The Federal Government has been urged to wade into the mounting tension Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron in Akwa Ibom State over Administrative reshuffles carried out at the institution.
The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi had on September 6, 2017 in Abuja inaugurated a six-man Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the running of the Academy.
Besides the Interim Management Committee, the Minister also appointed Commodore Duja Effedua, a Delta State indigene, as Rector for the Academy to replace the acting Rector, Dr. Mkpandiok Ante Mkpandiok, who hails from Oron, Akwa Ibom State and had acted in that capacity since July, 2016.
Since the appointment of the new administration, tension is mounting in the Academy as the development is generating controversy, ill-feelings and tension amongst stakeholders and members of the Academy’s host communities.
For peace to be achieved in the school, President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to direct the Minister of Transportation to suspend the “purported” Interim Management Committee as its composition is unfair, illogical, overbearing and unilateral and allow the status quo to remain.
Stakeholders under different groups yesterday held a joint press conference in Oron local government area of the state and described the recent appointment of the administrators of the institution as political.
Among the groups that attended the briefing were the Oron Nation Patriotic Elders Forum, led by Chief Okwong Effiakedoho Antai and Offong Asukwo Ekpaha as Chairman and secretary respectively; Forum of Non-indigenes, led by Yakubu Umar as President, Wale Adekunle as Secretary and Chukwuma Obiora as Director of Media.
Others that at the forum were Concerned Youth Advocacy Group of Oron, led by its President, Mr. Joseph Attah and Pastor Anthony Uweh as Secretary.
The protesters expressed their displeasure over the development and asked for immediate intervention of the presidency to avert crisis in the premier Academy.
They warned that the enduring patience and peaceful dispositions of stakeholders of the Academy should not be taken for granted, stressing that Oro person and by extension Akwa Ibom indigene deserves the port-folio as Rector of the Academy at this time for justice and peace to prevail.
They expressed shock and dismay over what it described as “mischievous scheming, nepotism, politicking and highhandedness that saw the tactical humiliation of the acting Rector, Dr. Mkpandiok Mkpandiok.
The stakeholders described Mkpandiok administration as very creditably having addressed critical management issues as well as other grievances facing the general development of the school.
They expressed regret that since the establishment of MAN, Oron in 1977, no Akwa Ibom indigene of Oro extraction had ever been appointed a substantive Rector of the Academy.
Worst still, it was observed that even those found in conditional capacities as Registrars had either been made to work in the worst conditions imaginable or forced out of office prematurely by cabals who never wished Oro Nation well