Nigeria quits Martime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA) following disregard for the           Rules of Procedure           regarding     the     eligibility       of       candidates nominated   for the position of the      Secretary      General         of the organization.

This was contained in a statement by   the      delegation    of        the      Federal Republic     of            Nigeria at the 8th Bureau of Ministers and 15th General Assembly        of       MOWCA held on Thursday, July 29, 2021 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The statement reads in parts: “It           is sad, and     most   depressing    given Nigeria’s        ardent           and     consistent support for MOWCA and    its activities, that     Nigeria           as a nation            must take      a          stand against the   promotion of           illegality,        disrespect            for      the      rule     of        law      and contravention of the            Rules regarding            election         of        the      Secretary      General         of MOWCA.

This position followed the presentation for election for the position of Secretary General of over aged candidates by Guinea and the Republic of Benin, leading Nigeria to further observe: “Nigeria         draws            the     attention      of       the General Assembly     to       the     comment      of MOWCA as presented by MOWCA secretariat in           the annotated        Agenda circulated  this    week to        the     Committee  of       Experts         meeting,      which confirmed that Nigeria    is         the      only    country         that   met the         age            eligibility criteria requirement that       candidates    must  not      exceed          55 years.

The candidate nominated            by        Nigeria was  55      years  as        at when        nominations closed            in         2020  while the     candidates of Guinea        was     60 years            old and          that   of        Benin was 62           years old.”

By this, the Nigerian candidate and Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Paul Adaliku was the only eligible candidate and should have been declared unopposed.

Still expressing its displeasure, the statement continued: “The     apparent willingness        of            some  member       States            to       consider       for elections candidates  who   knowingly     contravened            the     age criteria having exceeded     the maximum         age            limit by         more  than 5 years in        the case        of        Guinea           and 7 years  by Benin,            does   not     portend         well for          the      reputation    and    operation    of            MOWCA        as        a          rule-based    organization”.

The statement further pointed out that no member States has supported MOWCA as much as Nigeria, as the records show, she has contributed over $5million in the past 10 year with the organization not employing a single Nigerian:.” It    should be noted    that    not      a            single citizen            of        Nigeria           has      ever    been employed in  MOWCA, and            that   this    is        the     first    time   that Nigeria has     contested    for     the            position         of       the     Secretary     General of the        organization           even  though          it         is        an uncontested      fact that       it         is        essentially the         contributions           of       Nigeria          that has sustained the organization    over    the      years,” it said.

Speaking at the occasion, the Nigeria Team lead of the committee of expert, Barr. (Mrs.) Mfon Usoro thanked the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Congo, HE. Amb. Omar Suleiman for “being you – always 100% committed to serving Nigeria and your fellow citizens. Your experience in the maritime sector and familiarity with the terrain of diplomacy was self-evident”.

Also speaking,  she poured encomiums on the Minister of State and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, saying “May I be permitted to express my feminist sentiments please. The HMS is a fantastic Amazon warrior, was backed by a very smart general in the person of the female Permanent Secretary. The synergy and coordination between the two great female personalities is most admirable. It is motivating and facilitates work”.

For Dr. Adaliku, the she encouraged him saying: “we appreciate your disposition throughout the mission. Be comforted that Nigeria found you a worthy candidate and harnessed the instrumentality of State to fight for you and that you were not defeated” in his remarks, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Bashir Jamoh, expressed disappointment over the election but expressed sincere belief that under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of State, Sen. Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki, “we can and will proceed with a greater resolve as we re-calibrate to focus on what was, all along, our main target – Category C elections of the IMO Council.

Of note is the fact that in the 45 years existence of the organization, for the first time, the position of the Secretary General remained vacant.

Eric Ojiekwe


August 1st, 2021