Okon Bassey in Uyo
Hundreds of youths from the host local government area of the premier Maritime Academy of Nigeria , MAN, Oron in Akwa Ibom state Wednesday staged a protest over the appointment of a six-man Interim Management Committee (IMC) by the Federal Government for the institution.
The Oro youths, under the umbrella of Akpakip Eyo Abasie Youth Association said it was totally wrong that the Interim Management team was constituted to run the Maritime Academy for the next six months without a representative of the area in the management.
The youths, who described as biased the appointment, noted that the six-man interim management committee headed by Chief Adebayo Sarumi and Mr. Duja Effedua as the acting Rector of the academy was inaugurated September 6, 2017 by the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.
During the protest, the leader of the youths, Baron Iniekung stressed that the host community, not only rejected the six-man IMC, but also demanded that the academy be upgraded to the much expected maritime university.
Particular of their interest was that they do not want a non-indigene as rector of the academy denying capable hands from the area.
“It is very disheartening to note that as a prominent indigene of the Niger Delta, Chibuike Amaechi who should have treated us fairly and justly now turns to maltreat us and work against our collective interest as a people.
â€œWe are further surprised by the recent action of the minister which is not only unfair, unjust but unpatriotic and contrary to his earlier stated commitment to develop the academy to a world-class institution.
“We strongly view this action as a calculated attempt by the minister to strangulate the only federal institute in Oron much to the detriment of the stakeholders in the maritime subsector and the host community,â€ he said.
The academyâ€™s host community, Oron; stakeholders in maritime sector, and youth group had earlier have condemned the appointment of IMC for the maritime varsity.
They had stressed that the development appeared that there was an emergent situation in the academy, which needed to be addressed through the interim management.
The assertion was contained in a statement jointly signed by representatives of three groups: Oro Nation Patriotic Elders Forum with its chairman, Chief Effiakedoho Antai and secretary, Offong Ekpaha. Others are Forum of Non-Indigenes president, Yakubu Umar; secretary, Wale Adekunle, and director of media, Chukwuma Obiora; Concerned Youth Advocacy Group of Oro president, Mr. Joseph Attah and secretary, Mr. Anthony Uweh.
The groups, which expressed their displeasures over the newly constituted committee and the appointment of a new rector outside the academy or transport sector, demanded explanation from the federal government why it decided on such decision.
According to the statement, in January 2017, the Ministry of Transportation, constituted a 7-man ministerial committee, presided over by Chief Adebayo Sarumi with a mandated to advise the Federal Government on how best to restructure and reposition the academy for global competitiveness.
The committee having begun its sitting on January 25, 2017 reportedly submitted its reports within a few weeks and left without informing the employees, management, and stakeholders of the academy what their outcomes were.
â€œIt is time those in power stopped taking the enduring patience and peaceful dispositions of stakeholders of the academy for granted by gambling with the privileges, opportunities, integrity and corporate image of Oro people and Akwa Ibom State even in clear issues that otherwise would have attracted the least tension if fairness and justice were allowed to prevail.
â€œWe, the Oro ethnic nationality are shocked and dismayed over mischievous scheming, nepotism, politicking and highhandedness that saw the tactical humiliation of Oro people and the Acting Rector, Dr. Mkpandiok Mkpandiok, whom the stakeholders said has performed creditably since he took over, from critical management mechanism of the academy.
â€œSince the academy was established in 1977, no Akwa Ibom indigene of Oro extraction has ever been appointed a substantive rector of MAN. Those found in conditional capacities as registrars have either been made to work in the worst conditions imaginable or forced out of office prematurely by cabals who never wished Oro people well.
â€œWe also wonder how much some members of the IMC who previously have had to flee from the academy years ago on grounds of impropriety and lack of public trust will bring back to the same institution in the unfolding circumstances,â€ the statement read.
The statement appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct Amaechi to suspend the purported IMC as its composition is deemed unfair, illogical, overbearing and unilateral and allow the status quo to remain; positing that delayed is justice denied.