Stakeholders of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State have rejected the new interim management committee appointed for the institution.
The Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, had announced a 6-man interim committee with Commodore Duja Effedua, as the rector to oversee its affairs.
The new rector hails from Delta State.
He is to replace Dr. Mkpandiok Ante Mkpandiok, an Oron man, who has been in acting capacity since July 2016.
The minister’s announcement has generated controversy from stakeholders, civil organisations, social commentators and members within and outside the academy’s host communities.
A press statement signed jointly by the leadership of Oron Nation Patriotic Elders Forum, Forum of Non-indigenes, and Concerned Advocacy Group of Oron expressed displeasure over the matter.
Chief Okwong Effiakedoho Antai and Offong Asukwo Ekpaha signed as chairman and secretary respectively for the Oron Nation Patriotic Front; Yakubu Umar and Wale Adekunle signed as president and secretary for the Forum of Non-indigenes while Mr. Joseph Attah and Pastor Anthony Uweh stood for Concerned Youth Advocacy Group.
The group said they would organise a mass protest to register their grievances over the appointment of the rector.
According to the statement which was released on Tuesday in Uyo, the group expressed utter shock and dismay over what it described as “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 had performed creditably well ever since he took over.”
“Since the establishment of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron in 1977, no Akwa Ibom indigene of Oro extraction has ever been appointed a substantive Rector of the Academy, and even 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 Nation well,” they further lamented.
The group wondered why some members of the IMC who previously had had to flee from the Academy years ago on grounds of impropriety and lack of public trust would be brought back to the same institution in the unfolding circumstances.
The group therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, to suspend the purported interim management committee as its composition was “deemed unfair, illogical, overbearing and unilateral”.
It resolved that the current management team of MAN, Oron, headed by Dr. Mkpandiok Mkpandiok as Acting Rector, should be allowed to midwife the transitional processes for the updating of the institution to degree awarding pending the commencement of university programmes.