By Innocent Orok
Many things have been said by many people about the new status of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron Akwa Ibom State since the resumption of duty of its current rector, Commodore Emmanuel Duja Effedua (rtd) May last year.
Effedua who took over as the substantive rector of the Nigeria’s premier and only International Maritime Organisation (IMO) recognised training institution after the exit of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) has so far hit the ground running despite the distractions and controversies.
My recent visit to the academy after barely a year reveals some infrastructural and administrative upgrade which if maintained can change the narrative of the 41 years old institution.
What I Saw at the Academy:
lnfratructural Upgrade: The Effedua administration is vastly remolding the structures of the institution’s standards as expected of a world class School .
For instance, all the wooden seats (equivalent of secondary school students study seats) hitherto used by the cadets for the past 41 years have been replaced with modern uphostry adjustable seats, such found in modern halls and conference centres.
The classroom are also powered with standards microphones, speakers, air-conditioners and standard podiums for lecturing convenience and cadets enjoyment of lectures. The classrooms are also structures to accommodate not more than 40 students.
In fact on our way to inspect the classrooms one of the elated Public Relations Staff said ( oga Orok, if you see our new classroom now, school go hungry you) .
Another milestone in upgrading the school’s infrastructure is the reconstruction of the academy’s swimming pool usually referred to as the “Survival Pool”.
The pool which has been under construction for over three decades now with more than three remolding and over five contract awards was never completed nor put to use. But now there is a total overhaul of the pool with new construction model which divides it to two separate sides
( shallow and deep) sections.
At the time of my visit in late November last year , work was on going at a very high speed. It is hope that the pool will be completed and put to use for the first time in the history of the academy.
Our facility tour also took us to the academy ‘s mini stadium building which work has also reached advance stage with tillings and fixing of immovable seats for spectators convinience .
More buildings have also been completed and furnish for use by the Effedua regime.
Of all the facilities upgraded, worthy of note is the over ten years 1000 capacity auditorium and library.
The two edifice which was constructed by the Nseyen Ebong administration over ten years ago has remained abandoned despite successful administrations attempt to finished it for use, it was not to be. But Effedua has broken the jinx as the two very important edifice is being remodeled and furnished for use.
Ourtour of the auditorium reveals an international centre with modern communication gadgets, musical facilities, speakers and other tools any modern auditorium can boast of. The seats arrangements in the hall depitchs a classical standards of international conference centre you can find around the world.
The academy’s environment remains calm with everybody going about their normal business.
My 25 Minutes with the Rector:
Since the regime of the Interim Management Committee to the full resumption of duty by the current rector, I have not visited the academy. And so it was a great opportunity to visit the school and see things for myself.
After the recently held Cadets Passing Out Parade (POP) on 2nd November last year, there was issues I wanted to clarify, as such the rector invited me over.
My meeting with Commodore Effedua, was very friendly and cordial, he explains some of the issues that took me to the school among them was why he decided organised the Passing Out Parade and Cadets Graduation Ceremony for only 2017/2018 session only, leaving out a backlog of five sets of graduans who have pass out without such ceremony.
The academy last did it’s POP in 2012, meaning five sets of Cadets have passedc out without honoring them with the Passing Out Parade.
Responding Effedua asked rhetorically, “what were the rectors of those years doing, why didn’t they do the POP for the Cadets those years, this is the question you and I should be asking them”.
He also said that since he resumed office he has been signing backlog of cadets certificates up 2007 and beyond and that there was no need to engage those cadets who were denied the opportunity of the POP as most of them have moved on in life.
On his mission at the academy, the rector said he was sent to the academy by the Federal Government to repositioned and restructure the institution and that he is doing effectively with the available resources.
On the institution’s relationship with the host communities Effedua said unlike before the youths are being engaged in the academy to do some jobs to earn their living and that he has advised the productive ones to always come to the academy and look for what they can do for themselves.
Effedua though did not disclosed how much the academy has received so far from the Federal government and the 5% capacity building fund from NIMASA, said that as at late November last year he just received sum funds and that all what he has been doing in the academy before then, he was using the funds he met on ground.