MOWCA Election: Nigeria Quits Body, Citing Electoral Irregularities.
The Nigerian Government has called it quit with the Maritime 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 signed statement by Eric Ojiekwe on behalf of the delegation of the Federal Government to 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, an indication that informed it’s position to 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.
Guinea and Republic of Benin presented overaged candidates for the position of Secretary General Of MOWCA, a development that resulted in Nigeria’s petition to the General Assembly as circulated in the to the committee of expert 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 and Benin are 60 and 62 years old respectively.
The statement further reads, 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”.
It 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 leader of the Nigeria Team , 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”.
She further 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, 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 belief that under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Honourable Chibui