By Stephen Ubanna
For much of last month and now, the League of Maritime Editors, LOME, under the Leadership of Timothy Okorocha Paul , a vetran Journalist, who has just turned 60 years, has worked tirelessly to ensure that the planned appreciation dinner for Engr. Muazu Jaji Sambo, Taraba state born politician and immediate past minister of Transportation and Ademola Adegoroye , the minister of state during former President Muammadu Buhari’s Administration was a success.
Given that the high and mighty in the society including some prominent traditional Rulers from Taraba, home state of Engr. Sambo, and Ondo, home state of the minister of the state, were said to have been invited to the dinner may haveinformed why security has been tightened up at Eko Hotels and Suits premises and its environs.
Asu Beks, Publisher of the Shipping World and the Chairman of the Organising Committee, and his team were said to have repeatedly briefed members through the official Platform how far they have gone at every stage of the planning of the event.
This is evident going by the most recent message to the League members informing them that the two immediate past ministers of Transportation being honoured by the Association have already arrived in Lagos , meaning that all roads should lead to the Eko Hotels and Suits , today, June 9, 2023, instead of keeping the guests waiting.
The assurance given to Okorocha Paul, the LOME President , by the Committee, may have encouraged him to issue a strongly worded statement to further remind the industry operators including officials of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigeria Port Authority, NPA, Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Nigerian Inland Water Ways, NIWA and Nigerian Academy, Oron, including the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, that the long awaited event for the Appreciation for the two former ministers of Transportation , who were said to have used their almost ten months in office to turn the nation’s maritime sector around that Nigeria, is now reckoned with as a strong maritime nation.
Perhaps, to ensure that the personalities who were invited for the dinner that would be chaired by Boss Mustapha, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation were not embarrassed by touts mlliing around the Eko Hotel and Suiits, may have informed why the LOME President to strictly warn that those without the invitation Card have no basis being found around the environment to avoid being handed over to the Police. The Association was said to have engaged the services of the bouncer to man the entrance to the hall where the dinner with a mandate to turn back uninvited guests.
Okorocha Paul, who had said that LOME , considered t necessary to honour the two former ministers in the Federal ministry of Transportation because of their laudable effort in transforming the nation’s maritime sector through the development and rehabilitation of ports infrastructural facilities, promotion of indigenous shipping, as the duo were said to thrown their weight behind Bashir Jamoh, OFR, the Director General , NIMASA and his Management team to secure a Presidential approval for the disbursement of the over $360 million idle Cabotage vessel Finance Fund, CVFF, which had been warehoused for the agency by the Central Bank of Nigerian , CBN, under the close watch of Godwin Emefiele since its establishment in 2003, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Okorocha-Paul, who could not hide his feelings ha said that the two former ministers in the Federal ministry of Transportation ‘’on assuming office, in, 2022, following the resignation of Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state,and the then minister to pursue his Presidential ambition on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, had given room to Engr. Sambo, to express himself as a performer which never went unnoticed.
Many believe that Engr. Sambo, could make an impact in the nation’s maritime sector, within 10 months in office because of background as industry operator who knows where the country’s hidden treasures are and thus is moved ‘’to ensure ports efficiency and inter-connectivity of the agencies’’ under the ministry through the NSC, by establishing ‘Port Community System under a single platform’’.
Recall that the LOME ,president had repeatedly said that the two former ministers in the ministry of Transportation will ever be remembered for achieving so much for the nation’s maritime sector in 10 months, compared to some past ministers in the ministry , who spent years in years , without anything to show for it but signing of documents or seek Presidential approval for projects to be executed at the ports or awarding contracts to cronies.