Akwa Ibom Ex- Councillors Task Buhari On Maritime Academy

The Association of Former Councillors of Oron Nation  (AFECO), Akwa Ibom State has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give priority attention to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, which, it claimed, has been under funded, in addition to the failure of not being accorded the status befitting a special institution.

Following its recent facility tour of MAN which it claimed to have undertook to ascertain the level of its development in the past four years under the watch of the Rector, Ambassador Joshua Okpo, the group said much is still left to be done, even as it lauded Okpo for his legacy projects and purposeful leadership, stressing that “current development has significantly raised the facility and infrastructure base of the nation’s sole maritime academy.”

Addressing journalists in Uyo after the tour, AFECO lamented that successive administrations in the past have failed to pay adequate attention to the development of the academy, thereby precluding it from offering a rounded and complete training programme, which, according to the group, has negated the primary purpose for establishing the institution, in addition to making it lag behind in regional, continental and global ranking, reckoning and capacity.

The group listed perceived under development of the academy to include non-listing of the academy by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), World Maritime University and other relevant international maritime authorities, thereby reducing its global status in both the international labour market and participation in relevant global protocols and conventions.

The forum which expressed deep confidence in the leadership of the Rector of MAN, Okpo , for taking the academy to its present level from the modest development he met on ground in 2011 upon his appointment, tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that Okpo was reappointed, to provide the needed impetus in achieving a complete repositioning of the academy towards its transition to a degree awarding institution, for global acceptance.

President of the AFECO, Hon. Okon Edet Iyohokwa (JP), said the coming of Buhari has renewed their hope for the eventual journey of MAN into its rightful place.

He said, “As former Oron councillors, we have for a very long time been concerned about the fate of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria.

As a special institution like the School of Aviation, Zaria, Petroleum Training Institute, Warri, Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna to name just a few, we had hoped for a realistic provision of adequate maritime training for the production of the needed maritime manpower”

AFECO Vice President 3, Hon. Ekpeyong Ekpo, stated, “If President Buhari can take a second look at the size of the academy’s funding, in addition to the funding history and the regime of inadequate and poor budgetary allocation hitherto, perhaps this will go a long way in correcting some of the imbalances and inadequacies.

I also think that extending the tenure of the incumbent Rector, Ambassador Joshua Okpo who with very lean resources at his disposal nevertheless thought it proper to set the academy on the right footing, will assists in boldly implementing Mr. President’s intervention initiatives.

Mr. president needs a capable, tested and reliable hand that can match executive vision and commitment to align the academy with the relevant international accord bodies.”

Also speaking, Secretary of the group, Hon. Essang Achibong, said, “We are happy and grateful to God that a man of integrity like President Muhammadu Buhari has ascended to power.

We urge him to take more than passing interest in the affairs of MAN Oron in respect of holistically repositioning the academy, and we are very hopeful that Mr. President will afford the incumbent Rector a second term appointment to enable him complete the very laudable clean-up programme and enviable developments projects he has started.” (Vanguard)
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