Otunba Kunle Folarin (Chairman, Port Consultative Forum)
No. It has denied the industry the prospect of creating a national fleet and gaining from the benefits of the traffic generated by the nation's international trade.
Engr Mathew Alalade (President, Merchant Navy Senior Staff)
Splinter groups among ship owners have not benefitted the maritime sector in the sense that, decision is relatively unhealthy to arrive at. For example, the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) on Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is still outstanding, more than 24 months, due to mandate appendix and other critical issues.
EngrNnadi Ogbuagu (Director General, NISA)
How can such benefit any group or organisation? It has dealt fatal blows on the industry and ensured it is flat out on the floor. In other words, it went for the jugular of the industry and missed slightly, that is why the sector must retrace its steps and come together. There is still a modicum of hope.
Capt Segun Akanbi (Seafarer)
From my own understanding, some of the various ship owners association have members who do not own ships anymore, or never owned a ship, this is a major problem. If we have a common ship owners association who actually own ships, the issues of Nigeria not having training vessels shouldn't be. A common front for ship owners will make it easy to relate with the government on our common interest. But as it stands today, with all the division, we could see lots of divide and rule methods coming to play.
The shipowners could have factions as regards types of vessels like offshore vessels, Tanker ship operator, Fishing Vessels owners and so on, but there should be one uniting body to represent the general ship owners on national front.
Tunji Obagbo (Ports and Terminal Management Academy)
A house divided against itself does not hold. Had it been the indigenous shipowners have been together, their achievement must have been so much by now. They should forget all these quest for power or position and rather pursue team achievement under one umbrella, this would be in the interest of the coming generation who would now regard the present players as legends of shipping industry in Nigeria.
Barr Jean Chiazor Anishere
In all of these splinters, I do not see any benefit in it for our maritime sector because they are not united; the benefit would have been where there is unity and some kind of collaboration amongst these three which would have given them the strength that they need.
Happily, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi saw the disunity among these factions and set up the shipowners’ forum chaired by Mrs Margaret Orakwusi.
The shipowners forum is to bring about the unity that is required among these three bodies. This forum was what led to setting up of the committee on national ship ownership for which the Nigerian government is anticipating supporting private stakeholders in setting up fleet ownership in Nigeria with the federal government giving them the wherewithal to enable them take it up.
Going forward, I think the shipowners forum should be further coalesced into one association for the purpose of achieving that which I think is laudable for Nigeria to eventually go back into setting up a fleet.
So, the shipowners’ forum should give the seriousness required by any government to look into shipowners plight and set up another fleet for Nigeria.
Aminu Umar (Factional President, NISA)
To be honest, as a ship owner and a member of an association in shipping, I wish, and my opinion has been that all of us can form one association, it would give us more formidable voice, it would make us to speak with one voice and solve issues together with one voice. But from the perspective of business and indigenous shipping, I don't think having more associations affects the business directly. And again, as I said, if we don't have a formidable voice, each person will speak for himself and deal with issues individually and it won't be well organized in that manner. But despite the fact that we have different associations, the associations have been meeting, we have been able to talk and align ourselves together. So I don't think that a difference in the association is a major problem even though it is not good to have so many associations in the sector.
Captain Taiwo Akinpelumi (Coordinator, NISA)
I don’t think that the proliferation of association with respect to ship owners will bring unionism. Instead of having one association that we can speak with formidable voice, the people start forming parallel associations because everybody wants to be relevant. The struggle for relevance made them not to speak with one voice, together we stand, divided we fall. Another aspect is that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria allows you freedom of association. So on that premise, anybody who chooses to form an association is at liberty to do so. You cannot stop someone from forming an association, but the truth is that if we all belong to one umbrella association that would act as a unified association for all of us, it will be better. It would enable us speak with one voice, then it would transmute us to being a pressure group, and as a pressure group, the authorities would listen to us and take us seriously.
Engineer Greg Ogbeifun (President, Shipowners Association)
Talking about proliferation of ship owners association, I am aware of SOAN and I am also aware of NISA both of them are credible ship owners associations. While SOAN is predominantly upstream shipowners, NISA is predominantly downstream ship owners. There are possibilities that there is independent ownership that do not join any association. The important thing to note is that both NISA and SOAN all belong to Ship Owners Forum whose chairman is Barrister Mrs. Margret Oraekwusi. And the President of the two associations both work with her to form council. So I don’t see any contrary situation that calls for concern, anybody that is giving that impression obviously is either not well informed or trying to be mischievous.