The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside at last broke his long silence one week after Nigeria lost its bid to be elected into the Category C of the Council of the International Maritime Organisation IMO, saying that the country lost to international politics and other factors.

Recall that Nigeria in the election concluded Friday last week lost narrowly to Kenya by 110-111 votes even as Egypt, Morocco and South Africa also retained their seats on the 20-member Category C of the Council of the IMO.

The DG, who spoke with newsmen at the sidelines of the just concluded National Transport Summit organised by the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration Nigeria CIoTA, held in Abuja, disclosed that winning election into the IMO Council or any other global body was a function of interplay of international politics and not about what the Maritime Administration did or did not do.

He cited the case of Liberia, which has been on the Council for a very long time but does not have a strong maritime administration back home, adding that Kenya, which beat Nigeria by one vote to get re-elected into the council does not have a better Maritime Administration than Nigeria.

“In Africa, Nigeria has the best Maritime Administration. You may also argue that Kenya has a large tonnage too in Africa. But you know that they run an open ship registry, which means that all the ships on their register do not belong to Kenyans. Nigeria has the second largest tonnage in the continent of Africa, this is verifiable.

“We are ahead of Egypt, South Africa and others. In every area of Maritime Administration, we are ahead. In fact, Nigeria has one of the best Maritime Administrations if not the best in Africa, so I do not believe that winning IMO Council election is a function of what the Maritime Administration did or did not do, like I said earlier, it is a function of international politics.

“I can also cite the example of Qatar, which put herself forward for the IMO Council election but when she discovered that her neighbours have decided to vote her down and for some reasons they cannot explain, Europe seemed to have agreed with her neighbours, Qatar simply withdrew from the election. So this was not a matter of what the Qatar Maritime Administration did or did not do, rather other international political factors”, the DG said.  

DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside

On whether Nigeria will re-contest in 2021 election, the DG said that such decision would be made by the President or the Federal Executive Council FEC, insisting that it is neither NIMASA nor the Federal Ministry of Transport but the Nigerian nation that contests such elections, so the decision must come from the President or FEC.

He said: “The decision to run in the IMO Council election not only in Nigeria but all over the world is ultimately made by the President of the FEC. If you want to put yourself forward for the election, the proper process is to apply to the President of the country or the FEC, who will consult with relevant agencies and authorities because it is Nigeria that is contesting not the Ministry or NIMASA”.

Expert believe that though there were the interplay of international politics and a combination of other factors, the decision of the Nigerian government to shut its borders against its West African neighbours in order to check smuggling may have also played a prominent role in the country’s narrow defeat at the polls.