With the deep words of commendation and strong vote of confidence on the Rector of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua, by the National Assembly and Governing Council, there can be no doubt that the Maritime Academy of Nigeria is set for a new dawn.
In the last one week, the Academy has played host to two strategic and supervisory arms of government, each of which came with lofty packages aimed at reinforcing the determination of the Federal Government and fast-tracking processes towards holistically restructuring and repositioning the premier maritime training institution for global competitiveness.
On March 13, 2018, Members of the newly inaugurated Governing Council of the Academy, led by their Chairman, Chief Ademola Seriki, visited the Academy for what the Chairman described as ‘inaugural visit/facility tour and familiarization with Management Staff”. Conversely, the aim of the 5-member Governing Council comprising renowned maritime experts, technocrats and seasoned civil servants of high professional and patriotic pedigree, was to enable members see things by themselves and unveil their template of action in tandem with government’s blueprint.
A day after this, March 16, 2018, the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration also came to the Academy. The House Committee’s visit, on the other hand, could not have been said to be inaugural. According to Hon. Mohammed Bago, who led the Committee, it was its “statutory oversight and supervisory functions over the Academy that falls under its duties”. It is on record that the Committee has been visiting the Academy almost quarterly. But last week’s visit, as Hon. Bago put it was “To ascertain to what extent directives given on previous visits were complied with, what changes or new developments may have occurred since the last visit and to deliberate on prevailing issues with the Rector as well as scrutinize his program of action”.
It is also pertinent at this juncture to say that the volume of generous commendations freely poured on the Rector, Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua, by both visitors were clear indications to how proactive, capable and meticulous the Rector has been in practically interpreting the template of the Federal Government and other stakeholders for making the Academy an attractive global brand. The Rector has not only changed the hitherto dull physical outlook of the Academy but has also utilized his leadership and administrative acumen in either adjusting or overhauling some internal processes that previously hindered productivity directly or indirectly. And this cannot be surprising because Commodore Effedua was a cardinal member of the defunct Interim Management Committee that was commissioned to develop modalities upon which the Academy henceforth shall operate.
The two inspection visits in a period of one week simply conveyed the message on how committed and optimistically determined the Federal Government and Stakeholders are about transforming the Academy into a world class institution. It would be recalled that the Federal Government had last year engaged the services of an Interim Management Committee to fine-tune modalities for the needed changes the Academy required and thereafter made recommendations to the Government. It is, therefore, gladdening to see how well the Rector understands the recommendations and how soon some of the best results have started to come.
Chief Seriki, from what he saw during the visit, expressed deep satisfaction on the state of some facilities in the Academy and maintained that the institution stands a chance of becoming a global competitor if the needed changes were made in all ramifications and fast enough to let the impact felt. He, however. stressed that practical attention must be given to obsolete equipment in some highly professional departments like marine engineering workshop, nautical science and others. “We are greatly impressed by what we have seen; but I must also say that there is great need for improvement. Our intention is to leave this place better than we met it because we want to be part of the positive history of this academy. The vision of the Federal Government for this Academy is quite encouraging. However, we have a lot to do and all hand must on deck. Support must be given to all arrangements and modalities put in place towards the realization of that goal”, the Chairman maintained. He also stated that considering the level of innovation and sophistication in the global market, it was time Cadets of the Academy be exposed to the latest trends in the global space, “All we do must be in tandem with Federal Government’s template at holistic transformation of the Academy and its products for global competitiveness. It is our resolve to negotiate with the National Assembly on matters of provision of facility, funding and other relevant support for the effective running of the Academy. More really has to be done in terms of upgrading of facilities. We must be seen to be doers not talkers”, the Chairman charged.
Chief Seriki deeply appreciated the Federal Government for the measure of commitment shown to fully translate the vision of the Academy. He, therefore, unveiled the practical steps to be taken by the Governing Council. These will include effective engagement and functional partnership with maritime-related agencies and organizations in the oil and gas industry, like Mobil, NLNG, IMO, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, NIMASA, etc. Such partnership is to facilitate concrete arrangement for provision of facilities, technical services, capacity-building and engagement of qualified Cadets from the Academy. Places visited by the Governing Council members during the inspection included Marine Engineering Department; Medical Centre; Jetty and classroom blocks. Others also visited were Academic Block; Mechatronics and Autotronics Laboratory; Strength of Material Laboratory; Thermodynamics Air-conditioning/Refrigeration Laboratory; Maritime Safety Department; Basic Course Centre; Auditorium and E- library/ICT Recourse Centre. The Governing Council also inspected on-going projects in Phase 3 of the on-going projects, comprising staff quarters and hostel blocks.
Members of the House of Representatives’ Committee were also full of commendations for the Rector for the marked difference they noticed between their last visit and the current one. According to the Chairman, Mohammed Bago, it was obvious that Commodore Effedua understood the history and recurrent circumstances in the Academy and has responded to them with practical steps that pointed to a greater future. “Let me say that what we have seen today is a complete deviation from what it used to be. It is clear that deliberate steps have been taken to comply with earlier directives. On that note, I must, on behalf of my Committee, commend the Rector for the strides he has recorded in so short a time and to encourage him not to rest on his oars until the battle is won. We are very impressed with the progress so far recorded.”
Okpo is an Uyo-based Journalist and Public Affairs Commentator