Nigeria Loses IMO Council Election to Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia

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Eromosele Abiodun
Despite the robust campaign embarked upon by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigeria has, for the third consecutive time, lost its bid to get re-elected into category ‘C’ of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
At Nigeria’s expense smaller countries such as Jamaica, Kenya and Liberia were elected into the IMO council.

The last time Nigeria won its IMO Council bid was in 2007 under Dr. Ade Dosunmu, who was then the Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and every attempt made since 2011 to return to the council has failed.

Forty countries were elected into the IMO Council in three categories for the 2017/2018 biennial.
The successful countries are China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States in Category A.

Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and United Arab Emirates were elected in Category B while Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey were elected in Category C.
Category A council members are countries with the largest interest in providing international shipping services, while Category B are countries with the largest interest in international seaborne trade.

Category C, which has 20 countries, are those with special interests in maritime transport or navigation” and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world,” according to IMO.

But, the election which took place in London, had Nigeria as one of the countries seeking re-election by scoring 98 points in an election that saw five African countries of Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya and Liberia joining the group at the expense of Nigeria.
A breakdown of the votes showed that Morocco scored 134 votes; Egypt – 133; South Africa -121; Kenya – 120 and Liberia – 116.

It was gathered that Singapore came tops with 142 votes to beat 20 countries
Category C is the executive organ of the IMO that takes decisions in the absence of the Assembly and coordinates all activities of the organs of the organisation. It has 20 member countries with special interest in maritime transport or navigation.

Meanwhile, maritime stakeholders have expressed shock at the inability of Nigeria to get re-elected into the policy making body of the IMO, citing policy somersaults, shoddy preparation and inexperience by the federal government as represented by the federal ministry of transportation and NIMASA.

A London-based Nigerian maritime analyst, Donald Adebola, who spoke shortly after the election, attributed Nigeria’s loss to “inexperience and shoddy preparation” by the handlers of the country’s bid.
He said: “It is clear that both the Minister over Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Director General, Dakuku Peterside are not knowledgeable about the workings of IMO and while that is not wrong in itself, their inability to mobilise knowledgeable people on board to drive the process is confounding.”

On his part, a former DG NIMASA, Dr. Ferdinand Agu said: “Politicians don’t have a clear idea what the maritime sector is all about. How can you contract maritime safety to a private company when the Nigerian Navy is there?” he asked rhetorically.
Nigeria’s 36-man delegation was led by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Director-General of NIMASA, Peterside, some directors and top officials of the ministry of transportation.