Amaechi using MAN Oron to instigate hate for Buhari
Broadly speaking, and in the context of this report, Calabar represents the tribal nationality of the Calabar, Efik, Ibibio and Anang people of the South-South geo-political region. Culturally and politically, they are regarded as one people with a common ancestry, language, culture and history, embedded in a political affinity and accountability.
It is one of the various minority nations scattered about the country, but with a distinct political force, democratic character and value, and renowned for its strong social engagement. Despite its geographical smallness, Calabar has never been a push over in terms of national politics or political bargaining. They have always maintained a united voice in the demand for what is due them from the commonwealth.
Perhaps, this explains the reason the Federal Government sited the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, presently under Akwa Ibom State in 1988.Like every other thing else in the country, MAN Oron has had its fair share of the problems associated with standards and the value system more than two decades already. It has grown to the hilt of its expectation as an institution, passed through phased systemic failures under our dysfunctional state system, and can be said to have seen better days.
Above background is necessary for an understanding of the current state of affairs of the institution, as it also relates to the politics of national spread and leadership character as well indeed, politics of presidential re-election. Since the return to democratic rule in 1999, all former presidents with exception of Umaru Yar’Adua who was not permitted to complete his first term in office and hence didn’t get near to re-contest; have played the politics, giving Calabar what is rightly due to it in the spirit of political inclusiveness.
In the light of President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration to contest for re-election in 2019, let us use MAN Oron as a political experiment to test the president’s popularity and fatherly disposition to the Calabar nation and its people. Does MAN Oron have the capacity to affect Buhari’s electoral chances? Yes, to the extent that workers of the institution are entitled to electoral franchise, and to the extent that workers who are Calabar or Oron as the case may be, who feels aggrieved about the regime of threats to job security of host community indigenes, could transfer their frustrations and story of oppression to others, in such a manner as to cause a mass disinterest for the president re-election bid.
The Rector of the Academy, Commodore Duja Effedua (Rtd) has been accused of plotting to drag Oron federal constituency in Akwa Ibom State into a needless collision with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, through acts of oppression, intimidation and provocation. His accusers said the rector is implementing a bogus interim management committee (IMC) recommendation that Oron should be removed from the naming nomenclature, as a way of divesting people of the host community, state and the entire Calabar nation of future claim to the institution.
Barrister Ete Peters, Convener of Oron Youth Progressives, based in Uyo inform that the rector has already directed the Academy’s Works Department to commence the inscription of MAN on all the vehicles and sign boards, in effort to erase Oron. Similarly, the Secretary General of Oron Youth Renaissance Today, Mr. Ididiong Achibong, accused the IMC made up of the Academy Rector, of plotting to give use the people of the South West to checkmate the emergence of Oron indigenes into management level of the institution.
A statement signed by Peters claimed that the rector has directed the institution’s Works Department to remove Oron from the nomenclature by which it was established by “Decree 16 of 1988, now Act of the National Assembly CAP M3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010; with the mandate of training all levels of personnel required for effective and efficient operation of all facets of the Nigerian maritime industry.”
The groups of aggrieved village leaders and youths has appealed to President the president to prevail on Effedua and his immediate boss, the Transportation Minister, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, not to alter the nomenclature of the Academy, and not stop henceforth, attempts at provoking the Calabar people and Oro nation in particular through unguarded and insulting actions.
Achibong and Peters said the rector has also directed that all documents such as files and stationeries are so inscribed, in the bid to ensure that Oron is not reflected in the nomenclature.
Whereas there is every reason to believe that PMB mean well for the Calabar nation and will not do anything to hurt or make them feel excluded, Amaechi and his appointee, Effedua, are sparing no effort to create confusion and a negative and misleading impression that Buhari, does not care about the Calabar race, its people and supporters in general. The president’s Special Assistant on Political Affairs, Mr. is a Calabar man from Cross River State.
The Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere and the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Chief Umana Okon Umana,hails from Akwa Ibom State. They are the members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ruling party, and President Muhammadu Buhari’s ears and eyes in the state, presently still in the grip of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
There is no doubt that Buhari and the ruling APC party desire to win the state in the forth coming election in 2019. Since this desire is only possible with the vote of the people, it goes without saying that no effort will be spared in appealing to the masses of people of the state through strong and purposeful democratic deliverables, mobilization and engagements, but also, through serious political and economic alignments, political interventions, social and official communication and relationship building, patronages and alliances.
With Ekere and Umana enjoying key federal appointments, PMB has invested huge trust in the people of the state. Nevertheless, political alliances and alignments, and stronger social mobilization appear to constitute a minus. It is more pronounced with the apparent low level relationship, arising from PMB seeming lack of interest on what constitute the stake of the Akwa Ibom people at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron.
The Minister of Transportationwho is the Chairman of the Buhari Re-election Campaign Organisation, and who being from the South-South should have no problem cultivating the friendship of the people of the state, in view of Mr. President’s future political desire, has instead carelessly and boastfully continue to fence the Calaba people out, through series of state sponsored acts of oppression at MAN Oron, being the sole federal institution in Akwa Ibom State.
It goes without saying that the minister has put the president’s electoral prospect in his re-election efforts at the state in jeopardy, and no one seems to have been able to call him to order. In the last count, the rector of the academy, Effedua acting on the directive of the minister and through the kangaroo interim management committee (IMC) recommendation, is doing everything possible, albeit arbitrarily to re-christen the institution, by divesting it of ‘Oron’ the town in which the academy is situated, apparently to spite the people and state in general.
Recall that MAN Oron is an act of the National Assembly, and by changing the statute name without first repealing the law setting it up, amounts to illegality. Unfortunately, it is more of the acts of the president’s appointees like Amaechi and Effedua that has continued to attract negative image to the president, who otherwise, means very well for the entire country.
The transportation minister and his appointee at MAN Oron are erecting wall of political enmity between Oron people, being the largest federal constituency in the state, as well indeed, pushing the masses of the state to the embrace of the PDP, through their misguided actions and executive rascality.
The indigenes are angry that Amaechi also used the IMC headed by Chief Adebayo Sarumi to flush them out of the academy’s management, with appointees from the South West, presently in charge of the institution. They allege that Amaechi used the IMC to chase out an Oron man, Dr. Ante Mkpandiok, who was the Registrar and who doubled as the acting Rector, being the most senior ranking officer, following the death of the former rector, Engineer Anthony Ishiodu in July 2015.
While the committee asked all the prior management staff to proceed on compulsory leave pending a purported investigation of unnamed offences, they were all recalled, except Mkpandiok. The gulf is widening by the day as the rector is said to be carrying out the agenda of the minister to systematically cleanse the Oron people and other senior staffers from the state, out of the academy.
It is not certain that Buhari is aware of the transportation minister’s clandestine moves, to cleanse MAN of Oron indigenes, an effort said to have gained momentum. To divert attention and cover this tract, the rector is reported to have posted some indigenes who are junior officers in his office, which he intends to use to debunk the outcry of his action to divest Oron and Calabar people of their right to retain their employment and ranking at the senior management cadre.
Never before has the Academy fallen so low in terms of frustration of the indigenes of the host community, whom Amaechi is believed to have subjected to a series of horrendous oppression and suppression. Observers say the present atmosphere has a way of impacting adversely on the overall objectives of the Academy; and also as a wicked plot to show off President Buhari as antangonistic of Oron and Calabar people.
To date and within three years of President Muhammadu Buhari government, Amaechi has the singular fate of hosting four rectors of MAN, a turnover, synonymous with his peculiar political idiosyncrasy, to fatten his ego as the power that be. While two died in office under controversial circumstances, one functioned under the darkling cloud of the minister’s dubious oversight supervisory attitude up until he was forced on indefinite suspension, while the forth and the incumbent rector was foisted on the Academy, ostensibly to carry out an executive ministerial script under a purported restructuring and reposition reform agenda.
So far, repeated efforts by our reporter to get the management to react to the allegations raised above have proved abortive. The rector who replied his letter requesting for an interview appointment to clarify the issues, said he was busy. The letter signed on his behalf by the head, public relations department, Mr. Peter Netson stated the rector hopes to contact our reporter at a convenient date, nevertheless, failed to honour his pledge. After three month of waiting, our reporter sent the PRO a text message, which he failed to reply. He was called on the telephone, and he complained he didn’t know the letter our reporter was talking about, and therefore, cannot discuss with his boss.
Thereafter, our reporter called the rector on telephone on two occasions without response. Text message sent to his telephone on the allegations raised against him was also not replied, until the time of going to press. —