The Vice Chancellor of Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), Prof Emmanuel Adigio, has reaffirmed commitments in tackling some of the major challenges confronting the school in the new year and solicited the patience and understanding of both staff and students in the collective efforts to build a solid institution.
Making his determination known in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun in Warri, yesterday, the VC who lamented the plights of some staff in terms of cost of transportation to work, inadequate accommodation and unpaid allowances, said all the problems are surmountable if they all join hands together to find lasting solutions to them.
While admitting that it would be insensitive on his part to claim that all is well in the institution when there are obvious challenges facing it, Prof. Adigio, however, noted that such inconveniences staff and students are currently passing through are synonymous with newly established institutions across the country.
He denied knowledge of any N3B said to have been released to the institution by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) claiming the school has no record of such funding, adding that the monitoring of funds made available to federal government establishments by the anti-graft agencies in the country has made it very difficult to divert such huge funds meant for the institution.
On the issue of some eternal forces working against the growth of the university, Prof Adigio said it was natural for some persons not to be happy with established entities including organisations and institutions as well as creatures created by God, adding that whatever forces working against the university would not succeed as light always triumphs over darkness.
According to him, ” all we crave right now is the patience and understanding of both staff and students. We quite appreciate the sacrifices and pains they have been through but the fact remains that in the shortest possible time things would change for the better and those of us who are here today will begin to enjoy it.
“A lot of the challenges we are having now would have been over and the institution would be well-positioned to meet up with some of the pressing welfare demands that most of our staff and students had to contend with in the school environment.
” We are not unmindful of the difficult terrain we are located and the stress most of our staff resident in Warri, Port Harcourt, and other parts of the country had to go through in terms of transportation to get here and even accommodation issues, as most of them cannot afford to bring their families to come and live with them where they are presently working.
“But we are equally not relenting in our collective efforts at getting all these things fixed, including that of their outstanding allowances which we are also looking into paying as soon as we are able to receive those outstanding fundings we are expecting.
“We are very optimistic that as we go into the new year, we are going to be tackling these issues that had impeded on the wellbeing of our staff and students one after the other with the support of the government, our donors and relevant stakeholders.”
On the issue of N3 billion said to have been released by NIMASA, he said; “No money was sent down here. You see, the way funds are being monitored in the country today, you cannot misappropriate funds again. If you divert any fund meant for a particular project on something else, then you are inviting trouble to yourself as the officials of the various anti-graft agencies are monitoring such funds. So if I’ve diverted such huge funds, by now they would have come after me.
“Funds were not released for allowances and now you are talking about N3 billion. If such money had been released to this institution, I think I would be most excited and am sure everybody would have been smiling by now. But as far as such fund is concerned, it was never released to us.”
On the issue of the unpaid Christmas and New Year allowances to staff, the VC stated: “Yes, I made some promises with huge expectations from the donors, especially those who had promised to give us some funds to meet up with certain obligations.
“We had in mind that from there we can pay some Christmas bonus but up till now, we have not gotten the money from them and that is why we cannot meet up with the bonus payment. But we are very optimistic that it would come and I still want to assure you that anytime we receive the funds, we are going to pay the bonus because it’s a promise we made to them.”
On the issue of powerful community indigenes not being happy with his management styles, Prof Adigio said: “It is only natural that as a human you cannot please everybody no matter how you try to do it. And this does not apply to only institutions of higher learning alone but all facets of human endeavours. So in a community like this, it is difficult to please everyone or carry everybody along.
“So I may not be categorical in telling you that everybody in the community is satisfied or pleased with the efforts we have made so far.
“However, quite a number of the community indigenes have appreciated us for the contributions we have made since I came on board as the VC. They understood our constraints and knew what we have been able to do with the limited resources at our disposal,” he noted.
Reacting to the issue of external forces working against the university, the VC stated: “Let me tell you one thing in life. I’ve come to understand that for every entity that comes to be, there will be a lot of forces that work against it. For every establishment including an institution or university, there must be forces against it.
“So since it was like that, am not going to be surprised but the assurance I will give to you is that any forces that will rise against us will be having problems.”
Continuing, he said: “I have that confidence in me that such forces will not succeed. Even you since you are born, you have forces against you right from your mother’s womb, till you were born, even while growing up the forces are still there till now that you are done with school and independent, they are still there with you.
“Note that the forces will always be there but the truth remains that they will not succeed, more so, as you are committed to doing your best in bringing about positive changes in all you do in life.
” So I won’t be surprised if we have forces working against the university but I am very optimistic that at the end of the day, we will triumph just as the light always triumphs over the forces of darkness.”
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