Determined to retain her seat as a Category ‘C’ council seat member in in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in November this year, the minister of transport, Alhaji Ibarhim Boi has inaugurated two committees with the mandate to ensure that Nigeria remains a member of the elite group.
Nigeria had constituted a similar committee in 2007 to constitute a lobby machinery for her first ever bid for the IMO council seat, a move which culminated in Nigeria defeating Liberia which Had remained adamant in the trans- West African lobby.
While Ghana accepted to support Nigeria for a two tenure membership, Liberia had stood her grounds insisting that she would contest against Nigeria.
But last week in Abuja, the minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Nu’uman Barau Dambatta, charged the main committee and the technical committee to work hard to ensure that Nigeria not only retains the seat, but also moves to Category ‘B’ in 2011 when she would have signed two terms on Category ‘B’.
Enthusing optimism that Nigeria will be victorious once again, the minister said:” I have no doubt whatsoever that the committees will lead Nigeria to victory in November with a wider margin than that of 2007.”
The International Maritime Organisation is a 168 member body with 10 members each in Categories “A” and “B” whose membership are more or else permanent on the strength of their maritime capabilities. Category “C” which Nigeria presently belongs and is seeking re-election has 20 members.
Elections into IMO council is a bi-annual event and as such, there is the need for Nigeria to seek re-election to the Council if she must continue to be relevant and have a voice not only within the IMO but also in the West and Central African Sub-region in which Nigeria plays a dominant role in Maritime trade.
Responding on behalf members of the two committees, , Nigeria’s Permanent Alternate Representative at the IMO, Mr. William Azuh who is also a member of the technical committee acknowledged the enormity of the assignment, stressing that this year’s elections will be tougher as more countries are interested, but stated that, with the kind of support that current the headship of the Ministry has shown, the task is achievable.
The Main Committee is headed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry with the Director Maritime Services as alternate Chairman and includes, the Chief Executive Officers of Nigeria Ports Authority and Nigeria Shippers’’ Council as well as Representatives of Indigenous Ship Owners Association (ISAN), Maritime Administrators of Nigeria (MAN) and Nigerian Chambers of Shipping(NCS) among others. The Technical Committee is chaired by the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Ade Dosunmu. Other members are Mr William Azuh, Captain Olopoenia and Mrs Julianah. Gunwa both of NIMASA , Engineer Grema and Mr. Joshua Okpo both of the Federal Ministry of Transport among others.