SOAN President Rules Out Merger with NISA, Says What’s Important Is Ship Owners’ Prosperity

The President of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) has ruled out plans of merger between the association and the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA).


Recall that in November 2019, NISA had announced plans to merge its two factional groups into one and also appointed a three-man steering committee with the aim of bringing all ship owners’ associations under one umbrella.

However, almost two years down the line, the industry still awaits the merger plans, but some members of the NISA have joined SOAN.

Our correspondent was told that, notable among those who have jumped the ship, is the former President of NISA; Alhaji Aminu Umar.

However, speaking to Shipping Position Daily, recently, SOAN President, Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung informed that he is not in the know of any plans for the two associations to merge together.

He however confirmed that the former President of the NISA, Aminu Umar, is now a member of SOAN, even as he stated that the most important thing is the prosperity of ship owners.

Onyung explained that there is no way the two associations can speak one voice, but the two associations can still speak in the same voice, while stressing that there are more pressing issues in the industry than plans of merger.

According to him, “If the two associations are going to merge, they will have to discussed it, there have not been in any discussions about merger.

Specifically speaking about the membership of SOAN by the immediate past president of NISA, he said, “Umar can join any association as he wishes, it doesn’t matter, so Umar is a member of SOAN right now, but I think we have more issues than association or no association, the industry requires a kind of affirmative movement and mindset that will move the industry forward, that is what me as President of SOAN is working towards as we go along, people who like us will join us and those who don’t like us will watch us, we are not gaining anything no medal for any association, the most important thing is to create value for our members and bring prosperity to Nigeria.

“At my election, I made it clear we should concern ourselves with how to move the industry forward, we ship owners have put in a lot of money in our business over the years and that is why we are talking about the investment and the prosperity of the ocean

“We are losing from the ocean, and we need to be part of the prosperity of the ocean, so the issue of merger of associations is something our enemies are using to work against us, so we should stay away from those kind of discussions, we should concern ourselves with what will bring prosperity to the industry and stop all these bickering”, he stressed.

“Because the global maritime industry is worth $6 trillion a year, and in a day it’s about $24 billion and it comes to $980 million per hour, and $11 million a minute, it is not rocket science, so how much of these are we getting in a day, how much of these is NPA getting in a day? If NPA is catching in on this, then ship owners will be making thousands of dollars per minute and this will trickle down to everybody.

“Merger is not what makes people speak with one voice; do we speak in one voice in Nigeria? What is important is for us is to speak with the same voice, one voice is different from same voice, we can’t speak in one voice, but we can speak in same voice, whoever that is saying the association must come under one umbrella; the person must be out of his mind, and many of those calling for these are people who have no stake that shouldn’t be in the industry, we don’t need to come under one association for them to disbursed the CVFF, the law did not say we should form one association so that we will benefit from the fund”.

Also speaking to our correspondent, one of the three-man steering committee members set up to reconcile NISA members together, Mr. Tunji Brown noted that the COVID 19 stalled the merger plans, but stated that very soon the association will meet and conclude on the merger plans.

“All is still going on well, we are discussing, this COVID has not allowed us to meet in person, but we are sure very soon, we will be able to meet and conclude and all members will be carried along in the merger” he said.