By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as factional president of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) Capt Niyi Labinjo continues to wallow in Nigerian Navy detention, his members have now decided to reconcile with another faction headed by Alhaji Aminu Umar.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Lagos, a 3-man steering committee headed by Capt Taiwo Akinpelumi, Mr Tunji Brown, and Mr Paul Jegede confirmed that both factions have realised that they were losing out so much in the industry due to the protracted crisis in the association.
Recall that as a fallout of the elections that produced Capt Labinjo on October 24th, 2014, another association has since sprang up; Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) founded by Eng Greg Ogbeifun.
Ogbeifun had contested with Labinjo but lost the election and thereafter proceeded with other members to establish SOAN.
Speaking while fielding questions from journalists, a member of the steering committee and Chairman Japaul Group, Mr. Paul Jegede, said indigenous shipowners have suffered neglect as a result of the division within the association, adding that NISA’s decision to reunite will help members speak with one voice in order to attract government attention.
” We have actually lost a lot because if we had been together, speaking with one voice, we will have been heard and we would have gotten what we wanted. For instance, the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) has not been managed very well by the government although it was contributed by the shipowners but because we are not together, we are missing the opportunity.
Now, we have seen all these and we are now coming together and we will be able to advise government better and we will find out that within the next six months, things will change,” he said.
Jegede added that NISA is also looking at working together with the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) as both groups have similar objectives and challenges, stating that the interest of the industry is what is more paramount.
According to Chairman of the sterring committee, Capt Taiwo Akinpelumi, the association wants every institution and government agency in the maritime sector to be aware of the new development in the association.
He lamented that due to the crisis in NISA, “The centre could not hold before, but now we have all come back as one, the unity of member is paramount to the growth of maritime sector” he said.
The steering committee further informed that it was unanimously agreed by NISA members that the executive committee should surrender the management of the association to a newly appointed steering committee.
“The Executive committee agreed that though the were elected for two years but have served for four years in office and according to association constitution no executive can serve more that two terms in office hence their two terms tenor expired since November 10, 2018 because they were sworn in 11th November 2014”
“Consequently the Executive Committee surrendered the management of the association to the new steering committee, with the sole responsibility to represent the association in all official matters until new executive committee members are elected.
They added that all excos elected in November 2014 including captain Labinjo and Aminu Umar cease to exist and can no longer represent the association in official capacity.
They however informed that any member of the dissolved executive who is willing to re-contest for any elective position is allowed in accordance with the provision of the association constitution, provided he is not contesting for the same position occupied for two consecutive terms.