By Innocent Orok
President Bola Tinubu has thrown his weight behind Dr Paul Adalikwu, Secretary General, Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) with a fresh directive that the planned investigation and recall of Adalikwu initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation be stopped immediately.
In a letter signed by the President’s Chief of Staff, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Tinubu said the plan by the Federal Ministry of Transportation in August to recall the MOWCA, SG is inappropriate as the organisation’s scribe has ceased to be an employee of Nigeria and only subjected to rules of the organisation he is serving until the expiration of his tenure.
President Tinubu described Dr Adalikwu as an international public servant who has ceased to be an employee of the Federal Government of Nigeria and therefore should not be subjected to the country’s Public Service Rules.
The letter which was sighted by our reporter in Abuja, dated December 15, 2023 was copied to the Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA); Honorable Minister of Transportation, Nigeria; Honorable Minister, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Minister of Transport, Republic of Congo and Chairman of MOWCA at the organization’s Headquarters, Abidjan; and Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
Tinubu said “Dr. Adalikwu cannot be subjected to or come under the disciplinary control of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Disciplinary control and administrative processes against him can only be exercised in line with the rules of MOWCA. Neither can our public service rules apply to him while in the service of the organisation. He can therefore not be recalled and replaced by Nigeria unless he has committed crimes of such gravity or serious misconduct that threatens the national security of the country that sponsored him for election to the position of Secretary General of MOWCA. Thus the request for his recall and withdrawal in the circumstances described in the report is inappropriate and should be discountenanced.
“In light of the foregoing and after due consideration, the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy is hereby directed to stop forthwith any process or move to recall and withdraw Dr. Adalikwu until he concludes his tenure” part of the letter read.
It may be recalled that in August 2023, Dr Magadalene Ajani, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation had appointed Mrs. Nneka Ogochukwu Obianyor, the Deputy Director of Reforms Coordination at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), as the new Secretary General of MOWCA to replace Adalikwu.
The nomination and planned replacement had failed as it was at variance with the MOWCA rules of procedure which provides for election of the Secretary General and clearly expreses the conferment of nomination powers, in case of a vacuum in the office on the Chairman of the Bureau of Ministers of the organisation.
President Tinubu’s intervention and written communication seems to have put the six months speculation and perceived uncertainty, as to who is Nigeria’s nominee for the position to rest.