By Zika Bobby
The Republics of The Gambia, Ghana and several other countries have pledged their support for the candidacy of Dr. Paul Adalikwu, Nigeria’s candidate for Secretary General of Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA).
Gambia Minister of Transport, Bai Lamin Jobe, who reiterated his country’s endorsement of Nigerian candidate in Banjul on Monday, said MOWCA is in need of a vibrant leadership with ideas which Nigeria has to offer.
The Gambian minister who played host to the Federal Government delegation which was in the country to solicit support from his country told Nigerian Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, that her mission to his country was successful as The Gambia will fully support Nigeria.
He said MOWCA has failed in the last 10 years to meet the yearnings and expectations of member states with regard to it’s objectives of promoting maritime trade, safer and enviromentally efficient shipping among its member- countries.
He disclosed further that his office contacted the maritime administration and ports authority of Gambia for advice ahead of the Nigerian delegation’s visit and got positive responses advising him to support the country.
“My country is in support of your candidate. When we received your message about this visit and the purpose for which you are coming, I consulted our maritime administration and ports authority for advice. Their advice about you and your mission is very positive. “I have also done some research on your candidate and I find him eminently qualified and fit for the job. He is young and we are looking up to people like him to come to MOWCA and change things for the better.
“I can tell you that in the last ten years , MOWCA has not lived up to expectations. I really don’t understand why they chose to operate like that.
“As a member of the Governing Council of the Regional Maritime University in Ghana, I keep hearing them mention MOWCA as a critical stakeholder organisation to the institution but it has never showed up for once or participated in anything being done there.
“This move by Nigeria to us is a welcome development and I am pleased to inform you that your visit to us is very successful” Jobe said.
Last week, Ghanaian Transport Minister, Kweku Ofori Asiamah urged stakeholders of the 25 member countries organisation to rally round the Nigerian candidate.
Asiamah expressed optimism in a more vibrant MOWCA if Adalikwu emerges describing his candidacy as very timely.
The Ghanaian minister also commended Nigerian government for it’s sustained investment and drive towards maritime security particularly in the Gulf of Guinea where piracy and other maritime crimes are being tackled.
Earlier in her address, Senator Saraki said it’s the first time Nigera is seeking to produce a Secretary General for MOWCA in the 46 year history of the multilateral body.
While calling for the cooperation, Saraki said it’s time West and Central African countries look inward and harminise their positions like other regions and continents do before international elections.
She conveyed President Muhammadu Buhari’s support which was expressed through his approval for Nigeria to contest in MOWCA and Category C council membership of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which comes later in the year.
Saraki said Nigeria has been very committed to the growth and sustenance of MOWCA from inception through financial contributions and prompt attendance of events convened by the organisation.
She added that Nigeria has been at the fore of helping successive MOWCA leaderships to succeed and therefore deserve same support she is seeking for the first time
Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of Congo have written to convey their support for Adalikwu as next SG of MOWCA while Cameroun, Niger Republic, Cote D’Voire and Gambia have expressed verbal support through top government functionaries.