Maritime sector: Critical element to the growth, survival and prosperity of Nigeria - Kwankwanso

Bisi Akingbade

New Nigeria Peoples Party has pledged to handover maritime sector to maritime expert immediately its voted into office in 2023.
This was made known by NNPP Presidential aspirant, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso, at a townhall meeting with stakeholders :  Maritime Agenda, at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos.

His words "Your various roles in international shipping trade and transport logistics cannot be over emphasized. I am delighted to honor your invitation and to participate in this important conversation and to share with you some of my thoughts with regards to the Nigeria's maritime industry. I am optimistic that being here today and listening to this cream of stakeholders of this all-important industry will help in no small way in our efforts to tackle the challenges of the sector immediately we are voted into office in 2023.


"My being here today is out of personal conviction that the maritime sector is a critical element to the growth, survival and prosperity of Nigeria. Again, anybody who forgets his root will never go far in life. The maritime industry gave birth to our great party, the NNPP; as such I cannot disregard any invitation for whatever reason, coming from the sector."

So, my being here is largely to listen, appreciate and understand the expectations of maritime operators from me and our party should we eventually emerge winners of the 2023 general elections. Though I may not have been fully involved in maritime sector to understand its nitty-gritty but my experience over the years as a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, former Governor, former Minister of Defense and a former Senator has availed me with some basic understanding of the sector and especially some of its challenges.

"I have listened to this wonderful audience and have noted your expectations. I can tell you that I am aware of most of the challenges facing the sector presently. One of such, for instance is congestion on port access roads in Apapa. It may interest you to know that in one of my visits to Lagos sometimes ago, I was in Apapa and was stunned at the spectacle of articulated trucks lining the Ijora Bridge. To me, it was an unacceptable eyesore in a twenty-first century Nigeria. I was even made to understand that I came when things had improved. This is highly unacceptable!

He said that we rarely plan for the future. A port system originally designed for a population of less than 50 million people in the 1950s with less than 2.0 million cargo throughput has remained almost the same for more than 200 million population in 2022. When a country's population is increasing at geometric progression and port infrastructure remains static, the resultant effect is chaos. To me, that is the cause of the Ijora Bridge debacle and other issues.

Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso

"So many things have gone wrong with the industry. I can still remember the days of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) with its beautiful ships flying Nigeria's flag across the globe! Why did it die? Why do we not have a replacement as the giant of Africa? What has become of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)? Why has it not been disbursed to beneficiaries? From my little knowledge of the sector, a lot of questions are begging for answers!

It is also my desire to see that the Customs and other regulatory agencies must be made to perform efficiently and effectively. The observed high level corruption in the system has to be tackled to improve the productivity in the ports.

Again, it is worthy here to make mention of effective border checks and control to stem the tide of smuggling and its related security implications. Indeed, the entry points of Nigeria shall attract the desired attention of my administration if elected the President.

Kwankwanso pledged a desired assistance to all importers of goods, manufacturers including exporters and other ancillary stakeholders associated with port operations and management will be guaranteed under our party's regime, by the special grace of God!

NNPP Presidential aspirant said that NNPP, as a party, has its blueprint for the economy for which maritime and transport logistics are incorporated. 

"This is why I have decided to seek to be at the driving seat of this nation through the NNPP so that those expectations-a new Nigeria of our dream-can be realised.

"So really, for us, the choice in the 2023 general election is clear: A New and Better Nigeria that the NNPP is foist to put in place or the continuation of the status quo. We believe that Nigerians are tired of the status quo and are very eager to do away with both the APC and the PDP.

Senator Kwankwanso also stated that more work needs to be done therefore solicits for more support so NNPP  can emerge the winner of the 2023 general.

"I will like to request this stakeholders forum to form the nucleus of the group that will be responsible for designing a workable and actionable Maritime Sector Reform Template which should include clearance of goods arriving our ports within 72 hours as done in other countries, tackling privacy within your territorial waters and the entire Gulf of Guinea, clearing of our ports of pollution because of discharge from ships. 

"Our government will look into the position of constructing a rail line from both Apapa, and Tincan Island ports to a dry port area outside lagos where arrived goods should be domiciled for clearance in order to stop heavy trucks from causing a gridlock in Lagos. We should also look into the possibility of opening other ports such as Warri, Port harcourt, Calabar etc in order to decongest Lagos port. In addition, I can assure you that it will no longer be business as usual, under our watch maritime professionals will take charge of the maritime sector.

The Founder/Chairman, BoT of NNPP and the Spiritual Leader, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam said among the eighteen political parties, New Nigerian Peoples Party is the peoples party.

"Aniebonam said it is the time to Change approach."

"There is a system collapse in Nigeria. We need power to give a new order, a new direction."

" in our party, its a consensus, we are not out to join issues with anybody and that is why in New Nigeria Peoples Party you will not hear otherwise."

"We are here because we have a presidential candidate who does not have any baggage.  2023 mark it, it is ordained that a leader will emerged."

The Chairman, Port Consultative Council, Chairman and Moderator of the occasion, Otunba Kunle Folarin,  in his speech said NNPP "we need search and rescue mission in maritime sector because the maritime stakeholders, the Maritime domain required of being an orphan. Your Excellency please adopt us."

"Nigeria has the greatest potentials in maritime in the whole of Africa.

"What we need to do is economic, political, and social agenda of an action plan of this sector. 

" When we talk of action plan is to search where we should be and to rescue us where we are.

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