MAN Oron: The Rector, Mandate And Scorecard
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Usually, when expectations and performances in given national assignments are tied to certain material urgency and often emphasized with beautiful catch phrase such as ‘with military precision’, the cliché often ends up an abstract, rarely evolving into a purposeful conclusion and the existential living form the one giving the admonition or else, the one accepting the urgency of the assignment, often push forward as order or pledge.
Suffice to say that above official acts are mere relics of tortuous habits drilled into our stewardship system over time and nurtured by our elaborate false sense of public service; which stares at us mockingly from all spheres of national assignment.
We are sadly reminded of the tragedy of the exemplary exception of Dr. Dora Akunyile’s assignment when attempts were made on her life and the decision to move her elsewhere; and of course the sad story of the relapse of criminality in the food and drug administration control.
Perhaps the next national assignment after that of NAFDAC that has been approached with the utmost fidelity of honest stewardship has been that of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, in Akwa Ibom State.
And after MAN, the dynamic leadership of the Ports Standing Task Team (PSTT) saddled with the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM), Moses Fadipe, who has brought purpose, seriousness, focus and selflessness into a national assignment.
But we shall return to PSTT in subsequent edition, today, let us focus on MAN Oron, established over 40 years ago as the Nautical College of Nigeria, to train middle level manpower for the nation’s budding maritime and shipping industry.
Due to noticeable administrative and infrastructural decline over the years, the federal government observed that the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) needed a complete system overhaul to be able to reconnect with its mission and hence also be able to fulfill its mandate.
Thus the Federal Government on September6th, 2017 appointed Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua (Rtd) as Rector, to lead the restructuring and repositioning of MAN, also simply known as the Academy.
Coming from an unsoiled military background with a solid cognate experience as a gentleman officer, it did not take much time for Effedua to prove that he is a man of impeccable character and industry, and whose stewardship credentials and patriotic disposition in the pursuit of the national development is unwavering.
In a record twelve months, he has laid the restructuring foundation and commenced the implementation and actualization of the rebirth of the Academy; and by the end of his third year in office, Effedua has successfully turned around the fortune of the nation’s premier maritime institution and developed it to be at par with global counterparts and rubbing shoulders with other maritime academies the world over, in terms of its functional system and competitiveness.
As of today, the Academy boasts of cutting-edge educational facilities for real-life training and virtual practicals, with a prepared and serene learning environment, replete with qualified instructors/lecturers, a standard Library, smart classrooms with standard number of students, fitted with all the essential teaching tools and facilities, and with a fully equipped ICT Resource Centre to go with.
Amongst the equipments are classrooms training projectors, four state-of-the-art Simulators: the Multi-functional Classroom, the Full Mission Engine Room, Full Mission Bridge and the Ocular Vision Simulators; enhanced with functional air conditioners.
The Academy also parades a standard survival training centre with four Survival Training Pools for practical training on survival techniques at Sea. As such the Academy has been discharging its duties as a centre of training and has been able to train personnel of the oil and gas, and the aviation industry on emergency exit onboard ship and aircraft in the event of accidents and or crash landing on the sea.
Perhaps in the absence of a training ship, the Academy’s unique selling point is the revived and well equipped Jetty, where Cadets/Students have the opportunity of having some level of real life sea experience with the launching of the Survival Capsule at the water front, recently.
The Academy awards National Diploma and Higher National Diploma Certificates in Marine Engineering, Nautical Science, Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Maritime Transport and Business Studies and Maritime Transport and Business Management.
Also on offer at the Academy in compliance with the requirements of the STCW 2010 are a wide range of Professional/Mandatory Short Courses, Simulator-based Courses, Specialised Seafarers Training Course and Youth Empowerment Courses for the development of manpower for the maritime and allied Industries.
With the introduction of an enhanced course files and Curriculum Review championed by the present administration to update the various trainings offered by the institution to meet the current training requirements in the industry, the Academy has introduced two additional Courses [STCW Ship Security Officer (SSO) and Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO)] to its list of training programmes.
In view of the installation of the four Simulators (Multi-Functional Classroom, the Full Mission Engine Room, Full Mission Bridge and the Ocular Vision Simulators) as aforementioned, twelve Simulator-based courses have been developed and introduced since January 19th, 2023.
It will be recalled that the curriculum was reviewed in collaboration with notable national and international bodies like the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), REFAST Consulting Company, Ghana; National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) and other relevant professional bodies.
The transformation of the transport, engineering and marine training laboratories, the medical centre for health related issues, students and cadets hostels has their restaurants and the improved quality of feeding since did not escaped Effedua’s the attention.
Nothing does, the campus transport shuttle system, staff quarters, security of lives and property, the beautiful ambience of the school environment and its lush greenness and sprawling architectural blueness leaves one with an unspeakable aura of splendor and fantasy one sees in fairy land. Situating his performances is often a difficult task in terms of audit compendium because he would have raised the stake before you have the opportunity to visit again.
While it is instructive to note that the present management led by Effedua is also working towards securing an additional certification (OPITO) for the institution, it has since graduated its first batch trainees of the newly approved simulator-based courses.
In the past, whereas it was difficult for the Academy to retain industry experts as tutors/instructors because of the regime of poor remuneration, the Academy Rector in his pursuit to achieve global competitiveness left no stone unturned in addressing that obvious deficit.
With the approval of the then Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Academy has been able to source and retain a number of expatriate instructors and lecturers and this has in no small measure boosted the capacity efficiency of the institution and image in the area of the effective delivery of its mandate.
The Rector has also ensured all staff at different levels undergo various training required for their effective service delivery. The evidence is that the Academy now parades a set of competent workforce to handle the task of training seafarers and other middle level maritime and allied industry manpower.
Even the most malevolent critic will agree that the Academy has transformed exponentially under Effedua’s watch into a world-class institution, and one to be beaten by other regional and continental maritime academies. A former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Ferdinand Agu who was on a visit to MAN said, “I must say that visiting the Academy has been the most fulfilling part of my visit to Akwa Ibom. I have witnessed what I regard as the most transformed institution in the history of our maritime sector. The positive change in the maritime academy of Nigeria is mind boggling.
“I salute the Rector and the excellent people who have supported him to achieve this level of excellence. I have visited several Maritime Academies within and outside Africa. The quality of equipment, the facilities, the ambience of the learning environment are things you rarely come across anywhere.”
The President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), Captain Tajudeen Alao couldn’t agree less. “As a Master Mariner I have officially visited at least nine Maritime Academies around the World including the US Merchant Marine, Long Island, the Regional Maritime University in Ghana, Norway, and Singapore, I can attest to the fact that Maritime Academy of Nigeria is now an Academy to reckon with.
“I have also interacted with some of the HND students and seen how knowledgeable they are. The Instructors are simply great and they all have access to modern training facilities. Permit me to say, with all due respect, there is absolutely no basis to send Cadets abroad because Nigeria now has an Academy of international repute that we all can be proud of”, he said.
Also making similar sentiments on the transformation of the Academy, the Chairman of Starz Marine and Engineering Limited, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun said, “As a seasoned Mariner who has travelled to nations all over the world, I have seen various Maritime Academies and Universities but I have never seen anything like this. I am also aware that beyond the external infrastructural development, this Academy has the most ultra-modern varieties of Simulators, well equipped Classrooms, Chart Rooms and Laboratories. This institution can be said to be the best Maritime Academy anywhere in the world.
Equally extolling the Rector’s performances, another maritime authority and the President of Chartered Institute of Logistics, (CILT) Mrs. Mfom Usoro said, “The Maritime Academy of Nigeria is a great institution, if she could produce great men and women who have excelled in their chosen professions when the facilities were moribund, then the present Cadets have no excuse to fail given the exceptional state of the facilities that they are trained with.
With the available cutting-edge educational facilities and competent human resources, the Academy is thus well positioned to train manpower for both the maritime sector and the Oil and Gas while earning foreign exchange and contributing to our economic and revenue needs.”
The Secretary General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), His Excellency, Mr. Michael W. Lodge, during his visit to the Academy said “I want to say that the standard of training offered here is quite impressive. It is a pointer to the fact that Nigeria is building a competent skilled workforce to take up careers in the maritime industry”, he said.
Also, one would recall the glowing comments paid by the immediate past Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Administration, Education and Safety, Hon. Lynda Ikpaezu, during her Committee’s working visit to the Academy, “The Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Commodore Effedua has worked committedly and has achieved standards comparable to what obtains globally.”
So enamoured by the miracle of the Academy’s turnaround, she said “As a committee, it is our conviction that, when making appointments in the future, we are going to ensure competence trumps political consideration.”