Apology to Stakeholders: Maritime industry overwhelmed Amaechi, says Capt. Alao


…He tried his best – Farinto                                

…He has not fared well – CILT

The President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), Capt. Tajudeen Alao has said that the maritime industry in Nigeria was too big for the former Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

Alao who disclosed this in a chat with our correspondent in Lagos recently was reacting to the reported apology made by the former Minister to the maritime stakeholders on his inability to fulfill most of his promises to the sector especially his inability to tackle maritime security and to re-establish the national carrier among others during his valedictory meeting with stakeholders in the industry.

He pointed out that Amaechi had no excuse not to deliver as out of the three years he served as a Minister, he had one whole year as a learning process while he remaining two years, he would have used to put up a marshal plan for the industry.

According to him,” He has no excuse whatsoever coming from his background as the former Chief Executive of a state in Nigeria. He came to the industry with authority mentality instead of him to partner with different stakeholders, he came with lordship mentality, a prepared mind, marshaling out orders and instruction. That area, he shot himself on the leg and miss the opportunity.

“Amaechi totally missed the opportunity because some people cried out, many companies, when you go to Slaughter area of Port-Harcourt, you go to Warri, you go to Abonema even in Lagos, you see many rigs that people didn’t know exist around water but they are there. The ship owners are grumbling under debts repayment, AMCON is after them and you called them and started shouting down on them instead of him to partner with them to find out what their problems are.

“What he should have done was to call the ship owners, the agents, the journalists separately not together, this never happened and we were shouting, call the Master Mariners, we are not commercial people, but listen and take something away from the meeting and build your solution around them. Then you can now have a score card, anything you have not achieved can be work in progress. So, but what parameters are we going to put down on ground now to measure the deliverables? How many indigenous ship owners bought ships? We said we must carry Nigeria’s crude; we went to Abuja, what came out of it? Which people have chartered ships to carry it? They had a committee for stakeholders-NNPC agreement; nothing happened till today, no meeting was held either in Lagos or Abuja.

“Rotimi was supposed to be a very dynamic young man, active but to me, the industry was too big for him and I will pray Mr. President to get a Senior Special Assistant on Maritime matters because maritime is too essential to our lives and to put somebody who has the background in that area. The last four years of APC, there were a lot of mismatch in the appointment of Ministers, drivers of the industry”.

On his part, the Managing Director of Wealthy Honey Investment Limited, Dr. Kayode Farinto sharply disagreed with the position of Capt. Alao saying that the former Minister did his best in the rail sector even though his best was not the best for him.

“Well in the area of our rail transportation, I think he has succeeded in revitalizing the rail transportation; it was a dead sector before. Goodluck was doing it but he never completed it but now Amaechi came, we now saw the rail, we now see a situation where rail can go as far as Ogun State, they are going to connect Oyo State now and in the project that they signed, presently they are connecting the eastern rail particularly the coastal region.

“So, let us give it to him that he has tried his best in that area even though his best was not the best for him. Talking about our maritime industry, he succeeded in conducting the CRFFN election which most of the Ministers before him were unable to do and we now have a Council in place to regulate freight forwarding. It is a plus for him too”, he submitted.

Speaking on the former Minister’s apology, Farinto who is also the National Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) said,” One thing I appreciate in life is seeing a man that makes a mistake and owning up that he made a mistake, that person is a responsible and intelligent person. Amaechi is a wise man and I am impressed for him to come out and say even though there are issues like this, I may have failed in some departments, I am sorry. That is how it is done in the advanced world. So, I give it to him.

“However, I still maintain that there is no Eureka in the maritime industry. We are supposed to have move faster than this, maritime industry alone is supposed to be a bed rock of finance for the federal government but it has not been well harnessed and tapped, it has been abandoned, no consistent policy, the government itself is not serious. However, I think we may reach the Promised Land”.

Also speaking, the acting National Executive Director of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ndibe had this to say,” It is even heartwarming that he had the courage to apologise, that means he admitted his failings but I have not seen the area he can justifiably say he has really developed, I really can’t say. But for him to acknowledge this area, he still has some courage as the Honourable Minister to admit but it is not for him to give himself pass mark, it is the economy and the players in the economy that will give him pass mark. I don’t think he has fared well.

Photo: Former Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

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