As the general election of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) holds today, aspirants vying for different positions in the association have reeled out their various programmes for the association.
The 22 aspirants who took time one after the other to present their manifestoes, at the Manifesto Day organised by the association’s electoral committee in Apapa yesterday, vowed to reposition the association.
The three presidential aspirants, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun of Starz Group; Temisan Omatseye of Polmaz Limited and Capt. Niyi Labinjo of Global Shipping Limited explained the different programmes they planned to pursue to boost the welfare of their members.
Giving his manifesto, Ogbeifun vowed to nurture the NISA Shipping Line, promote the businesses of members and fight for their rights.
He said, “If elected into office of the President of NISA, I will set up a committee to review the NISA Shipping Line and also make recommendations for going forward. I will provide a platform to support members in their shipping businesses and provide advocacy for their expectations and their rights in the industry.”
Ogeifun also stated that his administration would fight against the indiscriminate flouting of the Cabotage Act by foreign operators in collaboration with unpatriotic Nigerians and international oil companies’ (IOC’s) discriminatory attitude and preference for foreign operators.
“My Administration will visit the IOCs to open up channels of communication to ensure all parties can improve on working relationships.
“We will develop a closer working relationship with the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping to explore how members can benefit from the advocacy strength of the Chamber. This should culminate in our registering with the International Chamber of Shipping where members should belong and benefit and be recognized in the international domain,” he said.
Ogeifun also reiterated his move to acquire a befitting secretariat for the association in Lagos.
His words, “My executive will work with the relevant agencies to acquire a befitting national secretariat in Lagos. We will recruit a Director-General with a Maritime/Legal background to run the day-to-day activities of the secretariat; working with an effective compliment of staff.”
“We will ensure engagement with government agencies such as NIMASA, NAPIMS, NCDMB, PPMC, NPA, NIGERIAN NAVY. My Administration will visit the headship of these relevant agencies to discuss modalities for a healthy relationship between shipowners and their establishments.
“I will visit all critical stakeholders from the Federal Ministry of Transport to all the chief executives of the relevant agencies to discuss and agree on terms of bilateral mutually beneficial relationship,” he stated.
On his part, Capt. Niyi Labinjo said his administration would ensure that the Nigerian shipping industry takes its rightful place.
“Despite Nigeria’s position as the first economy in Africa and 26th in the world due to the current rebasing, Nigerian shipowners had not been able to benefit from the market seize.
“Nigerian waters is dominated by foreigners that the share of the indegeneous shipowners are less than 10 percent.
“We will convince the government to adhere to the provisions of the Cabotage Act, the Local Content Act, the NIMASA act to mention but a few,” Labinjo stated.
Former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Temisan Omatseye, who is also a presidential aspirant, advocated government intervention fund for shipowners. He said his business is suffering the way other shipowners businesses are suffering in the country.
Omatseye however promised to engage the government to let them know what the economy is losing over the non-participation of NISA members in maritime trade.
“Shipowners are the saviour of the economy, they should give us the opportunity to make the economy work.
“We must begin to go to government to engage them, we are going to give them the facts, we will let them know the problem of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF); we will let them know that shipowners contributed the money, we should determine how it will be disbursed.
Omatseye who is also a legal practitioner said his administration would champion the creation of biometric for master mariners.
He said, “The biometric is important so that any captain that gets involved in any illicit act on a ship cannot go to other ships without the owner verifying his credibility.”
On security, he said his administration would work with the Nigerian Navy to help them fight piracy that had affected their business.
He also promised to work engage foreign operators stating that, “NISA will be the one to clear foreigners that should be issued the waiver.”
Earlier, the outgoing president of the association, Chief Isaac Jolapamo congratulated the aspirants for believing in the association. He wished that the best candidate would will the election.