The President Emeritus, Essu Nlap Oro of the Supreme Council of Oro Nation Youths, Lagos branch, Ulap Chris Ante, wednesday called on the youths of Oro nation and the entire Akwa Ibom State to give unflinching support to the new management of Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron under the leadership of Cmdr. Duja Effedua (rtd) and the Interim Management Committee led by Chief Adebayo Sarumi in the ongoing restructuring and repositioning of the institution.
To reinforce this support, Ante who is also the leader of the youths of the Oro nation in Lagos and the south west told THISDAY that he recently met with the aggrieved Oro youths and elders who are not comfortable with the recent developments at the school to appeal to them to support the team.
The meeting which took place over the weekend at the Akwa Ibom Community House in Lagos had in attendance over 500 youths and elders.
Reacting to one of the issues raised at the meeting, a legal practitioner in Lagos, Chief Effiong Etta, cited the recent quest by the National Assembly to upgrade the academy into a university, and queried the decision to bring a retired military officer with no requisite experience to run the academy instead of a renowned professor to transit the academy to a full fledge university.
Also, Secretary General of Ibom Professionals Forum, Lagos, Victor Ekpe, in his reaction, pointed out the purported mass sack in the academy was targeted at the Oro people.
He maintained that there is no way peace would reign in the community if this perceived hidden agenda is allowed to sail through.
Also speaking, President Oro Nation League of Professionals, Sunny Obon, harped on the necessity for the academy to partner the host communities and relevant institutions of Oro nations for the singular purpose of moving the institution forward.
Responding to all the positions canvassed at the meeting by the stakeholders, Ante gave reasons why the new rector of the academy should be supported.
According to him, contrary to the argument of non-qualification, the rector as a retired naval officer, has the required experience to run the academy going by his naval training.
He also said the new rector is an Oron man having come from the Niger Delta region and from Delta Dtate which shares common affinity and ancestral culture and tradition with the Oro people, and "by this understanding, he has promised not to succumb to any pressure or arrangement to hurt the Oro people in the course of his administration.
"On the issue of the university, Ante said the new rector is not in any way against the transition of the institution into a university as it is not within his powers to do so."
Also, on the issue of mass sack, Ante said the rector has promised never to sack Oron people as being speculated, "rather, that he would work within his power to carry out massive promotion within the academy and to rebrand the institution to measure up with the best maritime institutions in the world.
"He is such a cultured gentleman from what I perceive," Ante said, urging his people to immensely support and cooperate with the new administration by giving them the benefit of the doubt."