On Friday, November 2nd 2018, the maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron, graduated first set of cadets after the federal government set up an interim commitee to restructure the academy. YUSUF BABALOLA writes.
The maritime academy of Nigeria, Oron is the first nautical college in Nigeria. The school when established in the 70’s produced the first and golden generation of seafarers in the country.
At that time, the academy was ranked one of the best in Africa because the cadets produced from the college could compete favourably with their peers in the world.
But, at a point in the history of the academy, the institution lost focus and stated losing relevance among its contemporary both in Africa and the world.
Then, Nigeria cadets could no longer compete favourably with its peers in the world. They also couldn’t meet up the global standard set by the Global Maritime body, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other international organisations because they are half baked and uncompetitive.
The class rooms also became over-crowded and Staff employed based on nepotism instead of merit thus affecting the output of the cadets.
Bothered by the falling standard and the academy penchant of producing half baked graduates who roamed the street for seating, dilapidated and over streched infrastructure, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi set up an Interim Management Commitee headed by a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Adebayo Sarunmi to reposition, restructure and overhaul the academy and make it a formidable institution to recon with in Africa and world at large.
The Interim Management Committee (IMC) set up by the Federal Government joined hands with the Rector, Comdr. Duja Emmanuel Effedua (Rtd) who is also a Member of the IMC, to develop modalities for the restructuring and repositioning of the Academy.
However, upon setting up of the IMC, the first point of calls was the reduction in the number of students admitted into the academy, provision of functional simulation centre, building of standard classrooms equipped with recent learning facilities and renovation of the already dilapidated hostels and staff right seizing.
The restructuring done by the IMC is evident in the POP conducted recently by the academy, where a total of 613 cadets graduated from the academy for the 2017/2018 academic session.
Of that number, 36 passed with distinction, 199 bagged upper credit, 269 graduated with lower credit, and 109 had pass.
The academy which almost got Nigeria delisted from the IMO white list because of its decay and rot had its first POP in six years.
Also, as part of the restructuring, the academy would admit only 248 cadets into the institution in the 2018/2019 academic session.
The rector confirmed that 160 cadets would be admitted for the Higher National Diploma (HND), while 88 would go for National Diploma (ND).
Admission for the 2017/2018 academic session was earlier put on hold due to restructuring and to create conducive environment for cadets to study.
According to the rector, the new intakes’ admission will be based purely on merit.
He recalled that “we used to admit between 1,200 and 2000 cadets per stream. That won’t happen anymore. In our next admission, we are taking only 88 cadets for the National Diploma level and about 160 for the Higher National Diploma level.
“Gone are those days when cadets are admitted based on affiliations to somebody up there, and at the end of the day, what the academy produces is quantity and not quality.
“It is important the academy manages what it can handle.”
Speaking at the POP, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi justified the setting up of the committee to restructure the academy for greater efficiency.
The Minister who was represented by the Director of Maritime Service in the Ministry of Transportation, Alhaji Galadanchi, “The approval of Mr. President was obtained to set up a Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) which was constituted on 6th of September 2017.
The IMC was to restructure and reposition the academy for a period of six months.
“A substantive Rector with professional sea time training, maritime administration, training and experience was then appointed to drive the position of the Federal Government in the academy.
“Our gathering here today to witness the passing out parade of the graduands of this academy six years after such was ever held is a significant evidence of restructuring and repositioning of the academy for good.
“It also shows that the focus of the new management of the maritime academy is on projects and programmes that will realise high quality maritime education, training and sponsoring of inter-agency partnership that will enhance the maritime industry in Nigeria.
“The Federal Government will continue to provide able support to realise the objectives of the salvation of the maritime academy; however, the need for support from the maritime industry stakeholders towards the success of the academy cannot be overemphasised.
“I am therefore calling on ship-owner’s, oil and gas companies, shipping companies, port operators and all other relevant stakeholders to rise to the challenges of the academy, especially that of providing ships for sea time training of the cadets.”
Though, according to the rector, driving the change at the academy met stiff resistance from the host community but, he promised to be steadfast until a world-class academy is achieved.
Effedua also warned youths of the area not to emulate those he described as “misguided human beings”, adding that the laws of the land would take care of such elements.
“The country has laws and orders which clearly spell out punishment for all offenders; It is abnormal for people to act as if the country has no law.”
He condemned a situation where people walked into the academy to cause trouble, reminding such people that the institution would deploy federal might to deal with them.
“If you do that, it is trespass. I have said it, it is going to be an eye for an eye henceforth. Anybody, under any union or youth leadership, that decides to cause trouble, I will arrest him, if he is within the premises of the academy.
“I will charge him to court, and pursue the case to a logical conclusion. If he is outside, I will leave him to the Police and Department of State Service to deal with him.
“I promise I will not cheat you. I will not fight you because that is not my mission here. I will love you and I want you to show me the same love that I will show to you.
“If you have problems, come and let us discuss it. Don’t follow those who will misguide you for small money, “he advised.