“To know that one knows what one knows, and to know that one doesn’t know what one doesn’t know, there lies true wisdom” – Confucius
According to this apt adage by Confucius, wisdom is not only found in knowing but it is also evident when one acknowledges that one doesn’t know when he or she doesn’t.
Rotimi Amaechi’s appointment as transport minister divided opinion among many industry stakeholders as some argued rightly that Amaechi wasn’t a Transport expert.
This is a fact the Minister has pointed out himself while addressing the press at the African Maritime Conference last week. However, what Amaechi lacks in transport expertise, it looks like he makes up in vigour, political will, charisma and sincerity.
The name Rotimi Amaechi has become a very popular one within the transport sector and the reason is not only because he is the Minister of Transport, but as a result of the vigour, political will, controversial but transparent manner he handles issues.
The former Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi is quickly becoming a likeable boss among many industry stakeholders, except probably those at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and their counterparts in the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). For these two agencies the minister has reiterated that their restructuring would be his maiden achievement.
Amaechi has also shown traits of someone who loves peace and unity as he had called for an amalgamation of several similar associations as well as same organizations with two or more factions.
He has made efforts to get the Maritime Correspondent’s Organization of Nigeria (MARCON), Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN), League of Maritime Editors and the Non- Allied Group come together under one umbrella by inviting the leaders to a roundtable.
Similarly, Amaechi has also admonished the Nigerian Indigenous Ship- owners Association (NISA) and the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) to form a single body.
While his decision to scrap the Nigerian Maritime University continues to spring up heated debates among many, his finesse and punctuality to almost every event he has attended also fetches him praise as a “Nigerian” leader with a difference.
Recently, he set up a committee to deliberate on the headway for Nigeria to attain national carriers and he has also asked several association leaders to deliberate on issues affecting the industry and bring their objective findings, suggestions and recommendations to him.
This new development highlights Amaechi’s focus on bringing back our national carriers in a bid to grow the maritime industry and it also shows the Minister is open to receive ideas from the industry veterans.
These are still early times for the Transport Minister but he has begun to practice responding to issues rather than reacting to them. There is still a lot to be achieved in the transport industry which will be of immense benefits to maritime business and the nation at large. Let’s keep our fingers crossed; our maritime industry may just have gotten its liberator.
By Kenneth Jukpor