Nigeria’s leading maritime media firm, Ships & Ports Communication Company yesterday announced the winners of the 8th edition of its annual National Essay Competition.
At the official prize presentation ceremony held at Etal Hotel in Apapa, Lagos, a Delta State-based graduate of Microbiology, Ojo Taiye was announced as the winner of the 2014 essay competition carting away N100,000 cash Best Overall Prize donated by Dangote Port Operation.
Other winners include Kenneth Okpomo who won the Sifax Group Prize for Creativity, and an Owerri-based medical doctor, Anyanwu Munachimno who won the Nigerian Shippers Council Prize for Best Researched Essay.
Okafor Emmanuel, Okoroegbe Fidelis, Bankole Emmanuel, Ilogu Evans and Ngozi Akhimieho all won the Comptroller Charles Edike Prize for Outstanding Essay while Secretary of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, Barr. Uzamot Boye and former Editor, Ships & Ports Newspaper, Mr. Obiajulu Agu both clinched the special recognition award. Gifts were also presented to some of the participants in a lucky dip.
The theme of this year’s essay competition is “How should government and stakeholders address the Apapa gridlock”.
The best overall prize winner, Taiye who participated in the competition for the first time, said: “I am surprised to have won the Best Overall Essay and this will encourage me to write more. I have written essays for other bodies but this is the first time I am participating in a port related essay. At the initial stage, I did not want to come because I felt it was just to come and sit down but I said since they have given me the recognition by calling me from Delta to come, I decided to come down to Lagos.
“The policy that the government and stakeholders’ should postulate is to relocate the petroleum tank farms along the port. The truck owners are not only the cause of the problem because there is no parking bay for trucks, the security agencies are also collecting bribe. If you don’t provide those facilities where do you expect the trucks to park?”
Earlier in his welcome address, Chief Executive Officer of Ships & Ports, Mr. Bolaji Akinola lamented the devastating effect the Apapa traffic gridlock is having on the economy and on the health of commuters.
While congratulating all the participants in the 2014 essay competition, Akinola assured that their intellectual contribution would go a long way in addressing the various challenges confronting the maritime sector.
“There has been a lot of complacency and procrastination on the part of the concerned authorities. The economic effect of the gridlock on business activities and the health impact should ginger government to action and I believe that the various recommendations that have been made will serve as a wakeup call to all,” he said.
He said entries for the competition this year were received from 21 states of the federation.
The prize presentation ceremony was attended by the participants and representatives of Dangote Port Operation, Sifax Group, Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi, former National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Alhaji Inua Mohammed and Managing Director of Micura Stevedoring Services, Mr. Michael Ubogu, also attended the event.
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