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In marked improvement, Nigeria comes extremely close to IMO new status

• West Africa loses seat
• We will be back stronger, says

Nigeria came within a whisker of
returning to Category C of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Friday
in London after losing the IMO Council election by just one vote. 

Though, the
country missed its bid for membership of the Governing Council, IMO’s highest
decision making organ, Nigeria’s performance was a remarkable improvement from
2017, when it lost by 12 votes.

However, West Africa lost its only
seat in the Council, as Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, and Kenya retained their
seats in the 20-member Category C of the IMO.

Nigeria’s delegation to the 31st
Session of the IMO had put up a spirited campaign for election into the
Governing Council, whose membership the country lost in 2011. 

The country
polled 110 votes to come 21st, one short of the 111 polled by Kenya, which came
20th, the cut off point for Category C membership of the Council.

Nigeria will have another chance for
a shot at the Council in 2021, during the next biennial Session of the IMO

Being in the Council brings opportunities and openings for nations to
be involved in various decisions that will impact on the maritime sector
globally and the country in particular.

The Minister of State for
Transportation, Dr Gbemisola Saraki, who led the country’s delegation, said the
campaign for the 2021 bid had begun.

Saraki said it was a matter of
paramount national interest that “Nigeria gets a seat on the maritime table.

She said the country would, as a
first task, appraise the factors behind its narrow loss. 

“We are going to go
back to the countries that voted to ask them what they did not think we have
done well or why they did not vote for us,” Saraki stated.

But she insisted Nigeria had done
remarkably well in reforming its maritime sector to meet the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

She pointed to the milestones in maritime
safety and security, gender equality, and environmental responsibility.

Saraki was delighted by the
determined effort of the Nigerian delegation to campaign for the Category C

The Nigerian delegation also included
Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency
(NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside; whose Agency was the lead anchor. Others were
Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman; Chairman
Senate Committee on Maritime transport, Senator Danjuma Goje, Chairman, House
of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration,
Lynda Ikpeazu;

Also on the delegation were the Permanent
Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari; Rector of the
Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Duja Effedua and Barr. Hassan Bello,
Executive Secretary Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC).

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