As a matter of National Discourse Maritime industry is one of the major sectors contributing immensely to national economy hence it is only appreciative to applaud maritime media practitioners who are in the business of disseminating maritime information to the Nigerians and the world over. In the light of the above assertion, National Impact Magazine in January 2017 instituted AN AWARD OF EXCELLENCE FOR MARITIME JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR. We had a lot of journalists from the sector on our watch list for 2017 award. At the end of our close analysis Mr Sylvanus Obasi the C.E.O Platforms Communications was the man for the award for 2017. The noble gentleman, we believe added lots of values to the Maritime sector, his fans and Nigerians at large. He was so consistent and active to his responsibilities.

Platforms Communications are the producers of Maritime Platform Radio, Platform Reporters Online, A day with Nigerian Maritime Students, Face of Maritime International and GGOTSEC which is a catch them young campaign targeted at secondary schools girls with view to sensitize and encourage them to build a career in the maritime sector. It is germane to inform you that the Face of Maritime International champions GIRLS GO TO SEA CAMPAIGN. Maritime Platform Radio is a 30 minutes weekly audience-participatory radio program where major news and topical maritime matters are extensively discussed by maritime professionals on every Tuesday by 10:30 – 11am on Star FM 101.5. The program is a live phone –in program which gives listeners the opportunity of immediate feedback through direct participation by way of comments, questions and contributions via phone calls, sms, whatsapp, facebook, twitter and other social media platform
In an exclusive with National Impact Deputy Editor Victor Cletus, he revealed that the pageant commenced in 2016, hence 2017 was the second edition. “It was designed to achieve three aims to change the perception that it is only men that can build active Maritime career. And it is obvious that the public perception accounts for the low participation of females in core Maritime profession and that is why in 2015 when the International Transport Workers Federation released their research work which indicates that only 2% of the world’s Maritime workforce is made up of women. when we saw the report, we were touched and felt like what can be done to bring this research home then we organized our own research and looked at the NFDP, 2259 Nigerian Youths were shortlisted as beneficiaries for the project and out of that 1099 are male whereas 250 are females so we went to class one Maritime Engineers, we found out that Nigeria has 201 scholars in class one Maritime Engineers and all of these are male and just one is a female and when it comes to Master Mariner Nigeria has 250 of them and 249 are male while one is a female, looking at Oceanography Nigeria has produced about 75 of them and 60 are male while 15 are female, in Maritime Law we have 200, 140 are male and 60 are female, this is where we have a good number. Coming to the Freight Forwarders that is common we got in touch with the Council of the Regulation of the Freight Forwarders that we have about 1231 registered members of which 1227 are male and 104 are females so when you look at this report, it shows that if the report is shown by International Transport is 20% in Nigeria it means it is lower than the 2%, the Crewing Agent we have 100 of them registered of which 99 are male and one is a female. We were troubled as media practitioners by this development. We thought of the platform to create adequate awareness for young girls to make them understand that Maritime is not just for men because the young lady wants anything that has to do with entertainment.
Going further, he said,” It is also in line with the Go To Sea Campaign that is the International Maritime Organization. Years back the body discovered that there is a shortage of women so they started Go To Sea Campaign which they encourage member Nation to encourage the young ones to take to sea that is taking a career at sea and also the Go To Sea Campaign of the girls started as the X project of the women maritime so one is not just winning for winning sake and the girls Go To Sea is basically targeted at secondary school students, talking to them and convincing them about career opportunities in the maritime industry because people believe that it is at that level you can still catch them young and the moment she finishes secondary school, she has made up her mind on the course she wants to study so we are talking to people in SS1 – SS3 telling them that instead of you going to study Accounting, Marketing, Banking and Finance that are filled why not go for Marine Engineering, Shipping Management, Transport Technology Management and other maritime oriented courses because getting a job will not be an issue. Finally the Institute of Maritime Triport is an empowerment programme that we use to empower the young girls and when we adopted the slogan “beauty for the sea”, we found out that some of this beautiful girls around don’t tend to use their beauty so the moment we identify you as the beautiful one, we want you to channel your beauty for use in the maritime sector and that is why we undertake in girls Go To Sea Campaign so we empower them in our own little way with the support of our sponsors, winners collect 500,000, 1st runner up 300,000, 2nd runner up 200,000 and other minor winners are given consolation prizes and with that money one can do something meaningful .”
Moreso, Mr Obasi, stated that “The 2017 edition took place in November so by January the first project started but I won’t basically say there is a change in status because it is still a young initiative but what one is saying is that there is a change in perception, the awareness is being created of which a parent of a particular contestant was like saying that she never knew that women are involved in maritime until her daughter started contesting”.
Talking about the challenges so far, he said, “The challenge is basically finance, platform communications concept is a new organization so we depend solely on the stakeholders’ support of which the girls Go To Sea Campaign is a National Campaign and we are planning to take it to the Northern States and also the South South and most of the laketural states so that it will be meaningful and when one is doing something new, people tend not to understand”.
Mr Obasi believes that what is worth doing is worth doing well. “I always believe in improvising so I try to be more creative and things we have done in this industry are what nobody has done and our own way of giving award is by inducting people”
Reacting to how he relaxes, he said “I am a young man, pretty young but the work can make one older than ones age and its stressful most especially in Lagos particularly here in Apapa. In any case I do relax on Saturdays and Sundays cause I work Monday to Friday and am not the type that likes being stressed and I like my quiet time cause things are always clear when you read.”
Revealing his model, he said “Dr. Chris Antonica, former chairman of Oil and Gas in Lekki. He is a role model cause he understands issues in maritime. Otunba Folarin is my 2nd role model, he has worked in the maritime industry all his life since he became a graduate and he talks sense whenever he is free, he is old but still strong in knowledge and when I look at these two persons, I realize I have not known much so I want to challenge myself this 2018 to read more about maritime cause the more knowledgeable you are, the more creative you are so when I look at them, it pushes me to read more and understand the fact that we can play a greater role in future.”
Advising Nigerian leaders, he said “Anybody leading a Nation should see it as an opportunity. My understanding of leadership is all about service and from the scriptural perspective; Jesus made it clear to his apostles that a leader should not see himself as God. For Nigerians, we should not compromise and also we should not blame ourselves. I challenge Nigerians to sit up to their responsibilities and we should be able to ask relevant questions just like the case of the 1 billion dollars that was used to fight the insurgents.”