BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
The four year tenure of Nigerian born Dr. Paul Adalikwu, Secretary General of the Maritime Organisation of the West and Central Africa (MOWCA) is believed to be handing in the precipice following petty politicking at the Dipcharima House, Federal Ministry of Transportation.
The Ministry which played a vital role for the emergence of Adalikwu as SG MOWCA at the 16th Extra Ordinary Session of the organisation in Accra, Ghana in November 2021, for a one term of four years, renewable for a second term of four years, is said to be propping up another to replace Adalikwu, flowing from petty internal wrangling, a situation analysts say may rub Nigeria of the position to another West or Central African country.
Unconfirmed sources on Sunday revealed that whereas some persons in the Federal Ministry of Transportation said to have ‘elevated’ one Mrs. Nneka Obianyo, a former Registrar of Ships in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), currently Deputy Director overseeing the Agency’s Reforms and Coordination Unit under the DG’s Office., those knowledgeable about the workings of MOWCA says the plot will boomerang, since the organization rules has no provision for such replacements.
The primitive scheming believed to premised on two grounds hinged the first the federal government recent policy of the tenure of directors that have served eight years on the seat, while the second is believed to be coming on the heels of the splitting of the Federal Ministry of Transportation into two, Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Marine & Blue Economy; consequent upon which certain individuals for petty intentions are currently fighting over control of the MOWCA slot.
While there are rumour of the involvement of the Permanent Secretary of the old FMOT, Dr. Magdalene Ajani in the unfolding scenario, those whose business it is to know have frowned at the development, describing it as parochial and reprehensible, an action they also say is anti-democratic, uninformed and amount to working against the interest of the country.
An industry source argued that Adalikwu’s duty in MOWCA is an international assignment and as such must be insulated against local policies, and wonder why the permanent secretary who should know better choose to join in the primitive scheme to recall a man on international assignment.
The source who does not wish to be identified said, “The appointment is for 4 years but Odalikwu shouldn’t be exposed to this sort of primitive schemes, l believe this whole controversy has to do with the recent policy of tenure system of directors in the civil service. I think this is what have that was affected Adalikwu, but looked at objectively, should that affect his appointment in MOWCA?
“He wasn’t on a civil service posting, it was an international assignment. If the Perm Sec is involved, which l doubt, then it is a very bad situation because she should know better. This is an international assignment, not civil service, at the worst of circumstances she should have waited for the incoming minister to make that call.”
Also a maritime expert who declined to be named said “it is illegal to swap the occupant. Leadership change in MOWCA has procedures and processes, 24 other countries are involved and must vote and it is the Chairman, Bureau of Ministers that has power to appoint an interim head.
“The interim of the Secretary-General shall be entrusted to one of the Directors by the current Chairman. While awaiting the appointment of these Directors, one of the Secretaries General of the Specialised Organs designated by the current Chairman shall stand in for him” , he stated, quoting Article 16 of MOWCA.
“The Secretary General shall be elected by the General Assembly for a four year term of office, renewable once -Article 73”, he said.
Efforts by our reporter to get Dr. Ajani’s reaction on the development proved abortive as she failed to respond to questions communicated to her via telephone sms. Informed Nigerians have expressed dismay with the development and have warned that the unnecessary scheming may lead to Nigeria losing the position; which took quite some efforts and many years to secure.
The Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa was created in 1975 is an Intergovernmental Organisation for maritime cooperation which was originally known as the Ministerial Conference of West and Central African States on Maritime Transport.
In August 1999, it became the Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa. Its missions is to promote cost-effective maritime transport services, maritime safety and security, information flow, capacity building of maritime transport actors, sustainable financing of the maritime transport industry and facilitation of transit transport to landlocked member states.