…OAF honours 15 winners from 2023 national Blue Economy quiz
As part of efforts to ensure the development of future maritime operators, investors and stakeholders, maritime experts explored sustainable human capital development strategies focused on primary, secondary and tertiary schools, their curriculum and the teachers.
This was the crux of the Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) 5th Educators and Maritime Stakeholders Lecture and Award and 4th Nationwide Virtual Maritime Quiz Competition held on Monday in Lagos.
Speaking at the event, a former Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu, proposed that to bridge the knowledge gap in the maritime industry among students, awareness advocacy and hosting events similar to the OAF must be prioritized.
She observed that there are already platforms for children to visit the port, even as she encouraged educators to intentionally market the industry to pupils at schools, especially with the creation of a separate Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
“If you just get to the port manager and tell them you are coming for excursion, they will receive the students and take them on a guided tour or even go onboard a vessel for nursery, primary, secondary and even tertiary students.”
“All of us are part of the government. What I have come to realise is that some people in Lagos transit on top of the third Mainland Bridge to Marina daily. Just across the marine is Apapa Port, the largest port in West Africa, yet they have no interest or awareness about the maritime sector,” Olotu remarked.
She, however, underscored the role of women groups in the maritime sector, stressing that with a united front, the groups will be able more impactful in efforts towards the betterment of the girl-child.
Olotu listed strategies to ensure girl-child participation in blue economy as skills development, mentorship, empowerment, gender response policies among others, but insisted that opportunities are earned through hard work and dedication.
“You should have the ‘I can do’ spirit, believe you can do it, give your best and you will be acknowledged and celebrated in the field,” she emphasized.
On her part, the Head of Oxbridge Tutorial College, Lekki Campus, Mrs. Charity Tony-Ubah, corroborated the idea, while suggesting that maritime awareness should be incorporated into general university curricula.
“There is a lot of work to be done, in terms of training educators and infuse the knowledge of the sector into the curriculum of schools. If we do this, I am sure the economy, children, parents will benefit from it.”
“This is a laudable event and I appreciate the organisers for this. I urge all educators here to ensure they take this back to their schools and sink this into the ears of their students,” she said.
Also speaking, Director, Revenue Department, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Odunayo Ani, encouraged students to venture into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.
Dr. Ani, who is also the Treasurer, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, equally posited that the educational curriculum should be reviewed in a way that students offer subject combinations such that when they come out, they will not be stranded in whatever field they want to pursue.
In his contribution, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Port Standing Task Team (PSTT), Mr. Moses Fadipe emphasised the importance of integrating students into the industry and moving away from the era of social isolation.
He called on the government to create a roadmap that would facilitate the inclusion of students in maritime-related activities.
“I commend Williams for this intiatives. Little did she know that when she started this eight years ago at Ehingbeti, there will be a special ministry to address issues,” Fadipe stated.
The Chariman of the occasion, Sen. Wasiu Sanni, Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transportation, urged participating students to count themselves lucky to be in the sector even though the opportunities have not been tapped, but work towards becoming professionals there.
Sanni, who was represented by Mr Akeem Adeniji, Chief of Staff to the Senator, also commended the facilitators/ organisers for the programme aimed at catching them young in the maritime industry.
Earlier, Mrs Violet Williams, President, OAF, noted that the journey had not been easy as it had always been a tough game for the girl-child.
Williams, however, stressed that there is a need for collaboration to ensure the succession plan works and to make an impact in the life of children.
The highlight of the occasion was the award of OAF Ambassador 2023 to Mrs. Sarat Braimah, Lagos Area Manager National Inland Waterways and Blue Talent Promoter to Mrs Morolake Falore, Education Director of Mind Builders School, Omole.
Fifteen winners emerged at the 2023 National Virtual Marine and Blue Economy Quiz Competition.
Miss Olasubomi Abodunrin of Corona Secondary Schools, Agbara came first, Kosisochukwu Nwobodo and Olukayode Ogunmoroti from Dowen College Lekki came second and third respectively.
While the Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Wasiu Eshinlokun was the Special Guest of Honour; Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, a former Commissioner for Education and Commerce, Lagos State, played the role of Special Guest.
During the event, the Founder of OAF, Hon. Olaitan Williams launched a maritime book for children titled: “Some Career Opportunities in the Marine and Blue Economy Workplace”.
The League of Mentors Awards were given to Capt. Tajudeen Alao Also, a master mariner and President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) ; Dr. Alban Igwe, a maritime lawyer; Mrs. Ekeoma Ezeibe, Deputy President Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers;
Others were; former General Manager at NPA, Chief Mrs. Carol Ufere; Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu (Port Administration); Mr. Moses Fadipe (Port Operations); Managing Director, Multimix Academy, Mrs. Oluchi Okafor (Supply-Chain/ Logistics); Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye (Insurance); and Mrs. Oluseyi Adejuyigbe, Managing Partner, Chaniel chambers.
Williams noted that OAF’s league of mentors was inaugurated in order to help students in the various universities to acquire more knowledge from veterans in the industry which was a missing link.