Corruption: The Abia State Polytechnic Scenario

Abia State Polytechnic School Environment
By Emenike Emmanuel

Most times we take our time complaining about different levels of corruption at different sectors of our country Nigeria, especially at the Federal and State level but little or no effort has been made to dig out the heaps of corruption going on in our tertiary institutions.

President Buhari has promised that no corrpt person will go unpunished even in his party, APC but I am wondering if he actually knows that the greater percentage of corruption that has a lasting and generational impact on our people are those ones going on in our education sector.

Recall that some time last year, His Excellence T. A. Orji fired Elder A. A. Onukaogu, the then Rector of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba due to some accusations of misappropriation of funds when members of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) Abia Poly Chapter protested heavily against non-payment of salaries. Although the secret behind the whole matter was clear that now Sen. T. A. Orji had a hand as to how the School funds were squandered which made it pretty easier for Elder A. A. Onukaogu to escape the implicating web of EFCC who were alleged to have come after him few months after he was sacked.

Upon the dismissal of Elder A. A. Onukaogu, now Senator Theodore Afamefula Orji appointed Professor Uche Ikonne, the then Deputy Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu as the acting Rector of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba with the thought that things gets better in a short while, and also to make striking lecturers go back to class.
Even though he was able to convince the Lecturers to resume lectures, he has never done well in eradicating corruption in the school.

As much as I know, Prof. Ikonne is nothing but the second side of the coin of Elder A. A. Onukaogu. In a short while, he has promulgated policies that speak volume of a corrupt administration.

Recently, he demolished one of the school gates to build another one of even lesser quality in order to siphon the school funds. As much as I know, I cannot see anything more attractive in the new gate that should warrant the demolition of the former to waste such huge amount of money. Well, if you think otherwise, you have me to debate with here in the comment box.

If he was anxious of registering a project in his name within the short period he was given opportunity to serve, he should have made consultations with the SUG (except they are rubber stamp executives) and with unbiased students and staff.
What Abia Poly needs is not a new gate but a nice drainage system and a hostel. You must not prove to all that Abia Poly is in Aba which is synonymous to dirty. Anytime I visit that School I pity students there and I am wondering what their gain is for all the huge amount of money they pay.
As though that was not enough, on 21st July, 2015, Prof. Ikonne welcomed his students back from the Eid El Fitri holiday with a shocking tuition fees increment of Ten Thousand Naira (N10,000) for first, students that graduated in 2014 who returned to do their clearance. New students should probably be expecting N20,000 increment in their school fees.

According to the instruction given to the workers at the Bursary and Finance department, this N10,000 increment is for late payment of school fees. Students who I consulted on the authenticity of the information before proceeding to write told me plainly that this issue of paying N10,000 was never mentioned to them while they were in school but suddenly surfaced because they know that students will do anything to be mobilized for NYSC. One of the students who cried bitterly said; “how can they offer someone admission by December (Admission form – N14,500), the person pays his acceptance fees (N26,000) by December and you still expect the person to pay his tuition fees (N65,550) by the same December, even without any provision for hostel? And when the person couldn’t, by January you are asking the student to pay additional N10,000 as late payment. Is this not a high level of wickedness?”

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What breaks my cool most is that even the former Rector who was sacked for misappropriation of funds was never this mean to his students. Elder Onukaogu had a fatherly heart than Prof. Ikonne who is only interested in how to defraud his students to pay his workers.

The highest charge for late payment of school fees during Elder Onukaogu’s regime according to some of the students I interviewed was N2,500 (only for students who paid few days to exams and after the exams).

Be that as it may, President Buhari has spoken that “no corrupt person no matter this party affiliates will go online. 

We look forwarding to seeing President Buhari’s agents coming into Aba to fish out the corrupt entities or better still, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu should replace Professor Iknonne with another educated personality from Ngwaland lest he damages the reputation he had carefully worked hard enough to build.

Asking students to pay additional school fees of N10,000 in the name of late payment by Professor Ikonne is an act of wickedness, selfishness and lack of sympathy to parents.

I remain Emenike Emmanuel, the Voice of Abia Youths.