In most democracies of the world, especially the developing countries, political offices are traded among party faithfuls who are loyal to the causes and ideals of the party in power. Political offices are shared based on the contributions of the beneficiaries to the success of the party in power.
The party faithfuls are thus “rewarded “with such appointments as a form of compensation for their loyalty, commitment and steadfastness to the party.
However, what sets apart the developed countries from the developing ones is that, while developed climes base such appointments strictly of merit, in the developing democracies, merit is often sacrificed but are rather based on the altar of loyalty and level of contributions to the success of the ruling party with sparing exceptions.
In Nigeria, it is a common practice to reward loyalty, commitment and financial contributions of party members to the electoral victory of the elected party with political appointments.
nigeriamaritime360.com considers this practice as an acceptable norm in a political system which we feel will further strengthen the political bond between the party and the beneficiaries.
What we however frown at, is the level of frivolity to which this practice has degenerated.
We feel concerned that such compensatory appointments are often made without taking into consideration the competence, capacity and capability of the beneficiaries who often use such privilege to wreck incalculable damage on the general well being of the office held and the economy in general.
This platform has noted that, successive governments with few exceptions such as the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo (who engaged more none party faithfuls but experienced and professional technocrats), often sacrificed merit, competence and capability on the altar of political patronage.
More often than not, the duties and functions of the office of such political appointee suffer as he devotes more time to pursue his selfish political goal in a bid to consolidate on political gains.
nigeriamaritime360.com readily recalls that this scenario often plays out in the Maritime sector.
The sector, apart from being the second highest revenue earner for the country, is also the arteries of the nation’s economy.
This platform therefore, considers this sector too important and sensitive to be used as a means of political patronage to incompetent political jobbers whose indolence may endanger this blood arteries of the economy. Therefore, the headship of agencies of government in this sector such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) , Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) are too strategic to the economy of the country to be used as compensatory rewards for political loyalty.
nigeriamaritime360.com therefore, joins some stakeholders in the maritime industry who have shouted themselves hoarse on the need for government to stop using the headship of these critical and strategic maritime agencies play political chess game but rather, appoint technocrats and professionals to steer the ships of these agencies.
We however, noted that government has not heeded this call in the breach over the years.
Except the NSC which is currently headed by a thorough-bred professional of which the impact is being felt, others are headed by what the stakeholders regarded as outsiders.
The scenario playing out at NIMASA, an apex regulatory agency of the maritime industry, further accentuates the danger of playing a political chess game with a strategic maritime institution.
This platform notes that, the Director-General of the agency and hard core politician who contested and lost the 2015 Rivers state gubernatorial elections, never masked his passion and intention to pursue his political ambition ever since he took over the mantle of leadership in NIMASA, an appointment widely regarded as political compensation.
NigeriaMaritime360 notes the unending agitation among industry operators over the accusation that he spends more time out of his office than within.
The NIMASA chief lends credence to this allegation last week Friday, at a campaign rally at Opobo in Rivers State with his political god benefactor. Even though opinion on the propriety of this incident differs as some stakeholders felt his political pursuit will not hinder his performance given his high level of capability and cerebral ability, we however see this incident as a distraction from the onerous responsibility of giving the maritime administration in the country the maximum concentration it requires.
This platform thinks that the position of Director General of NIMASA is a full time job which should not be combined with political undertaking.
nigeriamaritime360.com therefore, urge the government to halt using appointments into critical government agencies with direct impact on the economy as compensation for political loyalties.
In as much as we agree that political loyalty could be rewarded, it should not be at the expense of the economic well being of Nigerians.
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