…As Sambo is hailed for CVFF disbursement approval
By Ray Ugochukwu
There was an outpouring of emotions in Lagos yesterday as friends, colleagues and associates of late Otunba Kunle Folarin gathered to pay their tribute in a Maritime Colloquium organised in his honour.
It was a gathering of who-is-who in the country’s maritime industry, who trooped out in their numbers to pay their last respect to the sage, showering encomiums on his selfless lifestyle.
Cpt Ihenacho addressing the audience
The highpoint of the one-day event, held at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, was the announcement by the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, that some of the agency’s newly acquired vessels would be named after the late shipping icon.
Jamoh, described late Folarin as a maritime encyclopedia who was willing and ready at any time to help the sector irrespective of the situation.
“When I heard that Otunba Folarin, whom I saw a few days earlier, had passed on, I couldn’t hold myself. Folarin was such a selfless man who never bothered about acquiring wealth. He was a fulfilled man.
Anishere making her presentation
“Each time there was an issue in the industry, Otunba would rush down from wherever he was, to my office, to proffer solutions. We’ll really miss him”, Jamoh regretted.
He added, “Let me announce that we have acquired some new vessels that would be arriving before the end of February and some of them will be named after Otunba Folarin”.
The announcement, which was greeted with a loud ovation, was hailed by participants as one of the best ways to honour a man who put his all to the growth and development of the maritime industry.
In his remark, the Chairman of the event, put together by Otunba’s media friends, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho, described Folarin as a core professional, polished, dignified and a well-learned man who he had known for over 50 years.
The former Minister of the Interior and a bigtime player in the sector, noted that Folarin had left a big shoe that would take time for the industry stakeholders to fit in.
“I commend the maritime media for recognising his position and his role in the industry via this event being held in his honour,” he said.
To Dr Chris Asoluka, a maritime economist and an oil and gas technocrat, “Late Folarin wasn’t there for the money but to give support to the shipping industry,”
For the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi, Folarin was an asset to the industry whose contributions would be greatly missed.
Ship owner and President of the Ship Owners’ Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr Mkgeorge Onyung, saw late Folarin as a book man and resourceful personality.
“Otunba Folarin was a great man and the industry is going to miss him a lot. He was a book man and he will be greatly missed. There is need for an annual event in his memorial,” he said.
Hajia Bola Muse (r) with other participants
The theme of the Colloquium was “Ensuring Effective Disbursement of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund”, a topic ably delivered by Mrs Jean Chiazor Anishere, SAN and maritime lawyer.
In his goodwill message, Mr Adeleye Ajayi, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, said aside from immortalising Folarin, his works should be compiled into a book for present and future maritime professionals to tap from.
“Folarin left indelible marks in the Port Consultative Council, Seafarers Welfare Board and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)”, Ajayi said.
Meanwhile, participants at the Colloquium highly commended the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, for his courage in being able to secure approval for the CVFF disbursement.
Dr Asoluka summed it up thus: “The minister has shown an uncanny courage to deliver what his predecessors couldn’t do”.
Earlier, one of the event’s organisers, Mr Sesan Onileimo, had explained that they decided to host the colloquium in honour of someone, who interacted beautifully with the maritime media.
“From the youngest to the older journalists, we were all beneficiaries of Otunba Kunle Folarin’s wisdom.
Onileimo added, “CVFF disbursement is one of the key issues at the moment in the industry and one that touched the heart of Otunba when he was alive and that is why we decided to focus this colloquium on”, he added.