Attempts to reappoint former Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi are being vehemently opposed by stakeholders in the maritime industry.
Amaechi, who was also former Governor of Rivers State, responded to the demand of President Muhammadu Buhari for Ministers and public offers who desired to contest elective positions to quit their offices ahead of the primary elections of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Amaechi was a presidential candidate of the APC and came second behind National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu scoring 316 delegate votes as against Tinubu’s 1,271.
In interviews conducted by SHIPS & PORTS, the stakeholders said that the former Minister failed to develop the industry during his seven-year tenure, and should therefore not be reappointed into the position.
The Founding President of the Nigerian Shipowners’ Association of Nigeria, Chief Isaac Jolapamo to the specialised newspaper that Amaechi’s tenure as Transportation Minister led to a “retrogression” of the maritime industry, as many Nigerian shipping companies went under.
“If he has resigned, what is he looking for again? He has not made any significant impact. He has only retrogressed the industry 20 years backward”, he said.
Also, the National Vice President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Mr Segun Musa said the former Minister neglected the development of the industry during his tenure.
“He has added no value to the maritime industry. Currently, we, in collaboration with the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki are looking for how we can resuscitate the industry.
“As a matter of fact, the country’s failure to win the last IMO (International Maritime Organisation) election showed that Amaechi failed. Ordinary Category C, we couldn’t win. He has only showed up to politicise the industry. And this is someone that is comfortable in speaking with all sense of arrogance to our stakeholders in the industry. You can’t just start talking arrogantly to stakeholders in the industry without significant impact.
“Ordinary Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), he couldn’t facilitate it’s disbursement. So what can you point out that he did in the Industry? Nothing.
“I prefer Saraki to remain there but not someone like Amaechi. There is no reason bringing him back”, Musa argued.
The Public Relations Officer, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Mr Stanley Ezenwa asked: “Is he coming to do anything different from what he has done before”?
He added: “During the term of Amaechi, CVFF disbursement has been a mirage. It has not been achieved till today. He has been the Alpha and Omega of CRFFN (Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria). Now he’s out, let him be out and let new hands carry on with the assignment”.
On his part, the Chairman of the Apapa chapter of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Mr Dom Onyeka said: “God forbid Amaechi comes back to the Ministry of Transportation. We have not seen anything that can be described as development in the maritime industry since he emerged as the Minister of Transportation.
“You came on board to suspend the Constitution that regulates the operation of CRFFN, and subjected it to discretional manipulation. Instead of electing the Chairman of the Council, you’ll use your discretion to appoint, which is not consonance with the Constitution.
“Despite the money he spent on railway construction in Nigeria, passengers were still being kidnapped. What makes the railways different from what we have in the time of colonial rule? Are we saying that the railways can’t be sophisticated and secure passengers enough from kidnap or abduction? The bottom line is that, he can’t even come back”, Onyeka said empathically.
Since President Buhari hosted 10 Ministers who resigned to contest in the APC primary elections on 13th May, he is yet to fill the vacancies, fuelling speculations that he might returns them to their former positions.
Some of the Ministers who attended the President’s reception were believed to have either not dropped their resignation letter or withdrew them to stay on in the cabinet. Among them were the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami; Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen; Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
Original story: SHIPS & PORTS