Press Release: MAN, ORON’S CHANGE AGENDA: MKPANDIOK’S 1 YEAR SCORE-CARD

 Unarguably, the “Change Begins with Me” initiative of President Mohammadu Buhari, aimed at spurring Nigerians to self-awakening in the fight against corruption and national drawbacks has evidently gained traction in the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, under the careful watch of an administrator par excellence, Dr. Mkpandiok A. Mkpandiok.

Trail-blazing is never an easy task. It involves lots of conceptualisation, planning, consultations and eventual careful execution. Since assumption of duties, Dr. M. A. Mkpandiok, who also doubles as the Registrar of the institution, has tackled the challenging responsibilities with genuine commitment to probity, transparency and accountability, while holding firm to the promotion of job satisfaction and culture of meaningful maintenance in a season of limited resources.

While the emergence of the Substantive Registrar, Dr.  Mkpandiok as the Acting Rector can best be described as circumstantial, his handling of the Academy’s Academic, Administrative and sundry issues however portray an Administrator with an in-depth and detailed knowledge of the workings of the training institution. From one Unit, Department and School to another, the present administrationhas been scored high on grounds many hitherto considered unbreakable, judging by our immediate past.

Today, the Academy can be properly considered as one of the Agencies of Government successfully driving the change process via the activities of its dynamic Management.

 

 

Harmonious Working Relationship:

Dr. M. Mkpandiok, against all odds, has been able to unite members of his Management into a cohesive Team thereby championing a common front in a renewed determination to achieve the Academy’s mandate. The Mkpandiok-led Management is committed to dotting the ‘Is’ and crossing the ‘Ts’ to ensure that the Academy becomes Nationally and Internationally recognized as a Centre of Excellence in Maritime Education and Training.

Steadily like the wheel of justice, the current administration is gaining new heights on grounds hithertoconsideredimpossible by cynics and all these, within a short period of one year.

Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, is slowly rising to prominence as the present administration has succeeded in prioritizing the institution’s necessities with their modus operandi streamlined in compliance with the International Maritime Organization’s best practices. These efforts are aimed at repositioning of the institution for regional and global academic and professional competitiveness.

The Management and Academic Board now meet regularly to attend to issues as they arise and this has fast tracked Policy implementation. This new approach, overtime, will sure put MAN Oron’s products at par with their counterparts the world over. Permit a peep into a few areas of the present Management’s operations.

 

COLABORATIONS:

The Academy is progressively taking the spotlight as more maritime experts, professionals and other stakeholders have developed keen interest, of recent, in key areas of partnership all in a bid to better the lot of the premier maritime training institution and the generality of Nigerians. To mention but a few, there is ETOPO Nigeria Limited, POSEIDON AS of Norway, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, TAMROSE Shipping, BETA Shipping amongst others.

IN ACADEMICS:

The Acting Rector of the Academy, Dr. M. A. Mkpandiok believes keying into the Change Initiative of President Mohammadu Buhari  explains why he has taken the bull by the horn in his efforts to restore the lost glory of the institution. For instance, the institution’s Full Mission Bridge Simulator, which has been moribund for years, has been fully restored and upgraded with the latest data. Also, the existing Contract for the Liquid Handling Simulator which had a lingering, controversial issue has been resolved and recently renewed by this Management.

Still in the spirit of face-lifting the Academy, Teaching Aids have been purchased for the Meteorology and Coastal Management Department.

In his renewed vigour to ensure all the sectors of the Maritime Industry are flooded with the products of MAN, Oron, and not being aversed to professionals advice, the Mkpandiok’s Administration has been instrumental to the birth of 4 new Academic Programmes in the Academy, viz: Hydrology and Water Resources Management, Oceanography and Fishery Science at ND level, Naval Architecture at HND Level and Hydrography and Dredging Technology at the PGD level respectively which will commence in the next Academic Session after due accreditation by NBTE soon.

In the past, the School of Marine Engineering had to deal with or make do with just one functional Lathe Machine, but with the coming on board of the Mkpandiok’s Management in the Academy, that scenario has been confined to the dustbin of history, as all the machines Lathe, Milling and Grinding Machines are fully functional and are being utilized during Cadets practical sessions.

Today, quality is the name of the game in the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron. The present administration has not closed its eyes to the fact that for the Academy to be able to turn out qualitative and competent Cadets, the Lecturers must be conversant with current trends in their fields of professionalism. Hence, over 60% of the Academic Staff have been sponsored to conferences and short courses at both local and international Levels.

Also worthy of mention is the accreditation of the institution’s Electrical Electronics Engineering Programme and the introduction of same at the HND level.

 

STAFF WELFARE AND CAPACITY BUILDING:

 In March this year, the Management succeeded in securing the approval of the Honourable Minister of Transportation and of the Ministry for the promotion of 378 Staff who had worked for many years without promotion. A good number of Staff who have obtained higher qualifications at the conclusion of their training have also been upgraded.

To ensure that Staff continue to be in good health, the Acting Rector has ensured that equipment which were packed unutilized are mounted and made functional for staff to use for physical exercise.

His administration has sponsored over 50% Staff on trainings like Conferences, workshops and Seminars both outside the Academy and in-house.

Worthy of mention is the sponsorship of the IMO Model Course 6.09 for Lecturers and Instructors. The train-the-trainer programme with its content aimed at producing quality Cadets, who will compete favourably with their counterparts anywhere in the world. Its other goal was to put Lecturers and Instructors in good stead to be able to raise the standard of training the Academy’s Cadets receive.

Also, Staff are sponsored at Professional Certification and at Higher Degree levels nationally and internationally.

 

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY:

Still on blazing the trail, in the area of Community Relations, Mr. Mkpandiok is bridging the gap between critical sectors of the Academy’s Host Communities, which is why the academic environment is still enjoying its relative peace conducive for learning, while even members of warring communities have continued to co-exist with one another, peacefully. Just recently, some women of the Host Community were trained in the acquisition of different skills, a feat which no administration has attained before now.

Inauguration of the Host Community Relations Committee which serves as a channel of effective communication between members of the Host Communities and the Management, but also has provided the required synergy for peace to reign in the Academy and its environs.

 

INFRASTRUCTURAL FACILITIES:

Chronicled below are some of the renovation works of the present Management all within the last 12 months:

i.       E-Library and Resource Centre Complex abandoned for more than 5 years now nearing 95% completion.

ii.    Resumption of work on the 2 One-Storey Classroom and Offices Blocks close to the Administrative Block, now nearing completion.

iii.Completion of 10 Staff Quarters which was abandoned.

iv.Ongoing Construction work at the Boat & Ship Building Maintenance Workshop at the Jetty.

v.    Ongoing Construction of permanent Cadets’ Parade Ground.

vi.The repairs and rehabilitation of all the Academy’s official vehicles which were grounded.

vii.                      Renovation and allocation of 2 Bungalows Classroom Blocks by MANCONSULTS to be utilized by the School of Maritime Transport and Business Studies Resource Centre.

viii.                   The setting up of a well-equipped gymnasium for the promotion of physical exercise and healthy living among the members of the Academy’s community (Awaiting Commissioning).

ix. Mending of broken portions of internal roads in the Academy.

 

x.    Review of the Academy’s Curriculum in conjunction with National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the MANILLA Amendments to STCW 2010 which has been overdue.

xi.The Sponsorship of Staff to National pre-critique and Critique Workshop by Management for HND Naval Architecture, Hydrography and Dredging Technology, Marine Meteorology and Coastal Management, Oceanography and Fishery Science and other Programmes of the Academy.

 

xii.                      Stabilization of the Academic System and entrenchment of sound Academic Culture as well as promoting Peace and Security in the Academy and its contiguous Host Communities.

 

TESTIMONIES:

Suffice it to say that Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron in the last one year has evidently experienced unprecedented growth under the leadership of this astute technocrat as captured in the words of the Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Rt. Hon. Mohammed Bago during a recent visit of his Committee to the Academy. He said and we note, “When we came here last year, some structures were at their various stages of dilapidation, the environment was littered with abandoned projects and facilities were outdated. We have observed with great delight that your administration has taken steps to complete some projects, renovated some buildings and upgraded facilities to enhance Cadets’ training. We will support you to achieve more for the Academy and the Nation”. When an overseeing authority gives such a remark for the benefit of all, the story has been told.

Recently, at the Acting Rector’s Doctorate Degree Award conferment (DOCTOR OF ARTS HONORIS CAUSA (D. Arts, Hons.) In Educational Management and Leadership) by the European American University which took place at the University of Lagos, Lagos some Members of the Academy’s Management seize the opportunity to extolled the virtues of the Acting Rector cum  Registrar.

The Academy’s Bursar of many years who is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Mr. Folorunsho A. Kayode has this to say about his friend of many years and I quote; “It is not how long, but how well. Dr. Mkpandiok has shown to the whole world that he can do better than many Academicians when it comes to administration matters. He is a good listener, he always takes my Advice when I advise him professionally, especially in the area of Finance Management. So I thank this Institution for fishing him out of the crowd in view of his achievements in the Academy, for this prestigious Doctorate Award.”

In the same vein, the Academy’s Director of Personnel Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Essien acknowledged thus; “Here we are today in Lagos to celebrate with the giant we may not have known. Right now, I occupy an office he left for me. For the good number of years I have been in the Academy, I have worked with different Administrators, but Dr. M. A. Mkpandiok distinguishes himself. He has the courage to lead people to quality service delivery and he also possesses good charisma  which influences his work environment positively. Just recently, a good number of Staff were sponsored to Kaduna State for a Critique Workshop and as I speak, the Academy is about having accreditation for all its Programmes. This is a feat no administration in the Academy has achieved in the past.

During his own remarks, the Head of Marine Engineering Department, Engr. Maurice Ijeoma observed, “In the past, only one Lathe Machine in the Marine Engineering Workshop was working, even the Cadets can testify to that fact. We were just managing, as efforts to get them fixed during past administrations were futile. As soon as, Dr. Mkpandiok came on board we put across to him the same request and he was swift in his response and action. Now all the machines in our workshop are functional.

There is a lot of improvement in the Department and all our Courses or Curricula have been fully reviewed in the just concluded 2 Weeks Critique Workshop organized for MAN, Oron by National Board for Technical Education officials in Kaduna State, it has never been so since I joined the Academy many years ago. Right now things are working well and point towards getting better”.

Earlier, the Director of Corporate Affairs of the Academy, Mr. Siddi E. Mkpandiok who stood in for the Acting Rector noted “This is the day The Lord has set aside to do honour to a man in our midst, and I have to, at this point in time, say that the Acting Rector, who is being honoured today, has by his committed service to his fatherland endeared the Academy to the European American University (EAU).  This has led to the establishment of a solid and reliable relationship between the Institutions. He wishes he were here to personally thank all the dignitaries who have made out time to attend this event, and remains grateful for the confidence reposed on him by this distinguished Academicians. He promises to do more towards the promotion of good standards as well as the welfare of Cadets and Staff of the Academy.

Today, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron stands out as the only Federal Government Maritime Training Institution in the Country and the only one recognised by the United Nations’ Maritime Regulatory Body, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).  He pledges to keep the flag flying by ensuring that the Academy’s mandate is effectively realized. He is also determined to ensure that the institution plays its role in the development of the nation’s maritime sector”.

The Director of Corporate Affairs also observed that the Acting Rector’s flair in Community and Media Relations  remains top grade. “He dedicates this prestigious Award to the Cadets, Students, Staff and Management of the Academy whose immense support made it all possible”.

 

CHALLENGES:

Despite enormous and seemingly insurmountable challenges, the Academy under the keen watch of Mkpandiok Mkpandiok is working tirelessly towards the realization of Cadets Sea Time Experience, where Cadets are taken on board Vessels for practical training, in order to deepen their knowledge in the Seafaring Profession. Efforts are being intensified on possible collaborations with relevant companies to admit Academy’s Cadets on board their vessel and it is expected that government policies geared towards this angle will be of immense pertinence to help clear the existing back log of Cadets in need of Sea time knowledge acquisition.

 

THE THRUST:

Despite obvious challenges that confronted successive administrations in the day-to-day running of the Academy’s affairs, Mkpandiok A. Mkpandiok remains resolute and unrelenting in his commitment to actualize the Federal Government’s blueprint and IMO’s best practices Index for the Academy.

Dr. Mkpandiok A. Mkpandiok says the thrust of his administration is to reposition the Academy to regain its lost glory, enhance the status of Cadets as well as the confidence of the maritime Stakeholders in the shortest possible time.

We also join the many voices commending to say; well done, Sir!

 

From the:

Corporate Affairs Desk

MAN, Oron.

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