There is a diplomatic row brewing between Nigeria and the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) over the contentious replacement of Dr. Paul Adalikwu as the Secretary General of the sub-regional maritime body.
Insider information made available to Shipping Position Daily, paints a vivid picture of growing discord between Nigeria and MOWCA. Multiple sources hinted that the rift between these two entities is deepening by the day, as Nigeria maintains its position regarding the replacement of the nation’s duly elected Secretary-General.
Findings by Shipping Position Daily recalls that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had unceremoniously replaced Dr. Paul Adalikwu with Mrs. Nneka Ogochukwu Obianyor, the Deputy Director of Reforms Coordination at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), as the new Secretary-General of MOWCA.
The quest by Nigeria to effect a change of guard at the secretariat of MOWCA, by attempting to replace Dr Adalikwu with another Nigerian has ignited questions, chief among them being whether Nigeria has the authority to recall and replace an elected Secretary-General, even if the individual is representing the country.
Paul Adalikwu’s removal came in the wake of multiple allegations, including age discrepancies and controversies surrounding the submission of credentials for MOWCA elections. Furthermore, whispers of financial impropriety, particularly in relation to the Regional Maritime Bank project, swirled around him.
Our correspondent gathered that although Adalikwu had recently stepped down as a director in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the institution from which he was nominated for the position of MOWCA Secretary-General, he has however shown no intention of yielding his post at the sub-regional body.
A confidential source within MOWCA revealed that, despite the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy’s notification to MOWCA regarding Dr. Adalikwu’s replacement with Mrs. Obianyor, the sub-regional body remains adamant, and has refused to acknowledge or consent to the decision.
Adding to the complexity of the situation, the source disclosed that the support extended to Dr. Adalikwu by Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Ghana’s Transport Minister and the current Chairman of MOWCA has further strengthened Adalikwu’s push for a stay in the exalted position.
The source stated that Asiamah’s endorsement of Adalikwu’s continued headship of MOWCA secretariat suggests that any attempt to oust him may cost Nigeria its coveted Secretary-General slot, as another member country could seize the opportunity.
However, sources within the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy have also accused Dr. Adalikwu of leveraging his closeness to the hierarchy of MOWCA, to hinder the support Mrs. Obianyor desperately needs from member nations. These sources allege that Adalikwu is in direct defiance of the Minister’s directive and remains resolute in serving out his term.
Efforts by our correspondent to contact the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy; Dr Magdalene Ajani for clarification were fruitless.
However, in a brief telephone conversation, Henshaw Ogubike, the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry, admitted to being uninformed about the MOWCA controversies.