“This is not Nigerian politics. Things must be done properly. There is a lot of conventions and procedures that we must comply with. We need to re-jig our system and that is the truth,” he said.

Other experts cited policy somersaults, shoddy preparation and inexperience by the federal government representatives.

A London-based Nigerian maritime analyst, Donald Adebola, who spoke shortly after the election, attributed Nigeria’s loss to “inexperience and shoddy preparation” by the handlers of the country’s bid.

A Former Director General of NIMASA, Ferdinand Agu, said: “politicians don’t have a clear idea what the maritime sector is all about.

“How can you contract maritime safety to a private company when the Nigerian Navy is there?” he asked rhetorically.

It was alleged that the estacode spent on the 36 members of the IMO team, which included air tickets, accommodation, feeding and entertainment, cost Nigerian tax payers more than N200million for what turned out to be a jamboree.

It was gathered that the 36-man delegation was led by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, and some directors and top officials of the Ministry of Transportation.

According to the global maritime body, the successful countries in Category A are; China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and United States.

Those elected into category B include, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and United Arab Emirates, while Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey were elected in Category C.

Category A council members are countries with the largest interest in providing international shipping services, while Category B are those with the largest interest in international seaborne trade: Category C, which has 20 countries are those with special interests in maritime transport or navigation, “and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world,” IMO stated.

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