By DAPO OLAWUNI
Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi has made his personal email address for the public to evaluate the performance of the ministry under his watch.
This has however generated reactions from maritime practitioners. While some of them commended Amaechi for suddenly waking up to his responsibilities, others condemned the Minister for not being sincere, especially with the maritime sector operators.
Amaechi had made his disrespect for maritime stakeholders known at various public events.
Specifically, in 2021 at an event to flag-off wreck removal by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) the Minister stated cartegorically that the sector lacks cohesiveness and that operators are full of infighting and love writing petitions.
He said that he has diverted his attention away from maritime sector and moved to the rail sector where the stakeholders are more united.
Reacting to the Minister’ sudden change of mind, a stakeholder, Mr Chidi Anthony Opara said the Minister is not sincere, he said that tons of letters have been written to Amaechi by stakeholders but he never acted on them.
He alleged that the Minister sometimes call stakeholders meeting in Abuja, and after a long day, he would refuse to attend to the stakeholders.
“What does he expect us to email to him? Letters?(which he doesn’t give attention to), petitions?(which he hates and ignores).
“The letters Chief Ernest Elochukwu and others sent direct to his office and receipt was acknowledged, and the various petitions also sent direct to his office and receipt was acknowledged, has he done anything about them?
Is it now email that he would give attention to?
“He would invite people to come and meet with him in Abuja, they would spend time and money to be in Abuja and he would casually tell them that he was too tired to meet with them and would give them another appointment the next week, not the next day.
“So now, he would be reading and considering tons of emails we would be sending to him?
Let them continue to view us as brainless, while we watch them and their wisdom from our little corner” he stated
On his part, a master mariner and President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Capt Tajudeen Alao, told DAILY TREND NEWS that stakeholders should try and accomodate the transport Minister and give him benefit of doubt.
“Sincerely speaking, let’s take it, as when a man wakes up, is his morning
“The HMOT overtures to the Industry is better late , than never. 12 months is long enough for good and candid suggestions to be adopted and implemented”
“We should give the Minister benefit of doubt and work with him, for the sake of the Industry
“Let us go into archive ,and bring out constructive suggestions of the past and send direct to HMOT’s email” Alao stated
Prominent maritime media practitioner, Elder Asu Beks in his submission said the Minister’s gesture meant nothing to the maritime sector after he has abandoned it for so many years.
Elder Beks said “Just as it occurred to Mr President only yesterday, to appoint a Chief Economic Adviser, 16 months before the expiration of his tenure, it has just dawned on Rt Hon Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, Buhari’s Minister of Transportation,that he indeed needs feedback from Industry stakeholders when he made his email public”
“What difference would this gesture make in an Industry that has been so battered under his watch? Ironically, no Nigerian dead or alive has had the rare privilege of being a Minister of Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for 8 straight years . Is this reachout not coming too late?” He wondered.
Also speaking, President of Association Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics (APFFLON) Otunba Frank Ogunojemite stated that the move by Amaechi if could build relationships among stakeholders.
He said that it should not be seen as a political strategy.
He told DAILY TREND NEWS that “I won’t say politics until trial convinced me. It’s a welcome development to bridge relationships, if actually it works as expected. This will safe time and bureaucracy of sending letters or reports”
Amaechi had said in a statement that “I am very grateful to President Muhammad Buhari GCFR for the opportunity he has given me to serve the nation as the Minister of Transportation.
“Our major focus as a ministry has been the revamping of dilapidated railway and moribund maritime sector which are key means of transportation and major sources of revenue respectively.
“However, we understand the need for appraisal and so desire to know from the citizenry how we have faired, being that we are accountable to you.
“Therefore, your feedback on the performance of the Ministry thus far is important to us. We desire to know where you feel we have succeeded or are succeeding, where we should improve, and or where you feel we are failing or have failed.
“It is our duty and desire to do better and keep improving. Kindly email me at email@example.com
I will deeply appreciate this gesture”