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Impacting on host communities through CSR: The Maritme Academy of Nigeria example

By Edet Okpo
THURSDAY, March 7, 2019, the Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua-led Management of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria situated in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, practically demonstrated its consciousness and unwavering commitment to touching the lives of members of the Host Communities of the institution through the vehicle of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR.

•Maritime Academy, Oron

On that day, the Academy donated 110 seats and desks to two secondary schools in Oron Local Government Area, the Methodist Boys High School, Oron and Mary Haney Girls Secondary School respectively, considered two of the pioneer and oldest secondary schools in Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State. Methodist Boys High School was established more than a century ago in 1905, while Mary Haney Secondary School was founded in 1947.

The donation of the items to the schools was not only commendable and historic but highly significant for the fact that they came at the most critical moment of need.

The beneficiaries disclosed that it was the first time in the history of the schools that the Academy in its more than 40-year existence has demonstrated such worthwhile gesture for the facilitation and advancement of learning.

Presenting the items to the benefitting schools on behalf of the Academy, the Rector, Commodore Duja Effedua (rtd.), said it was part of his management’s practical approach and altruistic philosophy of integrating the host communities into the Academy’s mainstream transformation and all-embracing developmental programme in areas of paramount needs that affect the greater number than single individuals in the society, within available resources and capacity.

“As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we felt we should reach out to you by our contribution to the development of this school. It is very important we support this school and the Oron community, and by extension, the government of Akwa Ibom State in the provision of quality education.   It is our desire that these young ones who are the primary beneficiaries will improve in their studies and stand qualified to join us at the Academy in the nearest future for higher opportunities”.

The Principal of the School, Mrs. Nene Esin, together with some staff and students, in her remarks expressed deep appreciation for the rare show of concern by the Academy. She said that the seats and desks could have come at no better time.  According to her: “This school has been in existence since 1905 but was handed over to Methodist Church Nigeria, Oron Diocese, in 2007 that now funds it. When I took over four months ago, I noticed that one of the greatest challenges in the school has to do with seats and desks. I was even thinking on how to go about it, but now see what you have done. I am particularly thankful that this is happening in my time as Principal. So on behalf of the Methodist Church, the Bishop of Oron Diocese, Rt. Rev. Effiong Esideke, and staff and students of the school, I say thank you very much.”

At Mary Hanney Girls Secondary School, Eyo Abasi, Oron, the Rector reiterated his position that, to the extent that resources were available, Host Communities will continue to feel the impact of the Academy through the social contract expressed in the Corporate Social Responsibility. “We are doing this because we have seen the need. We want to assure you that this is just the beginning, many more things shall be coming because it is our wish that these young ones be properly trained with basic facilities so that they one day can be part of the new culture of the Maritime Academy that is training world class professionals. Indeed, it is our delight to join you in training our young ones now by this means to be part of our greater tomorrow. Please feel free to interact with any time”. The visit to Mary Hanney eventually coincided with the occasion of her annual inter-house sports where the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Education, National President of Mary Hanney Old Girls Association worldwide and a university don, Prof. (Mrs.) A. E.O. Esu and Principal of the School, Mrs. Excel Favour Iniunam were all present.  They all expressed gratitude to the management of the Academy for the gesture.

Speaking on their behalf was the National President of the Mary Hanney Secondary School, Prof. A.E. O. Esu, who poured blessings on the Rector and Management of the Academy for their discretion. “To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time MAN is showing real interest in the growth and development of the school. This has never happened. That clearly shows that you hold education in high esteem and from your speech it is clear that you will do more in days to come. We cannot thank you enough,” she had emphasized.

She therefore pleaded with the Academy management to also intervene in other areas of need like offering scholarship carrier talks for to students, building structures like hostel and classroom blocks, seminar and other training programmes for teachers.

This was not the first time current Management of the Academy has embarked on Corporate Social Responsibility ventures. In fact, to Commodore Duja Effedua, CSR is an imperative. Months earlier, the Academy undertook grading of roads across many communities, donated drums of diesel to a general hospital in Oron Local Government Area, as well as sponsored sports and cultural programmes by the host communities. Record also showed that the Academy has deliberately involved and empowered youth from the communities and indigenous contractors in employment and contracts awards that they have requisite capacity and evidence to handle.

All this has been made possible and easier by the open door and super-cordial public relations policy that creates room for regular interface between the Academy and stakeholders in the community, including youths, students, women and organization. The Rector stressed that these life-enhancing packages shall be regular but periodic and systematically designed and extended to touch diverse needs of the communities.

In summary, what is happening in the Academy today is a direct reflection of the vision and purpose-driven template of the Rector, Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua, to make the Academy a world class institution that captures everybody’s interest for national growth.

Okpo, a Public Affairs Analyst, wrote from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State

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