The greatest challenge the Rector faced on assumption of office include unavailability of core maritime professionals such as master mariners and navigators
“I am highly impressed by what has happened between the last time I visited the Academy informally and today. There have been tremendous improvements. Indeed, I am overwhelmed; I literally do not know where to begin my commendation of the man behind the success story, Commodore Duja Effedua. Besides, I have seen determination, I have seen pragmatism, and I have seen vision on the side of the leadership. The Rector has clearly shown where he wants to take the Academy to and NIMASA will surely give him all the needed support going by the pace and determination he has already demonstrated”. The above inspiring statements showered on the Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua, by the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Dakuku Peterside, truly depict an honest appraisal of the developmental strides at the Academy by the incumbent rector since he mounted the saddle.
These encomiums were poured on the Rector by the NIMASA DG during the official fact-finding mission and facility tour of the Academy on Friday, September 14, 2018. After going round, the NIMASA DG expressed satisfaction on what he saw on ground especially the renovation of dilapidated structures and completion of abandoned projects. According to Peterside, “I am personally pleased that at last, the Federal Government has found a round peg in a round hole in its quest to holistically transform and reposition the foremost maritime institution for greater benefits to Nigeria and the sub-region.”
Explaining further, the DG stated that it is high time the Academy is repositioned in terms of availability of facilities, quality of instructors and professional competency of Cadets and the maritime narrative of the country. To him, the status or functionality of the Academy should have a direct bearing on the economy of the country and that is why government cannot treat the Maritime Academy with kids-gloves.
It was his view that the importance of the maritime industry in Nigeria is directly related to the fortunes or performance of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN). That is because the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, grooms personnel for the industry. Therefore if we expected the nation’s maritime industry to be top-range, the quality of personnel produced by the Academy also must be of top range. He further contended that if we expect the quality of products from the Academy to be top range, then the quality of facility and instructors must also be at par with such expectations, implying that if we want the industry to advance with the realities of the time, we must necessarily address issues pertaining to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria.
Besides, individuals and organizations that have visited the Academy in recent times have all expressed positive shock and unsentimental appreciation to the Rector on account of the rapid and overwhelming changes in the Academy that previously was a shadow of the vision of the founding fathers largely because of poor management and inability of those in charge to interpret the grand objectives for the establishment of the foremost maritime training institution in Nigeria forty years ago.
Indeed, it is auspicious to say that the Peterside commendations and observations are confirmation of the self-evident transformation the over 40-year-old Academy has witnessed in the last one year of Commodore Effedua’s administration. His passion-for-change and purpose-driven administration have won the hearts of critical stakeholders and those who have kept pace with developments in the Academy. However, it needs be pointed out that the Rector, Commodore Effedua, had set from the outset to change the narratives of the Academy. On assumption of office, he stated that his mission was how to change entrenched wrong perceptions about the 40-year-old academy and possibly leave a legacy that stakeholders and posterity will be proud of.
It is sad for over 40 years now, the Academy is still far away from its contemporaries and even those that were founded long after it. Therefore, something urgent needs to be done to redeem the grand objective of establishing this great institution.
To achieve this, the Academy needs to produce quality products including staff, facilities and then exposure the staff appropriately to be able to compete favourably with their counterparts elsewhere in the world.
But the greatest challenge the Rector faced on assumption of office include unavailability of core maritime professionals such as master mariners and navigators; obsolete teaching aids; lack of simulators and training ship for Cadets’ sea-time; and bloated staff strength where over 70 per cent is non-teaching staff. Other challenges are incursion of local politics by members of the host communities, which have seen volumes of frivolous petitions supposedly written against the Management of the Academy; bloated population of Cadets and lack of publications or books.
As a man with Midas Touch and committed to attaining great heights attained by great institutions, the Rector and his team firstly provided leadership that could drive all policies and is implementation. Before now, pessimists had created impression that nothing can work at the school. His philosophy of having a personal belief that bad situations can be changed into a positive with the right mental attitude, determination, competence and integrity worked magic. So, he simply created an atmosphere where everyone can see as leader in your own unit.
Secondly, he devised a peculiar modus operandi by firstly overhauling the structures and policies of the Academy to achieve optimum results. This they did by enforcement of discipline, training and restraining of staff at home and abroad through workshops, reduction of staff volume through redeployment and audit of certificates.
Thirdly, the team led by Effedua engaged in an aggressive and functional and diplomatic Corporate Social Responsibility for the communities. Again, he managed judiciously the little resources and funds that accrue to the institution. Frankly funds from NIMASA to the Academy is inadequate; irregular and when it comes it takes time. But as a good manager of resources, he is frugal with it when it comes. Above all, Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua is on a mission to accomplish and launch the Academy to be among the best in the country.