The economies of most nations including that of the United Arab Emirate (UAE) are all built around the maritime. Some of those who designed the blue prints that birthed those economic hubs are Nigerians, some of them here with us while Nigeria wallops in underdevelopment.
One of such brains is Chinedu Jideofo-Ogbuagu, the president of the Marine Club of Nigeria (MCN), with headquarters in Abuja. Jideofo-Ogbuagu is a one-time consultant for a UN agency (UNCTAD) where he advised 77 Third World countries. The Ihie Enugu-born expert holds a Distinction (HND) in Shipping and Masters Degree in Transport Management and has s huge passion for maritime economy which began when he wrote for globally rated but specialized publications such as Lloyd’s List, Shipping World, and Shipbuilder in the UK. He is known for developing Cardiff Free Port as well as the NMA that is now NIMASA. He has advocated for an Enyimba Economic City for the purpose of creating a small Dubai in eastern Nigeria since 2003 but nobody seems to care. He has pursued the establishment of a maritime hub in Nigeria to rule West Africa, and is already the consultant to Maritime Academy, Oron. He also fought for Maritime University Okerenkeko and insists that more maritime universities are needed in Nigeria.
He says: “The Nigerian maritime economy (NIME) – about 80 per cent of the entire Nigerian economy – is not only humongous but also central and critical to Nigeria’s developmental efforts. However, the Nigerian maritime economy was in the past treated merely as a fishing ground for all comers – persons whose only interest was to take but not give to the maritime economy and, by extension, the Nigerian economy. They heard there was money and much global travels in ministries, agencies and departments of the maritime economy – such as transport/aviation, petroleum and varying percentages of all other MDAs, and they lobbied to get appointed into maritime-economy MDAs without any thought of their competency to add any value to the offices they lobbied for.
“And, on getting appointed, they wasted two to four years junketing aimlessly and claiming to learn about their new offices, thereby frustrating practitioners in the sector who had needed competent administrators, regulators, legislators and adjudicators to work with right from “Day One” but who now found themselves waiting on the junketing student/trainee CEOs!
“Marine Club of Nigeria (MCN) wishes that this cycle of fortune hunters and frustrated practitioners in the maritime economy will end with President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term as elected President of Nigeria. It was for this reason, and having weighed the options of the two main presidential candidates in the 2019 elections in terms of Nigerian-content commitment and other issues of interest to the MCN/NIME, that a good number of MCN members – led by MCN president, Dr Chinedu Jideofo – pitched our tent with President Buhari’s reelection. And we campaigned vigorously for it on this and many other local, national and international platforms.
“Now, MCN justifiably appeals to President Buhari to appoint only technically competent – and patriotic – individuals from within or outside the MDAs to head the MDAs. If he does this, for example: NNPC will become the biggest tanker owner in Africa within four years; Nigeria will become the largest flag (ship registry) in Africa; Every state in Nigeria will have at least one free trade zone and all of them thriving; There will be immediate and full implementation of all Nigerian-content laws and policies in Nigeria; Vessel turnaround time in Nigeria’s seaports will be 48 hours or less; All maritime disputes occurring in Nigeria will be handled in Nigeria speedily and competently by an admiralty regime of qualified maritime arbitrators and jurists; and Led by the maritime economy, Nigeria will become fully industrialized in less than 8 years from today.”
Is anyone listening?