As part of efforts to ensure a clear roadmap for growth in the nation’s maritime sector, industry veterans under the aegis of the Prime Maritime Project, have concluded plans to engage the Presidential candidates of all political parties in Nigeria to examine their plans for the maritime sector.
This engagement is expected to commence next Tuesday in Lagos when the Presidential candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso will be a guest of the Prime Maritime Project to tell maritime stakeholders his agenda for the maritime sector ahead of the 2023 general election.
According to the organisers of the project, the idea was borne out of the need to bring out the best candidate that can change the sad narrative of the maritime sector ahead of the new political dispensation.
During a press conference in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman of the Forum’s planning committee, Elder Asu Beks, lamented that the maritime industry has suffered neglect over the years despite being the second highest revenue earner for the nation and holding a whooping N91 trillion worth of resources and investments.
Asu Beks, who is also the Managing Director of Maritime Media Limited, said the town hall meeting was to challenge the presidential candidates to develop the maritime sector, which will therefore serve as a guide to the stakeholders on who to vote for during the forthcoming general election.
He noted that industry stakeholders including shipowners, maritime lawyers, freight forwarders and haulage operators are expected to be at the event, where they will present their demands to the presidential candidates, adding that no serious candidate will ignore the sector which has over 15 million votes.
Also speaking, Director, Administration and Communications, Prime Maritime Project, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke said the sector has faced many years of neglect despite its huge potentials, hence the need to engage the presidential candidates.
Anaroke, who is also the President of the League of Maritime Editors and Publishers (LOMEP), frowned at the non-capturing of the maritime sector as a single contributor to the nation’s economic growth by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
He asserted that this is the ideal time to enter a social contract with the presidential candidates on what they intend to achieve if voted for in the next general election.
In his remarks, Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarder (NAGAFF) who is also the Chairman of the NNPP Board Chairman, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, lauded the initiative just as he called on industry stakeholders to support the NNPP to address the challenges bedeviling the maritime sector and the country at large.
Aniebonam lamented that Nigeria is suffering from a system breakdown as the country has never been so divided like the way it is currently.