The National Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Engr. Emmanuel Ilori has said that contrary to the much publicized appointment of Barr. Mrs. Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi as the Chairman of Shipowners’ Forum, he was not aware any such appointment was made.
It will be recalled that this medium reported yesterday that the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) and NISA had resolved to come together following an advice by the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi to form a common front under a united body known as the Shipowners’ Forum with the appointment of Barr. Mrs. Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi as the Chairman.
But in an interview with newsmen at Apapa, Lagos yesterday, Ilori stated that it was not true that the forum had appointed or elected anyone as its Chairman adding that it was not as if they were floating a new association.
He however admitted that the two bodies namely; NISA and SOAN quite agreed to common together to form a common front so as to address the challenges facing the industry adding that nobody had ask anybody or group of persons to be the executive of the forum.
According to him,” We have not elected Chairperson and I am not aware that a Chairperson was appointed. It is not as if they are forming a new association, I don’t think that is the issue but they are coming together to present a common front to address challenges facing the industry, that aspect of reviving the shipowning community. They can come with a united front to address their issues, nobody is saying A, B, or C will be the executives because we are not forming an association or whatever they want to call themselves. But in terms of addressing the challenges in the highest level, then we should have a united front.
While acknowledging the fact that there was the need to appoint a coordinator who will coordinate the activities of the forum, he maintain that there was no need of electing or appointing Chairman or executives since the two consenting associations still maintained their individual identities and structures.
On why the Minister of Transportation thought it expedient to bring the two associations under one united body, he said,” The Honourable Minister of Transportation has many portfolios under him and therefore his time is very limited to want to attend to various organizations. The maritime industry itself is so huge and he wants to make sure that he uses time efficiently.
“Now, there are many common problem facing the maritime industry, therefore he has realized that too many organizations addressing the same problem, there is no efficiency and therefore the Minister directed that he will want to deal with one body going in one direction and that was why we believe shipowners should come together and present a common front so that government can address these challenges efficiently and effectively. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
Now, it is only forum formed to present a common front, I don’t see anything preventing any of them from becoming association or whatever they choose to call it in view of the fact that the Minister has said he want to deal with one body so that we can unitedly present a common front or a common position on the issues facing the maritime industry”.
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