Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has stated that all stakeholders in the affairs of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba must decide to take tough decisions in order to resposition the institution and make it more relevant in today’s world.
The Governor stated this today while declaring open a three day Education Summit on the way forward for the Institution, holding in Aba.
The Governor took time to recall the situation of the Polytechnic by the end of May 2015 when he took office. According to the Governor, there was a 2 Billion Naira loan taken by the institution when he came into office, the repayment of which took 42 Million Naira monthly from the purse of the Polytechnic. This debt service, the Governor noted, made it almost impossible for the institution to function.
“In a bid to assist the institution survive, my administration paid off the 2 Billion Naira loan to First Bank with no further conditions attached. We did this in the hope that the Polytechnic would bounce back but over the years, the problems besseting the Institution have persisted, despite the fact that the subvention due to the Polytechnic from the State Government has been paid on a regular basis”.
According to the Governor, the inability of the administration of the polytechnic to maintain stability in the academic calendar has led to a sharp decline in the students’ population leading to the financial hemorrhage.
The Governor also blamed the flagrant abuse of employment procedures in the institution as another major source of the disequilibrum in the management of the finances of the polytechnic.
He charged the new Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Kalu Osonwa to undertake drastic surgical operations in the Institution and ensure that they live within their means.
He further challenged the Rector to build a sustainable academic environment there and ensure that only qualified lecturers are hired to teach students.
He further tasked the Rector to be innovative and introduce academic programs that will respond to the yearnings and aspirations of their environment, adding that the Polytechnic should take advantage of the ever bustling and commercial environment of Aba to seek means to remain relevant.
He challenged the Rector to conduct an urgent manpower needs assessment in the Institution to identify areas where human resources are critically needed, adding that it makes no sense to have too many workers whose wages the institution cannot afford.
He charged the participants at the Summit which include the national leadership of the different workers’ unions of Polytechnics to have frank discussions on the way forward and assured that he is personally committed to the survival of the institution and that his administration will continue to provide support to the Polytechnic.
The Governor tasked the Rector to take a cue from the Abia State University which has maintained a stable academic environment for five straight years and is today ranked Number 2 in the list of State Universities in the country in terms of performance.
The Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Kalu Osonwa assured the Governor and all stakeholders of his commitment to the re-engineering of the institution and promised to look inwards and find solutions to the challenges facing the institution.
Some members of the State Executive Council, Chief of Staff to the Governor and principal officers of the Polytechnic were part of the event.
The Summit is expected to last three days and will feature presentations from different stakeholders and plenary sessions.