BY ATTARI M. HOPE
In a month or two from now, several candidates from MOWCA member countries will be vying for the post of Secretary General of Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA).
This is coming even as President Muhammadu Buhari had approved Dr Paul Adalikwu’s candidacy after the vacancy of the 46-year-old organisation was announced last year after the tenure of Mr. Alain Luvambano from Angola who served a two-term of eight years.
The Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa (MOWCA) was established in May 1975 (by Charter of Abidjan) as the Ministerial Conference of West and Central African States on Maritime Transport (MINCONMAR). The over-riding role of MOWCA is to ensure for the sub-region a cost-effective shipping service high on safety and low on pollution.
Adalikwu, who is a Director in charge of Maritime Safety and Security at the Federal Ministry of Transport, is playing key roles in the movement for the establishment of the Regional Maritime Development Bank (RMDB). The bank, a MOWCA initiative, would be sited in Nigeria to bridge funding gaps in the maritime and allied sectors in all member-countries, and this is expected to address critical areas of vessel financing, maritime infrastructural upgrades, capacity building, and capital-intensive procurements.
There is no gainsaying that Dr. Paul Adalikwu had participated in an international programme that brought respect and dignity to Nigeria. As a Director of Planning, Research and Statistics in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, his desk was responsible for the planning and implementation of International Conference on Saving Lake Chad held between 26th and 28th February, 2018 in Abuja.
The conference was adjudged a huge success by President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), his colleagues, Heads of State of the Lake Chad Basin Commission member countries as well as other stakeholders and observers. This, again, speaks volume of his credential as a qualified candidate for the MOWCA’s job. His credential, without doubt, stands him out for the top notch position of Secretary General of MOWCA.
Nigeria, on its part, is not resting on its oars at pushing for Adalikwu’s candidacy, in the manner of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s headship. Nigeria is seeking the support of other countries to cling to the leadership of the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA).
Speaking with him in his office over the weekend, he said that the Federal Government has intensified efforts through interactions and diplomatic outreach to Anglophone and Francophone countries to actualize his emergence as Nigeria’s candidate for Secretary-General of MOWCA.
According to him, some Anglophone and Francophone MOWCA member countries have started expressing support for his candidacy in their collective desires to see an improved MOWCA that would be beneficial to member states. For instance, the Republics of Gambia and Ghana recently pledged their support following bilateral parleys led by Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, to solicit their support for the Nigerian candidate.
Gambia Minister of Transport, Hon Bai Lamin Jobe, recently in Banjul, reiterated his country’s endorsement of Nigerian candidate for the MOWCA top job to advance the maritime potentials of member countries, noting: “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.
Recently also, Ghanaian Transport Minister, Kweku Ofori Asiamah, urged stakeholders of the 25-member countries organisation to rally round the Nigerian candidate.
He also expressed joy that countries like Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of Congo have written to convey their support to him as the next SG of MOWCA while Cameroun, Niger Republic, Cote D’Voire and Gambia have expressed verbal support through top government functionaries.
On his part, Adalikwu plans to activate the real-time online presence of MOWCA using its website to strengthen the region’s long-standing maritime culture and working to reap the benefits derivable from the maritime domain, human capital, and available technology.
While making the MOWCA website more interactive and highly informative with regular updates, he hopes to run a MOWCA with strong, viable, and rich social media following – for member states, investors, and professionals’ benefits.
Speaking on the Center for Information and Communication (CINFOCOM) set up by the outgoing Secretary-General and domiciled in the MOWCA Secretariat, he said he hopes to make it really active and overhaul its mono-lingual structure from only French Language to the three working languages of MOWCA – English, French and Portuguese.
Explaining further, he said: “MOWCA, under my watch will establish a relationship with private sector-based bodies like Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute in Ghana, which is a private sector ‘think-tank’ for maritime strategic thinkers, practitioners, and allies to interact, share ideas, and research into strategic maritime affairs affecting the GoG Region.”/ SHARE THIS
-Attari M. Hope is a Federal Information Officer, Abuja