What Sylvanus Obasi Told Maritime Students At 4th Annual Conference

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It is with happiness and gladness that I welcome you once again to this epoch-making occasion, being the 4th edition of ‘A Day With Nigeria Maritime Students’. This year’s Conference is special for us at Platforms because today we are celebrating Platforms Communications 5th Anniversary! It is a double celebration for us. We are elated, we are joyful and we give all the glory to God Almighty!

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, in this welcome address, I wouldn’t want to bore you with the journey of Platforms Communications five years ago, a lot has been said about that in my article entitled, “My 10 Years Lagos Challenge” which is published in page 14 of this brochure. I urge you to read through it at your own convenient time and satisfy your curiosity. However, permit me to say that history was made precisely on Saturday, May 25, 2014 when Maritime Platform Radio Programme went on air for the first time, thus birthing what is today known as Platforms Communications Concept. The first guest I featured on that program was the then President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMMs) Capt Ade Olopoieyan who has the honour and pleasure of being the Father of the Day in today’s occasion. Please lets put our hands together for him.

Having said that, let me emphasize that A Day With Nigeria Maritime Students 2019 edition is very crucial as we set to address two important issues as captured in the two paper presentations for today’s occasion. In the first paper entitled, “The Youth And Nigeria Maritime Potential: Developing the Right Competencies & Character for the Profession/Opportunities”, we want to examine the place of Nigerian youth in the enormous potential in Nigeria Maritime industry. In doing this, we are asking: In view of Nigeria’s huge maritime potential, what is in it for Nigerian youth in terms of opportunities and prospects? How do we develop the right competencies and character needed by the youth to tap into these potential and opportunities? Are our maritime academies and institutions well equipped to produce quality professionals good in competence and character to take up these new opportunities in the sector? Why do local shipowners and other employers of labour complaint that many of our young graduates and seafarers have character or competent issues when employed? These and many more are the issues we intend to address through this first paper presentation. And I am confident that the speaker, the moderator and the panelists are ready to do justice to the topic.

On the other hand, the second Paper Presentation which forms the central theme of this year’s Conference is equally apt as it focuses on the next journey of a seafarer after sea time experience. This topic, “Beyond Sea-Time: A Closer Look At Other Prospects and Challenges in Seafaring Profession”, aims to dissect, expose and highlight the opportunities and challenges awaiting a Nigerian seafarer in his seafaring profession the moment he or she finishes the all-important sea-time experience. The purpose of this topic is to intimate our cadets to life after sea time in order to prepare them for the opportunities or challenges that may likely come their way. The paper will also bring to limelight the challenges that could deter a Nigerian seafarer from continuing his seafaring profession and also proffer solutions on how relevant government agencies, regulators and concerned stakeholders can work together to solve the challenges so the seafarers can easily progress to the next level of their career.

Our distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with me that having these two topics for a discussion today, we all are in for a serious and crucial Conference this very day. It is my hope and belief that by the time we are through with today’s occasion, our young professionals and students would have discovered their place in our maritime industry. Our maritime academies and institutions would see a pressing need to raise the bar of educational standards in our maritime schools so as to produce graduates who are qualified both in competence and character to function effectively in their careers. Our cadets would be better positioned to take on their post Sea-time challenges and opportunities. Our government agencies, regulators and stakeholders would see the need to make seafaring profession an attractive career in Nigeria, and above, our industry would be better for it.

Finally, I want to congratulate in advance those maritime students who have distinguished themselves in their fields of study, and will today be awarded as best graduated students in their respective fields. May today’s honour spur you for more honours in your life endeavours. The Best Graduated Maritime Students Awards is instituted by Platforms Communications to stimulate healthy academic competition amongst Nigerian maritime students. We therefore call on all maritime students to be challenged by this honour and continually strive for excellence both in academics and in your other endeavours, knowing fully well that it pays to be the best. We also call on various maritime companies, professional bodies, stakeholder groups and good-spirited individuals, including government agencies to seize this opportunity to reward these outstanding students in your own way by way of cash donations, automatic employment or scholarship for further studies. By this way, together we are building a legacy which posterity will forever remember.

On this note, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I once again welcome you all to today’s occasion. I welcome and appreciate all our guests and resource persons, who have left their busy schedules to make this day a memorable occasion. I welcome and appreciate all the participating schools and students who have come from far and near to be part of this year’s Conference. Most importantly, I welcome and appreciate all our dignitaries, friends and fans, partners and supporters of Platforms Communications who have come to celebrate with us on this special occasion of our 5th Anniversary. I also warmly welcome and appreciate in no small measures every one of us for honouring this invitation to be with these future leaders of our industry. As we get set for the business of the day, I wish you all fruitful deliberations.

Thank you for coming, feel welcome as always. And God bless you all!


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