By Shola Fadeyi
Mrs Margaret Orakwusi, former President of NITOA
The first female President of the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA) , Mrs Margret Orakwusi has identified some of the legacies, left behind in the maritime sector, by Hassan Bello , who just retired as the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
Orakwusi ,who is also a member of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Board said, part of the legacies are the the high quality of human capacity, he built at the Shippers’ Council and the automation of the operations of the stakeholders at the seaports, which he carried out.
She made the observation , while speaking at a Roundtable organized by the League of Maritime Editors and Publishers (LOMEP), adding that Bello, apart from being of a very humble disposition , worked tirelessly to bequeath a crop of very well trained and technical personnel to the Shippers Council.
Orakwusi stated that Bello’s legacy in terms of very knowledgeable crop of staff has made the job of his successor, Honorable Emmanuel Jime well cut out for him, as he already has good personnel to drive his own agenda.
She said that though ,shipping is highly technical, but pouted out that the new Executive Secretary/ CEO of the Shippers’ Council will succeed, if he would also humble himself and seek knowledge and experience from Bello who was part of the maritime sector for over two decades.
Orakwusi disclosed that Bello’s humility made it possible for him to acquire knowledge , collaborate with people , get them to follow him and do his bidding on the job , adding that, this was exemplified in the way and manner he made the Ports to open for business during the lockdown ,occasioned by the COVID- 19 pandemic last year.
According to her, Bello’s bold step at that time, and the various measures he adopted made the Shippers’ Council as the Economic Regulator of the Seaports, to curtail the spread of the pandemic within the Port environment as well as allowed the vital COVID medication drugs and other goods to be delivered and cleared from the ports.
She said, due to the importance of automation to drive efficiency, Bello also ensured that he took measures which made it possible for stakeholders such as terminal operators, shipping companies , NPA among others to enhance the level of their operations.
Orakwusi , also a reknown maritime lawyer , and a former Chairman of the Nigerian Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) said those efforts of Hassan Bello made the level of automation of stakeholders operations at the ports to rise to an appreciable level , urging that the tempo be improved by the new management of the Council.
The Shippers’ Council Board member said this will increase the pace of cargo delivery and clearing from the and thus enhance the level of cargo dwell time at ports.
She stated that due to his rich knowledge of the maritime sector as well as his zeal for the efficiency of the ports, Bello also embarked on several initiatives which have assisted in the enhancement of port operations.
Orakwusi also spoke on other issues in the maritime sector ranging from the challenges faced by the fishing trawling sub sector, the proposed disbursement of the cabotage vessel finance fund(CVFF) and the Deep Blue Project of the Federal Government.
The President of the LOMEP , Kingsley Anaroke had earlier intimated Orakwusi that the group comprises experienced journalists who are employers of labour and who have contributed greatly to the development of the maritime sector through their reportage.
He said the LOMEP has also positively influenced the maritime sector through series of advocacy programmes adding that the latest in the series of the League’s initiatives is the Maritime Resource Centre , already incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC), and meant to promote capacity in the maritime sector.