Maritime Academy of Nigeria has positioned for sustainable excellence- Seriki, Chairman Governing Council

Chairman Governing Council of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Mr. Ademola Serike(Middle) , to his immediate right, the Rector of the Academy, Commodore Emmanuel Effedua, with members of the Academy's Governing Council after a media chat in Lagos on Monday. 

Bearing its long –term restructuring to ensure availability of training infrastructure and human capacity building for lecturers, who train the cadets at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom, the Governing Council of the Academy and the Management Team have expressed satisfaction and confidence of what the Academy can offer in terms of global standard training of seafarers to meet industry manpower needs.
In this chat, Chairman of the Governing Council, Mr. Ademola Serike, who spoke at a news briefing in Lagos, said the Academy, under the watch of the Rector, Commodore Emmanuel Effedua(Rtd) has prepared itself with requisite resources to give the best maritime training to seafarers, who would be knowledgeable and well-equipped to take on job demands globally satisfactorily.   
The chairman spoke in-depth on issues of interest and stated how the academy plans to sustain its efforts at overall training excellence for manpower needs in the maritime industry.   

Restructuring of the Academy
Man, Oron is driven today by the management and board governing council that is passionate about marks of excellence.
The passion and empathy for the academy in terms of the cadets and nothing extra but the willingness to engage the government. Today, the academy s funded by not just government, but from quarters where they support the excellence of the academy. I just learnt now that we are being given two boats by the Nigerian Navy, to use for training. It is not just about writing in the classroom, but getting involved using the facilities such as the boats for practical learning. Now, we have simulators and the training vessels being undertaken actually resulted from the zeal we have built between the governing council and the management, so that the credit goes to the members and the rector and the management team.

How soon are the training vessels being expected?
The training vessel has been under the desire of the academy through a third party social responsibility. There is an agency known as Oil Producers Trade Sector (OPTS) and we have spoken to them, and really it is just a matter of concluding the matter with them and deliverables will just be made. It does not take a rocket science, it is just the passion.
The ministry does not have such money to give us training vessels. We had to look out as to who can provide this for us, and we have been considering all necessary areas; personally, I am talking to Mr. Tony Attah of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG), I am talking to the OPTS and they are ready to use the little they can afford to give to us. They are ready to help us. It is not government only that would survive the academy.

The ongoing capacity building programme for staff?
Global accreditation is what we know we have to step up our game for. Even, the category we are fighting for has to do with what the academy human capacity and training. The 15 teaching staff sent on training on how to handle the simulators would come back well built in the capacity for handling simulators, and more staff would go. It is part of capacity building. You cannot compare where we are today to where the academy was three years ago. We have been able to build all these. The right drive is actually growing and sustaining the academy.

How confident should it be to say there may be no need sending cadets abroad for the seatime training again?
If we have what it takes locally, in terms of infrastructure, to train the cadets, then there would be a need for that. There is no way academy would have simulators and training vessels that it cannot survive on its own. In fact, those foreign training would come as gratis, because we would be competing with our international counterparts. When I got back two years ago to the academy, my concern was the performance, because after this time, people would ask you what you achieved. I want to look back and say we were able to have training vessels and simulators because they are key in the training of the cadets for them to have rich capacity. And with that, they can be exposed to a lot of things and they would have jobs. The domino effect of it is limitless.

On seatime collaboration with local shpiowners?
Our cadets have started having sea experience with the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria(SOAN) and they spent four months. The last batch of cadets just got back on 20th December, 2019.

Review of funding?
We are due to five per cent of the gross revenue from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). As long as that is paid, there should not be a problem. Yet, no institution is fully funded by government alone in any African country. We are not where we want to be yet, that is why we are looking to possible areas of support, like the IOCs, because they are the drivers of OPTS. So, they have some soft money meant for human capacity development, so we tap into that for the support we can get. MAN, Oron has never sought such money.

Impression about the Best Maritime Training Institution Award?
The award is well appreciated. But to whom much is given, much is expected. We have been given the opportunity among the council members and the Rector who is the driver of our feat. I am a proud MAN, Oron Governing Board Chairman, and with my members we say thank you and we will not be complacent. When you are given an award, it is a challenge to step up your game. I thank the Rector for being up to the task given him and has laid a standard others would aspire to keep up with.

 Maintenance provision for the simulators?
I am sure there would be service agreement, so nothing to be afraid of regarding maintenance of the equipment.

How can these latest upgrade in the Academy support Nigeria’s quest for a council position in the IMO?
This is a segment of the IMO consideration; human capacity and training. It is not the entire evaluation to determine the category. In any case, the category is political because there are permanent members. It is just like the Security Council of the United Nations. We in Africa must step up our game so we can compete with international counterparts.

Future plans for the Academy?
The future beholds on our aspiration, which is limitless. Step by step, we have to continue. By this time next year, there would be more improvement.