The Oro ethnic nationality in Akwa Ibom State has appealed to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to appoint an indigene of the area as substantive rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron.
In a statement on Monday under the aegis of the Oro Youth Movement (ORO), they noted that the academy has had an acting rector for the past eight months after the death of the erstwhile one in August, 2016.
The statement signed by the National President of the ORO, Comrade Etifit Nkereuwem, Comrade Philip Nkonginue, secretary, and Comrade Ini Esang, director, media & publicity, said the non-recognition or confirmation of the present acting rector, Mkpandiok A. Mkpandiok, does not augur well for the well-being of the institution and their relationship with the Federal Government.
They appealed to the Acting President as an erudite scholar himself to consider the confirmation of Mkpandiok as the substantive rector as he has demonstrable experience as an academic, and would do well if given the opportunity.
According to them, we have “been in the forefront of the struggle since 1999 for the enthronement of a transparent, accountable and democratic leadership at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron – the only Federal government-owned institution in our community,” they have a stake to demand for the confirmation of the acting rector as to enable him drive the Change Agenda of the present government, and give the community sense of belonging.
They raised a number of posers for the Acting President: “Sir, we are very much disappointed by this unpatriotic action as we view it as a serious affront on the integrity, survival and the democratic rights of Oro people and therefore compel to raise the following questions;
“Does federal character principle and regional balancing, exclude the Oron ethnic nationality as an entity within the Nigerian Federation?
“Does the current acting rector of the Academy who is an Oron indigene and has put in over twenty-two (22) years of unbroken service in the Academy, not possess the requisite qualification needed to run the academy as rector?
“Is our co-operative and accommodating disposition as a people taken for granted by the Federal Ministry of Transportation?
“Assuming this institution was located in another part of Nigeria, would the Federal Government appoint and Oro person to head same, even outside the system?
“How long shall Oron people continue to wait before they have a sense of belonging in Nigeria by producing a Rector of the institution they have accommodated for forty (40) years?
“Must Oron youth take up arms against the Federal Government before their dream of having indigenous Rector be realized, as is the practice in other Federal institutions across the Country?
“Is Oro community not a part of Niger Delta region of Nigeria?”
The movement appealed to Osinbajo to not only direct the immediate implementation of the Degree-Awarding status granted the Academy since 2007 with budgetary provisions without further delay, but also to direct the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to, without further delay release all outstanding funds meant for the Academy and ensure regular remittance of funds as at when due, to facilitate the academic and infrastructural development of the institution to meet up her mandate as a world-class Maritime Training Institution.