Home Maritime Digest Still on Nigeria’s Narrow loss to Kenya at IMO council seat

Still on Nigeria’s Narrow loss to Kenya at IMO council seat

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… Need to Guard against losing the 5th time

“the campaign for the 2021 bid had begun” Minister of State for Transportation

One popular Igbo adage said that if an old woman falls three time with a particular basket load, then it’s time to x-ray the content of the basket. Nigerian fourth failure to make the almighty Category ‘C’ seat at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council last December has been described as a ridicule though speculations from strong sources described it as international politics jamboree. Lots of Nigerians have expressed concern over the fourth fall and charges maritime stakeholders in Nigeria to commence preparation for the 2021 context which will definitely be drawn sometimes this year.
Imo elected 40 states to be Members of its Council for the 2020-2021 biennium. The Council is the executive organ of IMO, and is responsible under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the Organization. Between sessions of the Assembly, the Council performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention
Category ‘A’ had 10 states with the largest interest in providing international shipping services including; China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States. Category ‘B’ had 10 states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade, they are; Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
Category C seat in the council is reserved for 20 countries not elected in categories A and B. The countries in Category C have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and they represent all major geographic areas of the world. The election was conducted during the 31st Session of the IMO as Nigeria lost to Kenya by just one vote in the Category C elections. Kenya got 111 votes to come 20th, while Nigeria got 110 votes to make 21st. Saudi Arabia got 106, Poland 101, and Liberia 100. Unfortunately, the result of that election was equally a big disappointment to the 367 million population (UN 2015) of West Africa as it was their only seat in the council. Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, and Kenya retained their seats in the 20-member Category C of the IMO. As a matter of fact, the last time the country got elected into the council was in 2009, during the administration of Dr. Ade Dosunmu after its initial election in 2000.
Category C includes nations, which have special interest in maritime transportation or navigation, and whose election to the IMO council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world. The countries that made it into the category C are Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.
Nigeria had lost consecutively in 2009 and 2011. In 2017, the nation went all out, but lost again. The preparation for 2019 IMO Council election had been on since the beginning of this year with many strategies and campaign mechanism targeted at clinching that seat, but unfortunately Nigeria lost the election again for the fourth consecutive time. Come to think of it, Nigeria lost to Kenya but Kenya does not have a better Maritime Administration than Nigeria even though they have the largest tonnage in Africa, meaning that they have many vessels in their registry. Nigeria owns the second largest tonnage which is verifiable in the continent of Africa, ahead of South Africa, Egypt and so many others.
Be it as it may, 2020 is a time to look inwards and develop national capacity in other to earn a better reputation among maritime nations. It is time to evaluate our strategies so as to actualize some of the key initiatives within our shore and stop depending on foreigners. For crying out loud Nigeria is a great nation and we should work to defend it. Again, Nigeria has to be very friendly in her relations with other maritime countries.
In any case, Nigeria will have another chance at the Council in 2021, during the next biennial session of the IMO Assembly. According to the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, who led the country’s delegation, the campaign for the 2021 bid had begun. Saraki said it was of paramount national interest that “Nigeria gets a seat on the maritime table”. She said the country would, as a first task, appraise the factors behind its narrow loss. She asserted that Nigeria had done remarkably well in reforming its maritime sector, to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She equally pointed to the milestones in maritime safety and security, gender equality, and environmental responsibility