Now fixing host community employment ratio — Effedua
By Eguono Odjegba
THE Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron, Commodore Duja Effedua (retd.) has disclosed that indigenes of the host community have enjoyed far more privileged employment and admission ratio in excess of lawful recommendation.
Effedua who made the clarification when officials of the Oron Union paid him a courtesy visit, said management of the Academy under his watch will continue to do everything possible within the ambit of the law to provide employment and admission openings for indigenes of the host community.
He further reeled out a list of abandoned and ill executed projects awarded to Oron indigenes, some of which he was constrained to revoke, re-award and already completed.
He described Oron people as peace loving and urged the leadership of the union not to allow criminal elements to distort the facts of the peaceful nature of the Oron clan, nor allow them meddle in the affairs of the Academy and peaceful coexistence with host community.
He assured his visitors of his readiness to partner with them to ensure that the Academy and the host community continue to co-exist in peace and harmony, stressing that no meaningful development can be achieved in any community in the absence of peace and orderliness.
He also pledged to continue to extend the Academy’s hands of fellowship in the discharge of its social responsibility to the union and the host community in its entirety, within the limits of its capability.
The delegation of the Oron Union led by its President General, Bishop Etim Ante, commended Effedua for the rapid infrastructural development of the Academy and massive corporate social responsibility efforts he has championed in favour of the Oron clan and its people since taking over the mantle of leadership of the Academy.
Ante said Effedua has demonstrated a disposition that qualifies him as an Oron son considering his strides at uplifting the Academy to a much greater height in terms of observed unprecedented improvements in manpower development, and in terms of greatly improved academic and infrastructural standards of Nigerias premier maritime institution.
His words: “Let me use this medium to warmly appreciate the many efforts you have directed towards giving Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron being the only federal presence in our domain a facelift. We are aware of the cogent disciplinary measures you have introduced to the academy which are in line with the world’s best practices for maritime schools and conventional standards for paramilitary institutions of this magnitude.
“Your laudable achievements in the provision of computer laboratories in Methodist Boys High School, Mary Hanney and Mainland Technical College are highly acknowledged. From what we have read, the gesture has greatly improved service delivery and consequently impacted on the lives of the patients.”
Responding, Effedua commended the new leadership of the union and urged them to continue to support government in its drive to put the academy on the global map as a world class maritime institution.
He said the union leadership should lead the effort is dispelling the erroneous impression that MAN was established to cater for the needs of the host community, but rather was set up to train seafarers for the maritime community.
The rector informed his visitors that over the years, Oron people had enjoyed a much higher employment quota and admission under the catchment area system as provided by the law, in MAN, noting: “It will be uncharitable for the host community to complain about efforts being made to correct the distortions.”
In a graphic presentation of employment and admission chart the rector put Akwa Ibom State in the lead with about 61 per cent, with other states of the federation combined sharing 39 per cent of the available employment in MAN.
He also indicated in his slide presentation that Akwa Ibom State topped the 2019/2020 admission chart with eight per cent, followed by Anambra, Delta Imo, Cross River and Abia states with six per cent each; Osun, Enugu, Rivers, Ebonyi and Oyo, with five per cent each; Kaduna and Edo states with four per cent each; Kano, Lagos, Niger, Kogi, Bayelsa, Gombe trailing behind with between three per cent and one per cent.
He stated: “I am showing you this graph for you to understand that Oron people have been enjoying employment opportunities far in excess of what the law says. But like I told some lawmakers, I am not going to lay anybody off. But henceforth, we will work with provisions of the law as it affects the catchment area percentage allocation.
“Oron had also benefitted hugely in contract awards, and frankly, many of the contracts have been abused. Some of them even did shoddy, poor standard jobs, and this management upon assumption of duty said enough is enough. Then they started writing petitions; they cannot intimidate me, and I can tell you that the Academy has gone beyond those days.”
Effedua warned that government will not tolerate acts of brigandage in which youths or groups of any social description will attempt to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere of the Academy, noting that the Academy is a federal territory, while the land on which MAN is situated was properly acquired for national interest.
He expressed his readiness to work and relate with Oron Union and advised the body to shun calls or temptation to meddle in the running of the academy, stressing: “Oron Union is the only group I recognise. I have over a thousand letters from different groups claiming to represent Oron. I tell them to go through your group. Urge your people to invest more in their community and develop it in the interest of the majority.
“You are the President General of Oron Union worldwide. Show interest in the Oron people’s cause at all times. We are one and together we shall overcome criminals in the system.”