Attention has this week shifted to the strenuous activities of electing another dynamic leadership for the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), sequel to the completion of the funeral rites of the Deaconess Cecilia Izogie Ogbeifun, mother of SOAN current President, Engr. Greg Utowen Ogbeifun.
Information available to Platform Reporters reveals that serious campaigns by members of the prestigious club of shipowners have begun in earnest, even as a SOAN member who did not want his name in print confirmed that a Returning Officer was already appointed for an election which we learnt may hold next week (March 26, 2019).
The inauguration of the yet to be elected executives is also slated to hold on the 30th of March, 2019. Unconfirmed report indicated that the revered body, in a bid to sustain its characteristic high profile, objectivity, standard, as well as fulfill all righteousness, has invited several stakeholders and Government parastatals, including the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), and the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS) amongst others, to oversee the election.
It would be recalled that the nation’s highly revered Shipping mogul, Ogbeifun had on 11th December, publicly announced at the SOAN’s 2018 End of Year Workshop and Dinner in Lagos, that he would be stepping down as head of the altruistic ship-owners’ body in March 2019, when the tenure of the present executive would end, to enable the honourable members elect another dynamic ship-owner, having served the statutory two-tenure, Constitutionally allowed.
He observed at the 2018 Dinner: “It is with mixed feelings that I address you at this gathering for the last time in my capacity as the President of the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN). I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the Industry stakeholders and Government MDA’s for the commitment, support and encouragement they have accorded the Association since inception.
“I urge you to accord the same to the incoming President and EXCO of this honourable Association so that we can consolidate on the gains we have made so far in order to reposition the Maritime and Shipping Industry as a strategic driver for the national economic development of our dear nation. I also want to express my profound gratitude to the EXCO’s (past and present) of SOAN for their ardent commitment to achieving the Association’s objectives. And finally, I would like to thank the esteemed members of this great Association for giving me the opportunity to serve”, he concluded, receiving a standing ovation.
It is instructive that since her inauguration in November 2014, SOAN has become an important enabler of maritime discourse both within and outside Nigeria. In November 2015, SOAN was invited by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) to lead the private sector delegation to the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta.
Following that successful outing, the SOAN President was appointed member of the Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC). But beyond these, the often envied body has through its constructive engagements, increased government’s interest and participation in global maritime opportunities such as the Nigerian Maritime Autumn Event which was held on the 28thof September 2016 with the theme “Nigeria’s Maritime Industry as a Driver of Growth”.
The Association has had several engagements with relevant maritime MDA’s and stakeholders with a view to facilitating the streamlining of government policy direction to actualize realistic maritime potential.
Some of these engagements include: * NIMASA on Cadetship Training Scheme, Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), Waivers, and for CBN’s intervention funds and special interest rates for the Maritime Sector With the NCDMB, the body opened up highly fruitful discussion on Vessel Categorization, and Cadetship/Funding support; while with the NAPIMS, it is on record that the group visionary leadership pursued issues of Contract Terms, Vessel Hire Rates, and Dollar/Naira Payment Ratio.
It prudently engaged the Federal Ministry of Transportation on issue of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) and with the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, it achieved an inspiring record for Cadetship training support and engagement.