By Bulou Kosin
Acting Governor of Delta State, Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, indicated that Niger Delta people were on same page with President Mohammadu Buhari as they both said the actualisation of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko fulfilled a dream and vision.
They spoke as parties at the receiving and giving ends of the dream–the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko– which held its first matriculation ceremony on Saturday, at the Kurutie campus of the institution in Warri South-West local government area, Delta State.
Otuaro said “actualisation of NMU, Okerenkoko was collective aspiration of Ijaw and Niger Delta people”.
But Buhari, who spoke through the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, himself represented by Mr Edobor Iyamu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta said “NMU, Okerenkoko reflected President Buhari’s core vision to re-write story of the neglected Niger Delta”.
According to the President, “NMU, Okerenkoko is one of the strongest demonstration of commitment of my administration to developing the Niger Delta”, adding: “The new vision for the Niger Delta is to ensure that the huge resources of the Niger Delta are put to work for the good of the people of the region”.
Assuring that Niger Delta communities would enjoy other projects and continued support in the amnesty programme, Buhari said “the NMU, Okerenkoko, will be known around the world as the centre of excellence and a repository of knowledge in maritime matters”.
“For the matriculating students and the pioneer staff, I enjoin you to discharge your duties with dedication and pride and to continue to carry yourselves as excellent ambassadors of this university”, President Buhari stated.
The Acting Governor of Delta State, Otuaro, assured that the state government will give the best of support to the growth and development of the university.
Otuaro said the state government is very much concerned about the university Dockyard that is meant to be situated in Gbaramatu Kingdom. He noted that a committee headed by him has been constituted to interface with the federal government and NIMASA to ensuring that government comes forth with a decision that will be in the best interest of all critical stakeholders of the maritime university.
The acting governor enjoined the matriculating students to take their studies seriously. He advised them to concentrate their energies on their studies and shun distractions.
“To our matriculants, you are indeed a reflection of the outward working of the inward working of the mind. So, you are here to be conditioned in mind and in character when learning, so that, at the end of the day, you will become an integrated personality”.
” You are here only for one purpose. The purpose is to add value to the Nigerian society. You can only add value to humanity when you are trained. The untrained mind cannot add value and services to humanity. I enjoin you to invest sufficiently on your mind to become productive tomorrow”, Otuaro advised.
The Vice-Chancellor NMU, Engr. Prof. (Mrs) O.M.O Etebu in her address, noted that the visit of the Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo , SAN, in 2017 set the ball of NMU rolling down the path to success.
Prof. Etebu expressed thanks to the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, saying his administration through the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, who chaired the Start-Up Committee, has spared nothing to give unquantifiable support necessary through the provision of N100, 000, 000.00, two 500kva electricity generators for the smooth running of the institution at the teething stage of commencement.
The Vice-Chancellor noted that the Maritime University, being the first in Nigeria, is a specialized Maritime Undergraduate Degree Awarding Institution. She added it is conceptualized to partner society in proffering solutions to the acute shortage of Maritime Personnel in the Global Maritime Industry and is meant to have direct impact on the socio-economic life of the nation.
According to her, the maritime university is of strategic importance to the socio-economic growth of the country considering the enormous waterways, the geographic, economic and security importance attached to the waterways in Nigeria.
“We are determined to be information and technology-driven, to be service-oriented, to be on best practices and to provide world class educational facilities, training and exposure that would transform the entire fabric of maritime sector and the Nigeria society”. Prof. Etebu assured.
Prof. Etebu, who noted that the university has three faculties that consists of 38 undergraduate programmes, said the first set of matriculating cadets were students from 24 States of the federation while the second set consist of students from 28 States in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While congratulating the first matriculating cadets of NMU, Okerenkoko in the country, Prof. Etebu enjoined them to study smart in order to excel.
Saying that the cadets will forever remain NMU, Okerenkoko ambassadors, she encouraged them to “put in their best and keep the sail steadily going through the universal waterways”.
In his remarks, His Royal Majesty, King Williams Naira Ogoba, Oboro Gbaraun 11, Aketekpe, The Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, who was represented by the Fiyewei (Spokesman) of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, called on the federal government and NIMASA to urgently relocate the Maritime University Dockyard from Lagos to the community in Gbaramatu kingdom.
The royal father advised the students of the university to stop travelling at night through the water ways.
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, NMU, Okerenkoko, His Excellency, Chief Timipre Sylva, noted that the university has always shown a rapid transformation in terms of capacity and development each time the council paid a visit.
Highpoint of the ceremony was the pledge by the matriculating students from the various faculties of the university and were admitted by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Etebu. Students who made GPA of 4.50 and above were rewarded with cash prizes.
Earlier, The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who was around to inaugurate completed NMU jetty projects in Warri and Kurutie left and was represented for the rest of the matriculation ceremony by Deputy Director/Head Public Relations NIMASA, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, who assured that NIMASA will continue to do its best within the laws to give support to the maritime university.
Also, Chief (Engr.) Kessington Pondi, while congratulating the matriculants, assured them of the community’s hospitality, adding that one of the goals of the community is to see students graduate and return home to their parents safely.
Chief Pondi also stated that in order to encourage the students to study hard, a cash prize of N100,000.00 will be given to students who made GPAs of 4.9 and above while those who made GPAs from 4.5 to 4.89 will be rewarded with N50,000.00.