By Kenneth Jukpor
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has attributed the nation’s loss at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council Category C elections to international politics.
Dakuku stated that Nigeria’s loss by a single vote shouldn’t be misconstrued to mean the nation’s maritime administration wasn’t better than other African countries.
The NIMASA boss, who was speaking at a press conference yesterday on the sidelines of the maiden National Transport Summit in Abuja, organized by the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration (CIoTA) Nigeria, stressed that Nigeria’s recent experience at the elections has given the nation broader understanding of how politics dictates countries positions in the Council.
Dakuku stated that though it would have been great for Nigeria to win, losing the IMO Council elections wasn’t a reflection of poor maritime administration for the country.
He stressed the fact that the Nigerian maritime administration was doing more in terms of maritime activities compared to other African maritime nations who won the elections.
“The election of any country is a function of international politics. It is not a function of IMO or as a result of what the administration of the country does or didn’t do. Liberia has been at the IMO Council for a long time but Liberia doesn’t have a strong maritime administration. Kenya doesn’t have a better maritime administration than Nigeria.
“I’m proud to say that in Africa, Nigeria is the maritime administration that you can reckon with. You may argue that Liberia has the largest tonnage in Africa, but Liberia has an open registry. This means that most of the vessels in their registry aren’t owned by Liberians.
“Nigeria owns the highest tonnage and this is verifiable in the continent of Africa. Nigeria is ahead of South Africa, Egypt and all other African nations. In every area of maritime administration we are ahead of most countries, if not all African countries.”
Dakuku noted that in the case of Qatar, bearing in mind international politics, the country had to withdraw its candidacy for the elections when it saw that it would get regional backing.
“Qatar put itself forward to run for this election, however, they discovered that other nations within their region had come together to vote against them. They also discovered that Europe had agreed to vote against them, so they pulled out of the elections.”
He, therefore, assured continued efforts for optimal maritime administration in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the NIMASA DG advised CIoTA to maximize its status as a chartered institute to improve standards of transport administrators in the country.
He noted that transportation around the world had observed massive technological advancement, and encouraged CIoTA to be central to research in order to get Nigerians up-to-date with transport innovation and administration.
Speaking further, Dakuku said: “CIoTA owes Nigerians the responsibility of protecting the interest of those who use transport services. CIoTA should also be at the forefront of technological changes that would see transportation make minimal negative impact on the environment.”
In his response, the President of CIoTA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, assured that the communique from the conference would address numerous issues plaguing the nation’s transport sector.
Dr. Jamoh reserved special praise for Dr. Dakuku who was also conferred fellowship of the Institute.
“It is an honour to have a distinguished personality like Dr. Dakuku Peterside addressed as a Fellow of CIoTA,” Jamoh said.