Seven months after Joshua Okpo, the substantive Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, died in Abuja, the academy has lost his successor, Engr. Anthony Isiodu, who was appointed Acting Rector shortly after Okpo’s demise.
Isiodu, who has been ill for about three months, was said to have died of a heart related disease.
“The truth is that Engr. Isiodu had been very ill. Since April, he had not been stable in the office as his health condition worsened.
“At a two-day stakeholders’ conference on the maritime industry tagged “Building a Sustainable Maritime Industry in Nigeria” organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Lagos in May, the acting rector could not participate effectively. People at the conference even begged him to leave to go and take care of his health. He was obviously very sick,” a source at the academy said.
Isiodu who was appointed Acting Rector of the Academy by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, died in the early hours of Monday at National Medical Centre, Abuja.
“The news was broke to us on Monday at the academy,” a student named Stephen, informed SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.
Ishiodu, an indigene of Imo State, was before his appointment as the Acting Rector, the Chief Lecturer and Head of Marine Engineering Department of the Academy.
Investigation revealed that he travelled to UK recently for treatment, after being granted special permit to do so by the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi.
He returned to Nigeria about two weeks ago.
Ishiodu was the first ex-cadet of the academy to have risen to the position of Rector.
Late Engr. Ishiodu was a pioneer cadet of the School of Marine Engineering. He was further trained in the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt.
He further obtained his Ph.D in the specialty of Maritime Transport from the University of Calabar, Cross River State.
He was a Staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) before joining the Academy in 2000.
Sources at the academy disclosed that the succession battle that trailed the death of Okpo before Isiodu’s appointment in acting capacity has reopened.
While it was alleged that some non-academic staff had indicated interest in the position with intense lobby on the minister, another group within the Oron community had been moving to have an indigene appointed to the position.
The interest of the second group however suffered a setback as the newly appointed Registrar is from Oron. It is being argued that Oron community of Akwa Ibom as a state cannot produce the Registrar and Rector of a Federal Government Institution as it violates the principles of Federal Character and fairness.
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