Dr Bashir Jamoh,Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) has at last broken his long silence over his rumoured political ambition as Governor of Kaduna State.
Dr Jamoh who was fielding questions from reporters at an interaction session with maritime journalists in Lagos said though he has a passion for the maritime industry and would want to work in it all through his life, however, said he does not foreclose joining the political bandwagon if the opportunity throws itself up.
“I love the maritime industry; I have a great passion for it and I can work in it for the rest of my life, but my people want me to serve them at the state level, I will not fail them, it would be unfair to do that so I will avail them of my services at the state.
“If they also want me to serve them at the federal level, I will also not disappoint them; I will go and serve them. So, it is not only about what I want for myself but what my people want me to do for them”, Jamoh said.
While explaining why the country could not make it to the Category-C of the Council Seat of the International Maritime Organisation, (IMO), having also failed to secure a seat in 2019, the DG attributed it the travel ban placed on Nigeria by the United Kingdom following the discovery of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in Nigeria.
The DG, who also admitted that international politics could have played a role, disclosed that the travel ban, which came about 48 hours to the election, made it impossible for the Nigerian contingent to travel for the election and could therefore not have been voted for in absentia.
He however said that the agency has commenced plans to contest the next election, which comes up in November 2023, and assured that the agency, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Transport, would do everything humanly possible to ensure that Nigeria clinches the seat next year.
Dr. Jamoh further said: “We are not completely ruling out the challenge posed by international politics, but the travel ban imposed by the UK government about two days before the departure of the Nigerian delegation to the election was the greatest single factor. Nigeria’s report on the Deep Blue Project at the IMO was good, report on security in the Gulf of Guinea was good because the rate of piracy had declined drastically in the region as reported by the International Maritime Bureau, (IMB), so we thought we were coasting home with the victory.
“But we have put that behind us, we are moving ahead and we have also identified some loopholes and we have evolved strategies to block them. Going forward, we will cultivate more bilateral relationships, attend international seminars and conferences and also advertise the progress we are making on security, ship registry and all other relevant regulatory issues on international media because no one winks in the dark.