As the preparations for this year’s Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) heightens, indications are rife that the event which is believed to be the biggest maritime event would be chaired by the former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (Rtd.).
This was made known by the Chairman, Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) 2014 Planning Committee, Barr. Margaret Onyema-Orakwus,i at a press conference In Lagos on Monday to formally brief the journalists on the preparedness of the Committee to make this year’s event a success.
Barr. Orakwusi explained that the decision to make Babangida the Chairman at this year’s event was in line with the tradition of NIMAREX to have a former Nigerian leader to chair the event as was the case with the previous ones so far held.
“Of course, you know that it is in the NIMAREX tradition to invite our former leaders to chair the conference and the Expo. Years past, we have had Gen. Yakubu Gowon, we have had Obasanjo, we have had Shonekan and for this year’s, we are having IBB- Ibrahim Babangida and it is really a great thing of pleasure that all the distinguished former leaders are coming to help grow the maritime industry”, she said.
She observed that the maritime industry before now was seen as a closed shop where only a few rich were involved but with the advent of NIMAREX, the enormous investment opportunities inherent in the sector had been thrown open and that people were being invited to look at them as well as appreciate the various opportunities.
The NIMAREX Planning Committee Chairman disclosed that with NIMAREX, all the auxiliary industries attached to the maritime had been showcased and that the people were better informed as they now know that one don’t need to be rich to go into maritime business neither do anyone need to own a vessel before venturing to do maritime business.
On what make this year’s Expo unique, Barr. Orakwusi revealed that this year’s edition would be used as an avenue to celebrate the Nigeria’s Centenary as well as use it to as a stock taking tool for the sector in the last one hundred years of its existence thereby drawing a road map for the future of the sector.
She continued,” and then we are going to have interesting topics for discussions, all the burning issues in the maritime and we are going to look at them. We are going to invite international discussants and speakers; we are going to have the very best local speakers to discuss these issues”.
“And NIMAREX is a beautiful contribution to the growth of the maritime sector because it brings to the table, the operators, the government, the regulators, the ship owners, everybody that has anything to do with the maritime sector and when all these people gather together to brainstorm, then whatever decision at the end of the conferences that we manage to get, will be implemented by the government agencies and that makes it unique”.
She further revealed that as part of the unique features of this year’s Expo, the Nigerian Navy built NNS Andoni would be on display at the Expo which would also go a long way to tell the world that the maritime industry in Nigeria was actually growing.
Highlight of the Press Conference was the goodwill message from the Nigeria Chamber of Shipping, Nigeria Indigenous Ship owners Association, the Nigerian Navy, WISTAN Nigeria and a host of other affiliated associations.