By Godwin Oritse
STAKEHOLDERS within and outside the maritime sector have described the ministerial committee set up to reposition the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron, by Transportation Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as wasteful, self-serving and diversionary.
The stakeholders, who unanimously agreed that what MAN needs is adequate funding and right leadership, faulted alleged inclusion of a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, as a member of the committee, saying he had nothing to contribute to the academy.
They expressed shock and dismay that, rather than put together forward looking and credible people for the purpose of nation building, the present administration is busy lining up retired people who did nothing to promote and support the industry and particularly, the academy, when they had the chance.
Although the Transportation Ministry declined to confirm the authenticity of the committee, the story had been trending online that the Minister appointed a 78-year-old man chairman of the committee.
Speaking on the development, maritime journalist, Elder Asu Beks, dismissed the committee as “club of job seekers. Just look at the composition for a start, people who should be enjoying their retirement, people who were in position of authority but did nothing to advance the cause of MAN. Are these the people Amaechi is bringing to reposition MAN?
Secondly, MAN has just one major problem and that is funding and the bottlenecks associated with the release of the funds.”
Another maritime commentator and Lagos- based businessman, Mr. Ari Ayuba, said: “I read the news online and people have been talking about it. I didn’t see it advertised in the newspaper. But if it is true, the committee membership is disappointing. Why the emphasis on the assemblage of retired people? Can the minister point out one or two things the NPA under the said man undertook to develop the academy?”
Mr. Udom Uduak, an Uyo based former youth leader said, “I always say the reason the academy is unable to fulfill its objectives is because government officials prefer to trade with the place. For them, the training of cadets and marine engineers at the academy is secondary.”