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Maritime stakeholders differs over new transport minister

By Godfrey Bivbere
With the appointment of Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman as the Minister of Transport by the Acting President in his recent allocation of portfolios into the Federal Executive Council (FEC),  maritime stakeholders differs over the appointment of a none transport professional, even as the new Minister resumed duty.

Speaking to Vanguard on the issue, a Chieftain of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayewola Shittu, has expressed shock that the Acting President Goodluck Jonathan despite the clamour by maritime operators for a core industry operator to be appointment, has disappointed practitioners by naming a non professional.

Shittu, who is the immediate past chairman of the electoral commission of ANLCA and Presidential candidate of the association forthcoming presidential elections, said “I am shocked that despite our call for a competent industry person is made to head the ministry had been ignored. The best man should have been Ihenacho because he understands the industry.”

Speaking further he noted, “Bio should have been brought back because he spent all the time learning about the industry and now he has been sent to sport. We will never get it right.  We will continue to be in the doldrums.”

Also reacting to the appointment, Chairman of the Indigenous Ship owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapamo, said though they are not happy that Ihanacho did not make it to the ministry of transport, it is not too bad since he is in the FEC.

Jolapamo explained that it is the prerogative of the President to make the appointment, weighing the political equation but expressed happiness that the industry would still be well represented at the highest level of government.

Similarly, President of Nigerian Merchant Navy Association (NMNA), Captain Thomas Kemeverigha, said “We expected him to be the minister of transport but like everything in this country, we continue to put square pegs in round holes.”
Kemeverigha noted that since he did not get it, “I hope the new minister will carry along industry operators and should be careful of deceivers who will want to lead him astray.

Meanwhile, the new Minister of Transport, Alhaji Suleiman Yusuf who resume duties yesterday has reiterated his commitment to ensure that Nigerians get value for projects executed. Suleiman said that the Federal Ministry of Transport has a huge mandate that transcends both local and international dimensions and asserted that with an effective and efficient railway system among others, overall National Development for the Nation is guaranteed.

He further said that with the number of projects in the Transport sector, Nigerians must understand the projects in order to appreciate them, which will in turn create ownership, which will ultimately cause Nigerians to protect the projects. He stressed the need to also carry Nigerians along and indeed non_governmental organizations (NGOs) in the way we do things to ensure Transparency.


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