Nigeria’s Paul Adalikwu was Thursday elected the Secretary General of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) at the 16th Extra Ordinary Session of the organisation in Accra, Ghana.
Adalikwu who was unanimously accepted by transport ministers of MOWCA member countries will run the organisation affairs for four years from its headquarters in Abidjan.
Adalikwu in a short acceptance speech thanked the 25 MOWCA countries for the support and assured them of running the organisation in line with its rules and vision of its founding fathers.
He also pledged to mobilise all countries in West and Central Africa to maximize their maritime potentials for their individual economic growth and collective interest of all.
He said: “It is with utmost respect and emotion that I address you on my success at the just concluded election that has placed on me the onerous task of piloting the affairs of the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) in the next four years.
“I wish to most sincerely thank the Ministers of Transportation of Nigeria H. E. Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi CON for presenting and seeking the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR of Nigeria that I be presented as Nigeria’s candidature for the post of Secretary-General of a Regional Organisation that controls maritime activities in 25 Countries of the West and Central Africa sub region.
“My warmest regards to H. E. Senator Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki, Minister of State, Transportation of Nigeria. She has doggedly championed the campaign activities in her capacity as the Chairperson of Nigeria’s election Planning Committee. Senator Saraki indeed proved herself, the amazon, resolute and resilient, never giving up and never getting tired even when it appeared that the election was taking a nosedive.
“It is on record that this is the very first time in the life of the Organization that Nigeria indicated interest to contest for the exulted position of Secretary-General of the body. By your enormous support and votes, you have this day placed on me the burden and challenge of properly placing MOWCA on the pedestal of executing the mandate of its founding fathers which is anchored on effective maritime trade and marine environmental protection among members of the sub-region, Africa and the world in general.
“I do acknowledge the role of maritime trade to global economy and I pledge that within my tenure as SG-MOWCA, the region will not just be a maritime trade highway, but will witness a revolutionary turn around in trading activities, marine health and security in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) among member States leveraging on the Deep Blue maritime security infrastructure project championed by Nigeria. Africa is so highly endowed to have a positive impact on trading activities within its maritime domain and I will work very assiduously to see that we take our proper place in the global maritime space.
“In the course of the election preparations, Nigeria undertook campaign visits to you to solicit your support and votes. Thank you for having faith and standing with Nigeria even when the election was inconclusive at the 15th General Assembly held in Congo Kinshasa. The result today has made your promises to vote Nigeria, which you indeed did, a bond that we will hold in trust. Beyond the support and votes that we got, we will further call on all member States to actively come on board MOWCA, for together, we can do it.
“My sincere appreciations to my Permanent Secretary, indefatigable Dr. Magdalene Ajani for meticulously ensuring that things were done rightly and when the need to take a stand came, she did take a stand, Heads of Maritime Agencies of Nigeria, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maritime Stakeholders and members of the diplomatic corps of member States who all worked to ensure that we have this day. May I most sincerely thank the Chairman for rising up to salvage the image of the Organisation.
“My sincere commendations go to the out-going Secretary General who I will most times call upon for expert advice in the course of discharging my duties”.
Process for the MOWCA SG election which began at the 15th General Assembly in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo in July got stalemated after Nigeria, Benin Republic and Guinea presented candidates for the office.
MOWCA was established in May 1975 as the Ministerial Conference of West and Central African States on Maritime Transport (MINCONMAR), also called Charter of Abidjan.
The name was changed to MOWCA as part of reforms adopted by the General Assembly of Ministers of Transport, at an extraordinary session of the Organisation held in Abidjan the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire from 4-6 August 1999.
The Objectives of MOWCA include to serve the regional and international community for handling all maritime matters that are regional in character; cost effective shipping, pollution free marine environment and promoting safety and security in the region’s maritime domain.
MOWCA unifies 25 countries on the West and Central African shipping range (inclusive of five landlocked countries). These countries comprise 20 coastal states bordering the North and South Atlantic Ocean with 5 landlocked countries.