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Nigeria’s Leadership of MOWCA Hangs In The Balance

By Eguono Odjegba

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 heading for the precipice following petty politicking at the Dipcharima House, Federal Ministry of Transportation.

Adalikwu second from left with Nigerian delegation during the campaign from one member state to the other

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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, immediate past Registrar of Ships and current director the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to the position of the Secretary General of MOWCA, 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 is believed to 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 are currently fighting over control of the MOWCA leadership.

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.

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.


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