Engr Adeyinka Okunade

Click here for the Interview of Engr Adeyinka Okunade

Highlights of his interview

Born in Abeokuta; early education at Abeokuta; tertiary education at Ibadan Polytechnic, mechanical engineering; was engaged at Egba Comprehensive High School Abeokuta as a teacher of mathematics and engineering drawing; saw the advert of the NNSL vacancies in the Daily Times newspaper; applied and was taken in 1974 as a cadet; his set was taken to the UK for training; no previous acquaintance with sailors before NNSL employment and no successor in the profession, reasons; his peers and how they thoroughly enjoyed sea life, no influence of ethnicity; the working conditions of engineers and how they conducted themselves at work and play in different ports along the route; the cargoes carried; the lack of sufficient cargoes and allegations that cargoes were being mismanaged; the coming of Lt. Col. Lawan Gwadabe as the managing director and how he tried to get the National Maritime Authority (NMA) established; the activities of Nigerline UK and the campaign for Nigerians to take over its operations; how the disbandment of the UK management affected the fortunes of the company, the politics and subsequent problems; the loan of $50m that was approved by the Federal Government and how it was eventually sourced from the NMA; the nitty-gritty of how the $50m was badly managed without the problems of the company being solved; the problems that sank the Mv River Gurara, backlog of ship repairs; the Mv. River Ogbese grounding at Las Palmas and how he was appointed to go and solve the problem; the details of the maritime incidents and the face-off with Spanish authorities which led to the official sinking of the ship by the latter; the allegation of corruption levelled against him that he amassed cargoes and loaded them on an NPA tugboat that was passed through Las Palmas; the committee that was set up to investigate him; the problems caused by lack of operating capital in the decline of NNSL; his assessment of the downfall of the NNSL as mainly caused by personal aggrandizement factors; the problem of non-participation in the containerization era despite the fact that competitors were carrying cargoes and doing well in the market; how he raised his family in the UK, in Highbury; the effect of seafaring on his marriage and family life; his children’s progress in their careers; how UK Payroll helped NNSL seafarers and the controversy that later arose when the value of the Naira began to fall; how sea time was managed by seafarers and how promotion consideration motivated them to seek work hard; the allegations concerning “gbagbati” and how prevalent it was all over the operations of NNSL; a typical contract scam during the ending days of NNSL; blamed the downfall of NNSL, 80%, on the failings of the Federal Government, the abysmal lack of meaningful policies to secure Nigeria as an active maritime nation; what he did after NNSL collapse, how he was in denial for a long time; his subsequent employment with Joseph Ross, bunker suppliers based in Victoria Island; after that, he floated his own engineering maintenance company, Jackard Engineering and Services; how his skill in marine engineering offered opportunities for work in many industries; how he coped with school fees problems for his children and how they were offered scholarships, etc; employment with Iranian Shipping Line as Chief Engineer; how he handled extraneous requests for favours from Lagos headquarters when he was stationed in Hamburg; after Iranian Shipping Line employment, worked again in the UK maritime industry, with all his family based there; worked with Global Maritime UK as the leading engineer; later got a branch of Global Maritime UK  set up in Nigeria under the name of Planet Maritime in 2009 dealing in consultancy, offshore engineering, inspection, surveys, etc; the intricacies of marine warranty surveys and why they are not being done in Nigeria presently.