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Nigeria quits regional maritime body after candidate loses election

Nigeria on Monday announced its exit from the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA) after its candidate to the position of secretary general of the organisation failed to emerged as the choice candidate.

Nigeria delegations had expected that its candidate, Paul Adaliku, who is the director of Maritime Service at the Ministry of Transportation would have emerged the Secretary General of the organisation based on age related criteria.

However, they believed that the rules and procedures were disregarded to favour other candidates from Benin Republic and Guinea.

A statement by the Director of Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Eric Ojiekwe said Nigeria quit the organisation due to the disregard for the rules of procedure regarding the eligibility of candidates nominated for the position of its Secretary-General.

Ojiekwe said the decision was made known by the Nigerian delegation at the 8th Bureau of Ministers and 15th General Assembly of MOWCA held on July 29, 2021 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

“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,” the ministry spokesman said.

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The Nigerian delegation said their position followed the presentation for election for the position of Secretary-General of overage candidates by Guinea and the Republic of Benin.

“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 candidate of Guinea was 60 years old and that of Benin was 62 years old.”

The delegation argued that by this, the Nigerian candidate and Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Paul Adaliku, was the only eligible candidate and should have been declared unopposed.

Ojiekwe frowned at the “apparent willingness’’ of some member states to consider for elections candidates, who knowingly contravened the age criteria by more than five years in the case of Guinea and seven years by Benin.

He noted that no member states had supported MOWCA as much as Nigeria as the records showed.

“She (Nigeria) has contributed more than five million dollars in the past 10 years with the organisation not employing a single Nigerian,” the statement said.

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