Mr. E. A. Adeniyi

Interview of Mr. E. A. Adeniyi

Highlights of Mr. Adeniyi’s Interview

When he joined the NNSL; his past work in the Elder Dempster Line; the role of Elder Dempster and Palm Line in the technical agreement with NNSL; how the cargo catchment flowed for NNSL such as rubber, cocoa, palm kernel; traffic mainly from the UK and mainland Europe; his stock of books on the trade; the start of the tonnage programme for 19 ships by General Obasanjo’s regime in the 1970s; the original plan was 12 ships but was changed by the military government; the controversial questions which clouded the acquisition of the new ships; the committee set up to guide the acquisition process; the rationale for new ships; the relationship with Black Star Line (BSL); how NNSL and BSL joined to fight against arbitrary freight increases; General Acheampong, Ghana’s military President working with the two lines to fight freight increase; the origins of shipping lines in West Africa; Nigerianization of the NNSL official and seafaring positions; comparison between British, Nigerian and Polish managements of NNSL mainly on account of political interference; the example of an erring NNSL captain who was set free through the intervention of his ‘protectors’; the example of his condition upon compulsory retirement from NNSL; process of leaving NNSL through the crisis of AFEA Line when NNSL rice ships were unduly delayed at Apapa; the problems of hiring other ships when cargoes exceeding the capacity of NNSL vessels had to be chartered; Elder Dempster’s exclusive operation of Sapele Jetty; his position as a senior staff of Elder Dempster; the lack of trading (gbagbati) problem in Elder Dempster ships and comparison with NNSL ships; the problems which led to the failure of NNSL, especially indiscipline and personal aggrandizement; the role of the NNSL agents in idle ports such as Warri, Sapele, or Burutu;  the first Nigerian to be employed as managing director, Chief Nelson Oyesiku and how he fared; the lectures he gave at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies Kuru Jos; his suggestions for any future venture to refloat a national carrier, precautions for the Government; revelation about how Nigeria was conned to buy a bad ship rejected by Ghana as an example of why Government should be wary of running another shipping line.