By Raymond Uweh
The first impression or cursory feeling any reader would have had from the first paragraph of Eguono’s farrago of assumptions would have been that the writer had something to say or had some firm grasp of the history of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria and the surrounding communities. But it sooner and progressively became obvious that the shadow-chasing and helplessly misguided Eguono was just a hireling engaged by saboteurs to alter facts and cast aspersions on constituted authorities, such that he could not have escaped falling victim to his folly by insolently and arrogantly flouting the principles of caution and public interest with his recent article.
It is therefore necessary we first and foremost introduce and unveil EGUONO ODJEGBA to the world as one of the dangerous unrepentant characters whose stock-in-trade has always been that of conspiring with the disgruntled and mischievous elements of his kind, within and outside the Academy, to present the Academy in bad light as one always at war with its host communities and thereby generate tension and cause distractions. Eguono Odjegba does this at a price. This is the best introduction to his questionable professional credentials. The risks he sometimes takes to gratify his pay-masters still remain a subject under serious investigation.
It is obvious that Eguono is still living in the past and therefore is not in touch with the unfolding current realities in the Academy and worse still, does not have the fare from his Lagos slum to have visited the Academy to responsibly authenticate issues through interface and factual observations. It is therefore not surprising that he read the lips of his sponsors and descended so low as to vomit in the open without any inhibition for the consequences.
The issues he formulated did not only lack substance but revealed his true personality and stock-in-trade, His statement that the Rector has been leaving in a hotel where he pays Two Hundred Thousand Naira daily since he came clearly shows that Equono is not after facts, but on despicable mission for character assassination which is punishable by law. For a fact however, Equono must be told that everybody in the Academy Community knows that the Rector lives in a house he personally rented in Uyo for the past 9 months, rent of which is due to expire on December 2018. There would have been doubts about Eguono’s source of misinformation if not that we already know his cohort of ethnic bigots and sponsors who have sworn never to see the Rector have any peace of mind or work without distractions. Surprisingly, he does not know that Commodore Duja Effedua is so focused on his core mandate and has already developed a thick skin to ward off unnecessary ranting from miscreant journalists.
Eguono also goofed and foamed in the mouth to have said that the Rector has abandoned a well-furnished residence meant for him in the Academy. It must nevertheless be placed on notice that the Rector has rather remodeled and completed the once abandoned building and allocated apartments therein to about 20 staff of the Academy. Eguono would have known and seen this if he had visited the Academy in the last one year rather than being spoon-fed with falsehood that will soon purge him.
Eguono also must be educated to understand that the culture and era of financial impropriety and wantonness had since been swept away by the refreshing tradition of transparency and accountability in the management of the Academy’s IGR and associated funds. That even the Staff of the Academy have chosen to nickname the Rector as “Mr. Integrity” gives credence to his character and administrative demeanor. So what legal matters is Eguono referring to? It is noteworthy that this is the first time in the history of the Academy that litigations have become readily scarce because of the vibrant network of diplomacy that has been put in place by the Duja Effedua-led administration..
In a chat with the Rector, he had demanded that Eguono act fast by retracting his baseless and fabricated allegations within 24 to avoid the lingering bad weather over his head. In addition, he must tender an unreserved apology to the Rector and Management of the Academy whose names he attempted to soil in his malignant concoction of lies.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that Eguono is a straying dog of no destination. It would be recalled that not long ago, the same Eguono was sponsored to write another unfounded article entitled::“AMAECHI USING MAN ORON TO INSTIGATE HATE FOR BUHARI”. He therefore must have ingratiated himself with the erroneous conclusion that he can wake and smear anybody without consequences. It never mattered to him that since he has been doing this over the years without any altruistic value, it is high time he had a rethink to engage on worthy engagements that would have impacted positively on his life.
We recall with pity how he mutilated the history of the Academy and cast aspersions on the Ibibio, Efik, Annang and Oron people in the previous ill-fated article. As if that was not enough, suffering from amnesia yet claiming to be the Historian-in-Chief for Oro Nation, he proceeded to commit yet another iniquitous crime of anachronism by stating that the Maritime Academy was established in 1988; grievously backdating that profound facet of history by ten full years. Established in 1977 (Federal Executive Council No. EC (77) 172), and first known as the Nautical College of Nigeria, the promulgation of Decree No. 16 of 1988 only facilitated expansion in scope and mandate of the institution and never reversed or nullified its year of establishment. Because Odjegba’s deliberate alteration of this fact worsens our fears about his dangerous agenda and also gives stronger proof that he is on a paid-job-mission to continue to wound the rebranded image of the Academy and the anthropology and goodwill of members of host communities.
Again, if Equono was not psychotic and disrespectfully out to ingratiate himself with odious lies and illogicality awkwardly aimed at slandering and maligning the impeccable character and lofty offices of President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the Hon. Minister for Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, he should have known the genesis, terms of preference, composition and destination of the Interim Management Committee set up by the Ministry of Transport on September 17, 2017 in statutory submission to the Presidency. Hence, he would for no reason not have stated: “The rector(sic) is implementing a bogus interim management committee (IMC) recommendation that Oro should be removed from the naming nomenclature, as a way of divesting people of the host community, state and the entire Calabar nation of future claim to the institution”.
Why is Odjegba stoking up the dead flames of ethnicity and rancor among a naturally peaceful and accommodating people of Oron and the entire Akwa Ibom State? Well, it nonetheless might help to inform Odjegba and his sponsors that it was as a result of this kind of misunderstanding and drumming of clannish interests that the Chairman of the 6-man Governing Council of the Academy, Chief Ademola Seriki, on the Council’s inaugural visit to the Academy, recommended that if the people continue to misconstrue and hammer on the word Oron as a license of ownership, even as it is at the moment, it might be expedient to downplay the locational suffix “Oron” (as in Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron), after all there is only one Maritime Academy in Nigeria, which everyone knows is located in Akwa Ibom State, just like there is Nigerian Defense Academy in Zaria and others elsewhere. The logic is that in other States across the country where there are Federal Government presences, people do not behave the way some opinion leaders in Oron have cajoled their subjects to think and behave.
It is unbelievable that Eguono in his imaginations would connect the purely academic preoccupation of the Maritime Academy with national politics and how Members of the Academy’s Host Communities are bound to determine the outcome of the 2019 Presidential election by raising one illogical question: “Does MAN Oron have the capacity to affect Buhari’s electoral chances? Yes, to the extent that workers of the institution have electoral franchise…and that workers could transfer their frustrations and story of oppression to others, in such a manner so as to cause a mass disinterest for the president re-election bid”. Can you imagine! What is Eguono’s source of data? What percentage of the Academy workers’ votes accounted for President Buhari’s victory in 2015 in a country of approximately 200million people? With Eguono’s kind of inflammable articles of invectives and disrespect to the person and office of Hon. Chubuike Rotimi, it must be admitted as a dramatic irony that he is actually the worst and declared enemy of both the APC and the President in this connection; hence, the need for relevant security agencies to be alert of his hidden motives.
Eguono expectedly also fumbled by trying to question the composition of the Management of the Academy. Why did he not mention the total number, names of the principals, their offices and states of origin to have discovered that three of the principal officers are core indigenes of the area? What then could be said to be the populist benefit of his accursed report? He then chose to deceive himself by hiding under an alibi to say that all phone calls to appropriate authorities to clarify matters proved abortive. Can a reporter of contemporary time who wants to make a mark say this on a matter of serious interest to him? Why then was he in a hurry to publish than wait until he had gathered the flipside of his doomed adventure, a circumspection that would have showcased his professionalism, objectivity and national interest? This mountain of lapses simply proves his chronic laziness, competence in beer-parlour gossip, and ingrained mischief to set fire in Maritime Academy for the sake of money.
We therefore reach this conclusion: Eguono must be a cursed pretender if he argues to the contrary that it is not people like him who have been fighting all along the years to tarnish the internationally acknowledged image of the Academy, except things were done at the personal orders and preferences of his pay-masters.
* Raymond Uweh, a Public Affairs Communicator writes from the Host Community of Maritime Academy of Nigeria.