BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
In the earlier serials, whereas the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Hon. Adegboyega Oyetola and Prof. Gunter Pauli were identified as the central figures in the ongoing plot to grant the latter the contract for developing a policy template for the nation’s blue economy, today we shall also be looking at the background role of the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, OFR.
Recall that mention was made of a congratulatory letter by Pauli to Oyetola barely two weeks upon his appointment, in which the Belgian contractor and lobbyist specifically extolled the minister’s leadership capacity with exaggerated flattery as also a ploy to market himself for the sole purpose of winning the minister’s heart in respect of his stealthy bid for the blue economy contract.
The wordings of the letter would not have been curious if written by a Nigerian or a foreigner with known business relationship with Nigeria, the nuances of Pauli’s letter strongly suggests an insider’s utmost support if not out rightly the brain behind Pauli’s moves.
An insider, whose intentions is obviously subterranean and wholly tied to the quest, as a partaker of the contract and its benefits, for which Pauli is merely being presented as a front; which tell tale evidences are partly revealed in Pauli’s letter.
The letter reads in part: “Over the past years I have assisted numerous governments from Morocco to Argentina, from the islands in the Pacific Ocean to the cities around the Mediterranean with a dedicated strategy to secure implementation of The Blue Economy, both with investments and with education.
“The world is not in need of more analysis, which all too often leads to paralysis. The world needs executives in business and government that can turn opportunities into facts that change statistics.
“We need Ministers of your stature, experience, the personal will and perseverance to put Nigeria on a path of growth using its available resources. We have experience in providing both the short term results with quick actions on the ground, as well as structural shifts in the economy that will secure a considerable increase in growth and wealth, especially in the local communities.”
While efforts will be made to unravel the identity of the man behind the curtain, this aficionado in subsequent edition, let us consider the announcement of the establishment of the blue economy information desks at all international airports in the country by NIMASA.
Industry players knows the intertwining links between the maritime and aviation industry; and can also readily understand where the bridges of unhealthy nexus are been built. In any case, the where about of the NIMASA Aircraft being a product of the maritime and aviation joint efforts in lieu of catalyzing the success of the blue economy has been tossed in the trash waste of history.
In view of the immediate concern relating to the blue economy aircraft bought by NIMASA, perhaps it is also germane to ask what economic values the proposed, so-called information desks have on the development of our blue economy. Is it consistent with this government’s renewed hope agenda?
While speaking on the development, the DG NIMASA who obviously wishes to be seen as an apostle of the blue economy explained that the effort has already received the buy-in of the Honorable Minister of Aviation, Mr Festus Keyamo SAN, noting that the strategy will boost international awareness of the blue economy regime.
He was quoted in an official statement as saying “The Blue Economy desk at the Ports will enhance inter ministerial collaboration to harness potentials in Nigerian Maritime sector by creating awareness of a functional intermodal transport system, and tourism amongst others which are key components of a growing maritime nation.”
it is not clear if this latest initiative is an advise by Prof Pauli, perhaps rendered pro-bono, during their meetings especially having regards to Jamoh’s reported confessions to Pauli’s expertise advise and proposals on how best to drive the blue economy.
Many observers however thinks that the planned information desks as a public relations strategy typifies the Nigerian factor as a recurring official recklessness and executive rascality that has for a long time defined our ostentatious governance system.
Those who aired their concerns in private say the plan aggregates another form insensitive official spending drift for purposes of narrow considerations which the country can ill afford at a time our borrowing has already hit the roof top.
Nigeria cannot continue like this and it is about time all responsible segment of society join to interrogate and force a stop to this and similar official excesses by upping our duty at demanding transparency and accountability in the running government businesses.
Perhaps it is also time to look more closely into all initial development expenditures associated with this blue economy project, which has been pushed forward as the newest economic behemoth, before these connoisseurs with their outlandish budgeting sink Nigeria through poor officiating or even through unbridled rip off; often associated with projects of this magnitude.
If we don’t arrest the drift, at some point not too far distant, we the masses, the vulnerable bracket may inadvertently be the ones to sink into the abyss of the economic tragedy their cavernous yearning doused in political sophistries may lead to. Already our debt profile is climbing precipitously through unbridled appetite for profligacy and vaulting ostentatious lifestyles; which would force our commonwealth roof to cave in, it is only a matter of time.
Sadly, when that time comes, only the drift spenders now using the protection of their offices to do as they like, would have something to fall back on; a premium security they orchestrated while pretending to be building capacity whilst in office; we have seen it in our aviation, agriculture, banking, roads, energy and power industry.
It is not impossible that the present blue economy romance that has also clearly seen Keyamo in the romance boat will grow bigger in number and could even become noisier. But this also the right time to get involved, to say enough is enough in the official theatre of waste, of lack of respect for indigenous industry participation, and which Prof Pauli and Minister Oyetola and their minions are scheming to make an offshore affairs and doing everything possible to push down the throat of Nigerians.