Capt Iheanacho, Jolapamo, Anishere, Others Turn-up At Industry Day of Tribute for Late Eng Olu Akinsoji

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From right: Barr Chidi Illogu SAN, Capt Emmanuel Iheanacho, Chief Isaac Jolapomo and foremost master mariner, Capt Olugbode at the industry day of tributes in honour of late Engr Olu Akinsoji on Tuesday

By DAPO OLAWUNI

Maritime industry top notches on Tuesday gathered to celebrate the live and times of Late Eng Olu Akinsoji, an industry icon who passed away on the 16th of January 2024 at the age of 79.

Late Engr. Olu Akinsoji was former Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, Akwa Ibom State, a former Government Registrar of Ships, and one time Nigerian representative on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

Industry practitioners present at the event included; Former Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho, BOT Chairman of NISA, Chief Isaac Jolapomo, Chidi Illogu, SAN, Jean Chiazor Anishere SAN, and former President of NAGAFF , Dr. Eugene Nweke, Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa.

Also, representatives of the Association of Marine Engineers (AMES), led by its President Engr. Israel Obadan, former Director General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Ify Akerele, Maritime Lawyer, Barr. Osuala Nwagbara, President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Captain Tajudeen Alao, Captain Ihenacho Ebubeogu, Sunday Umoren, Secretary of Abuja MoU, Bolaji Sunmola, Chairman Port Consultative Council (PCC) , representative of SIFAX Group led by Captain Ibrahim Olugbade and Rear Admiral Goodswill Ombu (Rtd).

Others are: Ms. Funmi Folorunsho, Adegboyega Olopoenia CEO Massc Global Marine Limited, Engr. Michael Sese Atina, Chaplain Mission to Seafarers, Cannon Bimbo Aduroja, Asst Chaplain, Mission to Seafarers, Rev. Emmanuel Ilori, Captain Adewale Ishola , Image maker, NIMASA, Mr. Osagie Edwards, members of the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association NMNOWTSSA led by the Vice National President (Shipping), Engr. Wale George.

The industry stakeholders described the Late Akinsoji as a patriotic Nigerian who dedicated his lifetime to the growth of the maritime industry.

L-R: Barr Emmanuel Osuala Nwagbara, Chief Eugene Nweke, Bolaji Sunmola, and President of AMES, Eng Israel Obadan

The sentiments shared painted a vivid picture of a man whose impact extended far beyond his professional achievements.

Speaking at the event, President of Association of Marine Engineers (AMES), Engr. Israel Obadan described Late Akinsoji as an urbane city man, with a cosmopolitan comportment but devoid of its glamour, a man infused with wide international attitude, full of zest and candour.

According to him “Engr.Olu Akinsoji was employed as an Engineer cadet by the now defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, under that peautifully designed and visionary federal government sponsorship program, that produced excellent maritime professionals, great maniners like Engineer Olu Akinsoji and many of his generations and younger ones who are today in commanding positions in the industry.

“The products of that maritime human resources development program are now gradually retreating.
Engr.Olu Akinsoji fought a good fight for the industry. We salute his tenacity, despite the humiliations sometimes encountered”

Also, former Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, recounted Engr. Akinsoji’s prowess, stating, “Olu was a very good engineer. Olu was a good man as a man, but as an engineer, he was mean.” Capt. Ihenacho highlighted
Iheanacho emphasized Engr. Akinsoji’s remarkable journey, from serving as a ship service to reaching the pinnacle of the Government Inspector of Shipping; regulating technical standards on ships.

Capt Tajudeen Alao (right) and Capt Ibrahim Olugbade representing SIFAX Group

The Master Mariner emphasized Engr. Akinsoji’s unwavering commitment and social prowess, describing him as a faithful ally who effortlessly made friends and addressed social challenges.

Speaking also, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Bashir Jamoh who was represented by the Assistant Director, Public Relations of NIMASA; Mr Osagie Edward expressed deep sense of sadness on the death of Engr. Akinsoji

He described Akinsojii as a patriotic Nigeria, consummate professional and a maritime expert who was committed to the growth and development of the Nigerian maritime industry.

He emphasized Akinsoji’s role as a former Alternate Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (APR-IMO) and his significant contributions as the former Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron.

“He dedicated almost his entire life to making his contributions towards a virile maritime industry for Nigeria.

“As a former Alternate Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (APR-IMO), former Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron and a distinguished member of the Association of Master Mariners, Engr Akinsoji’s contributions to the industry will always stand the test of time.

“His passage is therefore not only a major loss to his family, but to Nigeria as a whole and the maritime industry in particular” he said.

Assistant Director Public Relations of NIMASA, Mr Edward Osagie (right) standing in for the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh

On her part, Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa, Managing Director of LeLook, shared a personal connection, describing Engr. Olu as a mentor who played a pivotal role in her career.

She highlighted his support in setting up a maritime consulting firm and expressed concern about the diminishing art of mentoring in the industry.

Ezenwa underscored the irreplaceable nature of human thought in mentorship and celebrated Akinsoji’s simplicity, knowledge, and humility.

She said: “Engr. Olu really meant a lot to me and he really helped my life because to set up a maritime consulting firm at retirement was not easy for me.

“But holding my hand meant any challenge you will have in that process, I’ll be there with you. Anything at all you want me to do, I’ll be there with you.

“And he was there with me. I got a job with NIMASA to do something; to do some audit research. He was there with me. We travelled to Portsmouth in England together. On our official assignment. He was there with me. On the phone. He’s there with me” she said

For Ms Funmi Folorunsho, she recounted how Late Akinsoji had protected her and shielded her as a young staff who joined Ministry under the Registrar of Ships.

According to her, “Olu Akinsoji and his friends was always protecting me from Captains and Seafarers who were visiting our office back then. They were shocked when suddenly I sprouted a Pregnancy!”

Others who spoke included; Barr Chidi Illogu SAN, Capt Olugbode and Jean Chiazor Anishere SAN.

In his sermon titled “Live Well to Die Well, So that you can Sleep Well” Cannon Bimbo Aduroja urged maritime stakeholders gathered at the event to make good use of their time on earth and serve God for them to inherit heaven.

Aduroja spoke from the book of Ecclesiastics Chapter 12 verse 13 and 14.

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