IMO: How The International Community Ganged Up Against Nigeria Being Elected Into The Council As Kenya Wins Again

By Our Reporter

Those who think that Nigeria lost the Category C , Seat, of the United Nations, UN, maritime agency, Interrnational Maritime Organisation, IMO, due to the East African country of Kenya, due lack of preparations for the election  on Friday, December 3, 2021,may have to do a rethink.

 Bashir Jamoh, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA,  with the support of president Muhammadu buhari, a retired  army General had reached out to the Leadership of the Maritime Authorities  in other parts of the world, including South Korea, to support Nigerian bid for the IMO Council Seat, reserved for 20 countries.

 Jamoh, the NIMASA Director General may have known the high level of international politics involved in the election  of the members of the IMO Category C, meaning countries that are not eligible to be elected into Categories A and B, reserved for the big players.

.    Dakuku Peterside, the then Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the agency who had taken Nigeria to the Council election in London, United Kingdom, in 2019, was emphatic on this. ‘’What went wrong. The election of any country into the Council IMO Category C, is a function of International Politics and not a specific  case of IMO.The NIMASA, boss may have known the areas Nigeria has been most criticised by the International Community that  he had  mobilized his Management Team to decide on what to do in order to win the heart of the voters  at the December 3, 2021, Council election in the United Kingdom.

Jamoh, DG, NIMASA: Made All The efforts To Get Nigerian Elected Into IMO Council But Failed Due To International Conspiracy

 He  had taken advantage of the of the $195 million maritime maritime  security assets meant for the Deep Blue project, procured by the Katsina state born Nigeria President for the agency and which was supplied by the Israeli firm,  HLSI Security Systems and Technologies Limited,  to move into action immediately.               , The security assets  comprises of 16 armoured vehicle  for Coastal Patrol, 17 Fast Interceptor Boats,  Two Special Mission vessels and Two Special Mission aircrafts including four  armoured marine vehicles to address the security Challenges in Nigerian waters and the Gulf Guinea, GoG, with the Collaboration of other maritime security agencies , particular, the Navy and the Air  Force.

The agency was said to have gone a step further to Launch the Maritime Security Unit, MSU, in order to win the heart of the International Community to give Nigeria their vote.

 TheInternational Community, IMO And the International Maritime Bureau Bureau, IMB, had recognised the efforts of Nigeria to make the country’s maritime domain and GoG , safe for Foreign ocean going vessels, which was enough to keep the IMO, Category C Seat, up for grab by Nigeria.  

Jamoh had said  at recent Chartered Institute of Transport Administration in Nigeria, CIOTA, Conference in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,  that there were 27 Piracy and sea robbery attacks between May and July, 2021,  stressing the Pirates and sea robbers  had Launched the attack on three vessels in the anchorage areas, meaning that the sea Criminal elements wing have been Completely clipped.

 Although, Nigeria had lost the IMO Category C, Seat to Kenya, many believe that there was no basis for such show of hatred by the International Community on Nigeria.  There is no gainsaying the fact that the East African country has the largest  tonnage in the Continent , meaning that  the country have  more vessels in their Local ship registry compared to Nigeria which  have less but  the country still remain  the second largest tonnage owner in the African Continent ahead of Egypt,  Morocco, or any other maritime nations in the Continent that was elected into the Council  in the last Friday election in London, UK.  The loss of the IMO Seat for the sixth time may have come as a shock to the Nigerian delegation led by the NIMASA  Director General as they were optimistic of winning the election given the high level of preparations that was  that was made for the election , both giving out time and resources to Campaign for it.

Industry watchers believe that Nigeria may have  lost the election to Kenya, which is already a member of the Council because of its  established good working relationship with other member nations in the various IMO Categories:  A, B and C, to retain the Seat in the Council while allowing Nigeria to do the spending that will lead the country nowhere.

  The Industry stakeholders, who had watched the election process from the beginning to the end, believe that Nigeria had lost in the election to Kenya because of the high level of insecurity in the country. The insecurity which was informed by the activities of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of the West African Province, ISWAP, in the north east states of Borno , Yobe and the activities of the Bandits Group Court declared terrorists in the north west states of Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Katsina, Buhari home state , including the north central state of Niger, and other criminal activities in other parts of the country may have worked against Nigeria. Kenya and its friendly nations were said to have cashed on  to Campaign against Nigeria and succeed  in winning the heart of the majority 175 member countries to support its reelection bid.

Nigeria, may not have been the only country which efforts to be elected into the IMO Council was frustrated by the International Community. South Africa, Kuwait and Peru who were elected members of the Council, also suffered the same fate, but Egypt and Morrocco,two North African countries were reelected  to join Kenya, in the Council.

South Africa Loses Bid To Return To IMO Council

Kuwait and Peru, two countries from the Asian and South American Continent which had had lost their bid to return to the Council  including South African, Kuwait and Peru, were said to have been replaced by  new entrants  like Quatar and Saudi Arabia, both countries from the Middle East and Vanatu.  Quarter may have got the sympathy vote of the IMO Council members because it has spent so much money preparatory for hosting of the World Cup Fiesta next year.

Recall that in 2019, when Nigeria made attempts to regain its Seat in the 20-member Council,  but lost out, to Kenya  as Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt,  Morocco,Indonesia, Jamaica, Kwait, Malaysia, Malta , Mexico, Peru, the Phillipines, Singapore, , South Africa, Thailand and Turkey, were the  twenty countries elected.

 Indeed, most of the sitting  members of the IMO Category C, were said to have been reelected in the 2121 election. The Category A, exclusively reserved for the Asian countries  of China,  Greece, Japan , Republic  and the European Countries of  Korea and the European countries of  Norway, the Russian Federation, , and the UK including the North American country of the United States, US, and Panama, believed to have the largest  interest  in proving  International shipping services, were all retained in the Category.

The situation was the same for countries reserved  in Category B,  such asAustralia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden,  and the United Arab Emirate, UAE, believed to have  ‘’the largest  interest  in International borne trade’’ as they were retained.

The Council, as the Executive arm of the IMO, according to the UN, maritime agency sources is ‘’responsible, under the Assembly for ‘’supervising  the work of the Organisation’’. It is reported that between the sessions of the Assembly, the Council could also perform the functions of the Assembly , except that of making recommendations to the governments  on Safety and Pollution prevention’’, which are the exclusive responsibility of the Assembly.  Nigeria began making fresh moves to return to the Council in 2011 but had continuously failed.

It is instructive to note that  that the 175  member states and three Associate members of the Council,  are entitled to attend the Council’s meeting which is the IMO, highest decision making body. With the Nigeria loss of the IMO Council elections, ‘’it would again deny the country’s pivotal role of’contributing  in taking key decisions in the global maritime environment’’.

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