First indigenous MD of Nigerian National Shipping Line, Nelson Oyesiku dies at 83

The pioneer indigenous Managing Director of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL), Chief Nelson Oyesiku is dead.

Oyesiku, who was appointed NNSL Managing Director in 1964, died on August 7 at the age of 83.

Oyesiku was drafted into NNSL by Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu – father of the late Biafra leader, Chief Emeka Ojukwu – who was its Board Chairman at the time.

Oyesiku was working with Elder Dempster Lines as the Head of its Eastern Region in Nigeria when he was offered the headship of NNSL.

The senior Ojukwu, who was also Chairman of the Commodities Board in Eastern Nigeria, had reportedly visited the office of Elder Dempster to negotiate freight on behalf of the Commodities Board when he met Oyesiku. He was fascinated by Oyesiku’s knowledge of shipping and invited him to join NNSL.

He however resigned from the national carrier out of anger in 1968, shortly after Ojukwu’s death and less than a year into the tenure of new board chairman, Oloye Adekunle Ojora.

“I am a professional and it got to a point where I could not bear the intrigues anymore. The nepotism, politics and what have you were unbecoming and I did not think that was good enough for a company like NNSL so I quit”, Chief Oyesiku told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in July 2012 in his country home in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Chief Oyesiku’s premature departure later took its toll on NNSL, culminating in its liquidation in its liquidation in 1995.

President of the Nigerian Maritime Law Association, Loius Mbanefo (SAN), recently described Oyesiku as the “foremost maritime man in Nigeria”.

Family sources confirmed that his remains have since been buried.


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