By Eguono Odjegba
STAKEHOLDERS in the maritime industry have expressed support for the leadership of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron, to explore windows of opportunities that will return the Academy on the path of growth in order to actualise its mandates.
Rector of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Commodore Duja Effedua (retd), had blamed the politicization of developmental plans, recruitment and general upgrade MAN as reasons the institution has failed to achieve focus and professionalism in the past.
The Rector made this known during the Academy’s 2018, Passing Out Parade, POP, for graduating cadets held recently at Oron.
Immediate past Managing Director of Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited, operator of Flour Mills Nigeria, Captain Mohammed Bashir, believed that much politicking has beclouded the policy direction of MAN, and tasked the federal government to return to the drawing board and come up with a professional blue print on how to reinvent and make the Academy become professional and competitive.
He said, “We have been sending Nigerians to Philippine to be trained as seafarers. When I heard, I wanted to cry. A Phillipino cannot say coffee, they pronounce the “fe” “hef”. If the leadership of NIMASA knew about the industry, he would not send Nigerian youths to go and learn to become sailors there. At our level, it is something we can do back at home. We have a nautical college in Ghana, we have one at Oron here.
“I understand there are challenges, but they are political. If government is interested they can fix the problem and quickly too. Why doesn’t the rector speak to the supervising minister to bring two or three British trainers, core maritime men to come here and teach for say two to three years and also bring up the existing qualified lecturers? That is the way to go. Put professional marine personnel at the Oron Academy and you’re good to go.
“Some of the NIMASA trainees were sent to India, after two years they come back, they have learnt nothing because if you go through the agreement content, they went there to play”, he said.
Also reacting, ship owner, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, CEO of Starz Maritime Ltd, said with the current academy leadership, there is an aggressive reconnect with its compass, while admitting that the failure of the academy can be said to be a national failure and indeed that of previous government.
He stated: “There is nothing to add to what the rector said, I think he has captured the actual bad nut holding back development. I believed he has also encapsulated his recovery plans, that is what Nigeria should looked forward to. As a professional mariner, he knows the various stations that will aid full recovery and reforms framework of which some of us here were part at the defunct IMC. Professional approach and commitment is what MAN needs to recover, and that is why I am hopeful and prayerful that the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation will continue to support the rector to achieve definite repositioning of MAN.
“When we mix professionalism with politics, we lost focus, that is where MAN unfortunately has found itself for a long time and we are all to blame. Government need to be more purposeful in ensuring that mandates are achieved and that professionalism at the leadership level is very important.”