One year after elections, infighting, bitterness threatens SOAN unity
One year after the emergence of Dr MK George Onyung as President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), the ship-owners group is battling with infighting and bitterness among its rank.
The President of SOAN, Dr Onyung in an exclusively chat with the Nigerian Tribune stated that many leading members of the association never gave him a chance to emerge as president in 2019.
According to Dr Onyung, “I was told to my face to step down during our election period last year because there was already an anointed candidate slated to take over from the immediate past President, Mr Greg Ogbeifun.
“My emergence as president came as a surprise to some section of SOAN members. That was why when we signed an agreement to take some cadets from the Maritime Academy on sea time training, some members of SOAN refused to take the cadets because they never believed in the initiative.
“These SOAN members collected money paid in from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, and still rejected the cadets. It was after much intervention from me that these SOAN members returned the money.
“The outcome of last year election is still making some members of SOAN to work against the association, otherwise, how did a letter on cadet training written to me by the Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria go public?
“It is this same gang-up that led to some of us leaving the Nigerian Ship-owners Association (NISA). The same gang-up that almost killed NISA is now playing out in SOAN.
“Do you know that some of my executives who never wanted me to win election as president have done absolutely nothing in the last one year of their emergence as leaders of SOAN?
“Before we did the International Shipping Expo last year, many of these people were asking us to postpone the event, but I turned them down. Imagine if we had postponed that event, with Coronavirus issue now prevalent globally, how would we have done it this year?
“When I finish my tenure as President of SOAN, I want posterity to judge me if I did well or not. In this maritime sector, some people behave as if they were born to rule the sector. Nigeria’s maritime sector is being killed by personal interest. Once an initiative does not benefit these people, they want to kill it, why?”
Dr MK George Onyung won the SOAN presidential elections last year March, beating his nearest rival by just two votes to take over the reins of the association from Mr Greg Ogbeifun.