Key maritime stakeholders, serving and retired, converged at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos to celebrate the maritime icon, Chief Adebayo Sarumi.
Sarumi who clocked 70 on Sunday was celebrated with a colloquium on port reforms and other activities organised by stakeholders in the maritime industry.
Movers and shakers of the industry trooped in mass to acknowledge and appreciate the role played by the celebrant; former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and one time Managing Director Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Chief Adebayo Sarumi to port reforms in Nigeria.
During his goodwill message, Managing Director NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, represented by the General Manager Human Resources, Abba Rufai, said that Sarumi’s vision and commitment to the development of the industry, both in service and retirement, are “without doubt worthy of commendation, emulation, and encouragement for stakeholders in the maritime industry”.
“As a person who had an excellent career in the maritime industry, it is gladdening to see that even in retirement, his embrace and understanding of the need for change along with culture of continuous improvement that are critical to the success of any industry has not waned,” Abdullahi further stated.
The NPA boss said that his organisation’s participation in the colloquium is a privilege that would not only help boost NPA’s experience but would “shape, refine and improve the industry”.
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Secretary Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, described Sarumi as a mentor and a visionary leader.
Bello said that he was employed by the celebrant into Shippers’ Council where, under Sarumi’s tutelage, he was moulded from a young inexperienced lawyer to a key maritime personality.
He said that although as “a spring chicken from Sokoto” he was overwhelmed by his boss at their first meeting, he eventually got to enjoy a very good working relationship with him.
” It was more than mentoring, it was more than leadership, it was something special. His departure from the Nigeria Shippers’ Council was sad but it was good he took his knowledge to other institutions. His legacy will forever be enjoyed in the maritime industry” Bello said.
He said that Sarumi’s gift of mentoring has touched the lives of many maritime stakeholders today.
Bello credited the appointment of Shippers’ Council as port commercial regulator to the maritime egnima.
“The appointment of Shippers’ Council as a regulator was a seed planted by Adebayo Sarumi” Bello said.
He also credited the existence and workability of the Cargo Defence Fund to the maritime enigma, Sarumi.
More accolades was showered on Sarumi, during the colloquium by members of a panel to discuss his contributions to the port industry.
The panel discussion, which was moderated by former MD NPA, Abdulsallam Mohammed, had the Chairman Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup; Project Manager Marine Transport Division Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Mohammed Audu Bubba; Secretary General Abuja MoU, Mfon Ekong Usoro; Chief Executive Officer Starzs Investment Limited, Greg Ogbeifun and Former Commissioner of Transportation Lagos State, Professor Bamidelo Badejo recount the giant strides taken by Sarumi in the journey of port reforms in Nigeria.
Haastrup, during her presentation, said that it takes a man of profound knowledge and passion for the betterment of the industry to fight for and win the cause of concessioning the ports.
She said that Sarumi was a man with indepth knowledge about the industry and terminal operators and other port stakeholders alike have benefited from his well of knowledge.
“The ports of Nigeria is what it is today by the singular action of Chief Adebayo Sarumi” Haastrup stated.
Usoro said that Sarumi’s willingness to contribute his knowledge and support the level of privatisation presently enjoyed by the port industry distinguishes him as a maritime legend.
Sarumi was regaled with these commendations and many more by the other panelists and guests at the event.
Also present at the event were the Chairman Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Jolapamo;Current Chairman Nigerian Maritime Exhibition and Conference (NIMAREX), Barrister Margaret Orakwusi-Onyema; Director General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Ify Anazowu-Akerele; President Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), Jean Chiazor-Anishere; National Presidents Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Prince Olayiwola Shittu and Chief Eugene Nweke respectively; senior officials of NPA, retired and serving, among other maritime dignitaries.
The occasion was also graced by the Onibadan of Ibadan land in respect of his Aare Parakoyi of Ibadan land, Sarumi.
Other highlights of the event were the unveiling of the book Footprints of Aare Adebayo Babatunde Sarumi (OFR) in recognition of the meritorious contributions of the maritime icon and the cutting of a magnificent birthday cake to celebrate his 70th birthday.
The celebrant who was overwhelmed by the show of respect and appreciation expressed gratitude present to celebrate with him while urging them to be relentless in their efforts for a better port industry.