Seven years after, NIMAREX still in limbo.

Seven years after, NIMAREX still in limbo.

Nigeria Ship owners have failed to revive Nigeria Maritime Exposition (NIMAREX) seven years after the last edition.

Several attempts to resuscitate the moribund expo has failed due to failure of members of the Nigeria. Shipowners Association (NISA) that gave birth to the laudable program to settle their differences.

In fact, the association which holds the franchise, having been allegedly abandoned by the core ship owners, is unable to organise the annual event.

Happy Diamond Age

In 2013, organisers had expressed hope that the Maritime industry would experience a significant leap owing to the success of the precious two editions of the expo.

NIMAREX, an annual Maritime Expo was conceived in 2011 by Indigenous ship owners to exhibit the enormous potentials in Nigeria’s Maritime domain to the outside world as well as to attract international investors.

The skepticism they greeted the birth of NIMAREX in 2011 soon faded when NISA staged the first edition under the planning committee chairmanship of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun was organized with fanfare and turned out a huge success

But seven years after the last edition in 2015, the expo has gone moribund.

In 2018, NISA hinted of plans to revive the expo four years after its artificial death.

NISA Secretary-General, Tunji Brown gave the indication at a roundtable with members of the association in Lagos.

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He has attributed inability to oragnise it to lack of funds. He added that the expo could not be overlooked because of its impetus for industry growth and investment opportunities

His words, “We need to see how we can raise funds to be able to drive the visions of NIMAREX. We need to revive and sustain NIMAREX because that was the only avenue where we expressed our challenges and disclosed out views on issues to the Maritime sector. So, we need to continue to drive NIMAREX.”

A lot of people have severally alleged unresolved infighting among members of NISA as the bane of the highly celebrated expo.

They also blamed the demise of NISA on infighting between the pioneer president, Chief Isaac Jolapamo and hai successor, Capt. Niyi Labinjo who emerged after the former as president of NISA

Ogbeifun as the chairman of the maiden edition said, “The objective of the expo is to bring out where we were as a maritime nation, where we are and where we possibly can go.

“Every year, Nigerians troop out to attend exhibitions and conferences in different parts of the world- Singapore, Malaysia, USA and other places where people travel out to attend maritime expo.

“In the last 50 years, this country’s maritime sector has come of age. We felt that it was time we showcased our own accomplishments in the maritime industry which is quite successful and that is why the idea of having the expo in order to bring out the indigenous achievements both individually and corporately”.

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Engr Ogbeifun also added that NIMAREX is needed because “government itself has achieved quite a lot during this period by establishing appropriate Acts and laws to encourage the indigenous maritime group. We felt that it was time this thing is showcased”.

It was with such enthusiasm that engineered the invitation of ex-interim president of Nigeria, Chief Ernest Shonekan to the first edition of NIMAREX.

Sadly, today, it is about seven years that the last edition of the expo was held with no glimpse of hope for its resuscitation anytime soon.

The second edition was chaired by former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon. The third edition had become so popular that it attracted the attention of former president Olusegun Obasanjo who presided over it.

The fourth edition was chaired by former military President, General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida who sent in Brigadier General Raji Rasaki to represent him.

The demise of NIMAREX cannot be alienated from the misunderstanding, disintegration of NISA.

The beginning of the end of the expo started when the first chairman, Engr. Ogbeifun and one of the arrowheads of NIMAREX, Ms Funmi Folorunsho were allegedly schemed out.

After their exit, the once famous expo began the journey into oblivion ostensibly because all had stopped being well with the parent body, NISA

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Ambition, tribals sentiment, infiltration by non shi owners are among some of the factors that disintegrated NISA leading to birth of another group, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) under the leadership of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun.

The group which claims to hold the franchise of NIMAREX has been incapable to resuscitating it. It became a tall dream for them.

Worse still, government agencies which sink funds into the expo annually has list interest due to division among the shipping business moguls.

NIMAREX was strangled by the same people that birthed it owing to lack of sincerity if purpose, bickering, internal wrangling, among others.

Within the five years that the expo held, it had started exposing Nigerian Maritime to the world for investment potentials.

At least, the annual foreign exchange lost to attending expos in future countries as stated by Engr Ogbeifun reduced significantly within the period.

The monetary worth or value it added to the industry cannot be immediately quantifies but it had the potential of earning foreign exchange for the country over time

But today, NIMAREX has been thrashed after several failed attempts to revive it.

Will there be NIMAREX again?

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