Home Maritime Digest Federal Government restrategises for IMO seat

Federal Government restrategises for IMO seat

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Omenihu Alfred fibmn, Majan member}

The nightmare of Nigeria’s Narrow loss of IMO council seat to Kenya in 2019 still lingers hence the Federal Government has commenced moves to get back to the Category ‘C’ of the International Maritime Organization, IMO, Council seat.

you could recall that the country lost a contest to the seat two years ago to Egypt during the 2018 elections after several millions of Naira was expended on campaigns and lobbying other maritime nations to vote Nigeria. Speaking at the recent World Maritime day celebration, Director of Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transport, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, said that a Committee to ensure Nigeria’s success at the election next month has been set up.

It is on record that the last time Nigeria won its IMO Council bid was in 2007 under Dr. Ade Dosunmu who was then the Director-General of NIMASA. Every attempt made since then to return to the Council has failed woefully. Nigeria became a member of IMO on March 15, 1996. Although the country was expelled from the Organisation during the military regime of the late Gen. Sanni Abacha, especially after the killing of environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the OgoniNine, it was readmitted in 2000 when the then Minister of Transport, Chief Ojo Madueke, led a Nigerian delegation to win an election into the Council, in Category C.

The last lost to Kenye was described as ridicule by stakeholders though speculations from strong sources described it as an international politics jamboree. 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.Lots of Nigerians have expressed concern over the fourth fall and charges maritime stakeholders in Nigeria to commence preparation for the 2021 context.

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.