By Ikenna ONUOHA
In the last few months, Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo has remained in the news which is mostly in the negative.
These unabated altercations brewing in the institution has caused mouths to wag while ears are tingling making a curious mind to begin to ask, if Imopoly is a place for learning or a political party seeking to hold onto power?
The squabble is all about the alleged empowerment of some individuals suspected to have formed into Cabals to decide what happens in the school without recur to staff welfare.
There are a lot of things that people outside Imo State Polytechnic community do not know about, why… because most of the pesky interests are kept beyond the shores of an ordinary greenhorn.
Imo State Polytechnic is a school
situated at Port Harcourt road between two villages of Mgbirichi and Umuagwo communities.
In 2007 the school was proclaimed Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo.
It was formally called Michael Okpara College of Agriculture (MOCATECH). The school has had different Rectors with little or no delusion, all these were hinged on lack of selfish interest to blacklist individuals opposed to the popular demand.
The immediate past Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Wence Madu was a staff of the school in the Science Laboratory Technology Department prior to his appointment as Acting Rector in 2011.
Information has it that the appointment of Dr. Madu as Rector and in his position as a Priest helped the school to improve in every areas, as he was adjudged to be dependable, ingenuous and resolute in leadership.
Through out of the period he held sway as Rector, the sound support he got from the Registrar, Mrs. Susana Njemanze, led to the accreditation of various courses in the school.
In the area of security, the school was bedeviled with crisis among students due to cult related activities that later culminated in the loss of lives and properties.
Some of the unlucky female students are raped on daily basis without their dilemma touching management of the school. The school has also experienced loss of lives as a result of student’s involvement in road accident currently and previously.
The curbing of examination malpractices, extortion, misappropriation of funds, sexual harassment, altercations with host communities and cultism should be the major issues troubling management of the school rather than alleged rebellious plots to remove the Registrar, the Bursar and other management staff.
Why? Because individuals earlier suspended for their alleged involvement in fraud, sexual harassment and extortion among others have been let loose to torment those suspected to have had link to their ordeal.
The Igbo adage that when your enemy climbs through the ladder of power, he ensures you are thrown down at all cost is allegedly playing out at Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo.
This is quite unwholesome, disgusting and precarious to the school; especially now that the present administration is hell bent in ensuring that the entire state is rebuilt.
How could the Polytechnic be rebuilt under the atmosphere of rancor, upheaval, acrimony and viciousness? This should be the question to be answered by some individuals masquerading under a hole of cabal in the institution.
From information, former Rector of the school, Dr. Madu set up a group known as SERVICOM; this body functioned like Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) with sole responsibility of checkmating staff and students wrongdoings. This body was led by an indigene of Ohaji, Mr. B.I.B. Igbokwe, and all records showed that he discharged his duties diligently without any trace of witch hunt against anybody.
In the school bid to sanitize and rid the institution off social vices, an Anti-cultism group was formed and domiciled in the Students Affairs Department with a view to stopping cultism, sexual harassment, intimidation and other related offences.
The two groups worked so hard and succeeded in bringing calm and peace to the school. It is on the record that in the exercise of the above committee’s functions, some Lecturers were caught engaging in various offenses ranging from extortion of money from students, sexual harassment, forgery, aiding and abetting. Students caught with trace of involvement in cultism, theft and rape were expelled.
While students were expelled, some indicted staff of the polytechnic who indulged themselves in fraud were sanctioned according to the school laws. Majority of those linked to the menace served their punishment terms comfortably.
It is very horrendous and atrocious that rather than the new management of the school to consolidate on the report that indicted some of the staff, it is busy plotting the removal of those tagged enemies.
No doubt, what brings about the success of a leader is his ability to carry everyone along, but in a situation where a leader chooses his allies popularly known as “cabals” in a system that abhors segregation, collapse, infighting, doom and gloom are imminent.
The questions for the Rector to answer is that, if there are such committees set up by his predecessor that indicted both staff and students in their independent reports, those still serving their punishment should be allowed to complete it since some of the indicted victims had undergone their travails without qualms.
The Rector should look inwards and revisit issues bordering on allegations of fraud, extortion and looting wherein it was discovered that salaries of some staff were suspended over an alleged abrupt disappearance of millions belonging to the school through a one time Director of Account of the school.
If the allegation, indictment or punishment ever took place, the Rector should not hesitate to expunge such individuals from positions of authority since cases of fraud are still hanging on their necks rather than hatching plans to oust the Registrar, the Bursar and other management staff from their positions, unless the whole idea was to create room for the “looters” to continue with their illicit trade.
But if information that the Rector has cleared those found guilty of gross misconduct by various senior disciplinary committees of the polytechnic during the past administration and instead rewarded them with promotions and appointments is true, then Mr. Rector is guilty of aiding and abetting crime and should be removed immediately.
If it is true that the Rector belongs to “Club 16” where some staff earlier indicted for gross misconduct are said to be members, that means that the Rector is not fit to hold such position since it is said that “he who pays the piper dictates the tune” with the legal maxim of “nemo judex in causa sua” coming in place, no one is a judge in his cause.
It will be very difficult for the Rector to allow members of his club if it is true to be reprimanded for any offence they committed when he presides over as the deciding figure who can overrule any opposing side with a wave of hand. This is quite incredible and impossible too!
It is obvious that the bickering in the school can be handled, managed and rested by the Rector if only he can detach himself from the shackles and rumbles of suspected heavyweight “cabals” allegedly holding him to ransom.
If he does this, the vision and mission of rebuild Imo-project of Governor Emeka Ihedioha will not only be seen in Imopoly, but will go a long way in changing the perception of staff and students of the school, since Imopoly is not a political party seeking to hold onto power.