Nigeria has been re elected Council member of the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) in category â€˜Câ€™ at the election which took placeÂ at the on-going 26th Regular Session of the IMO General Assembly at itsÂ Corporate Headquarters in London.
The Nigerian delegation to the IMO Assembly was led the Honourable Minister of Transport Honourable Ibrahim Isa Bio. The Minister described Nigeriaâ€™s victory as well deserved, and as a sign of greater good things to come for the country.
Nigeria polled 121 out of 153 votes to place 8th at an election that was keenly contested by 26 IMO Member States for 20 seats in category â€˜Câ€™ of the Council. Maritime watchers described the election as the toughest in recent history of IMO Council elections as all the contestants were formidable member states.
In 2007, when Nigeria was elected into Council, she polled 87 votes to place 19 out of 20 member states in category â€˜Câ€™. However, due to dint of hard work and the consistent performance and contributions of Nigeriaâ€™s representation at the IMO since the last election, Nigeriaâ€™s profile at the IMO rose tremendously which resulted in the very good result at the election.
Nigeriaâ€™s preparation for the Council election was well prepared and planned and was bolstered by the encouragement of President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™ardua, who instructed the Minister of Transport in a memo that â€˜you must ensure that we do not loseâ€™. That directive was kept to the letter by the Minister of Transport and his delegation.
There was some scepticism in certain quarters in Nigeria prior to the election. However this excellent performance by Nigeria has proven the sceptics very wrong.
The Council of IMO is made up of 40 member countries in three categories. There are ten countries in category â€˜Aâ€™, another ten in category â€˜Bâ€™ and twenty countries in category â€˜Câ€™. Each Council member irrespective of the category has only one vote when certain decisions require voting.
The IMO Council is the executive organ of IMO which among other very important responsibilities decides who becomes the Secretary General of IMO. The Council also approves the budget of the organisation. Members States struggle to become Council members so as to be in a position to contribute and influence important policies at the IMO.
The new Council members in their various categories are as follows:
Category â€˜Aâ€™_ China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Republic of Korea, Panama, United Kingdom and United States. Category â€˜Bâ€™_ Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden. Category â€˜Câ€™_ Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.
The newly elected 40 Member Council members will serve the organisation for the next two years. The next Council election is scheduled for about the same period in 2011.