By Abasiofiok Inyang
The fear of producing half-baked graduates at Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area has reached a feverish peak following an alleged employment racketeering currently bedeviling the foremost Government Technical based tertiary institution in the State.
Investigations revealed that the Rector of the institution, Dr. Moses Umobong, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic, Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic Chapter, Comrade Etteyen Uko, the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnic, Akwa Ibom State Polytehnic Chapter, Comrade Micheal Ekpo and Deputy Registrar/Establishment Officer, Mr. G. Udofah are about turning the school into family Institution where every Tom and Jerry and their cronies are being employed to impart knowledge without considering standards and competency.
It was further gathered that the Rector and other key management staff have brought in their wives, children and family members as employees and added to this, is the fact that some of them have third Class and Pass which the NBTE, the regulating body of Polytechnic is against such employment with the pretext that all the names of the newly recruited staff were sent by the Governor and his wife.
An insider source at the institution, confided in our reporter that the management, the ministry of education, Governing Council and Academic staff are “supposed to guide and advise the Rector to consider those that have acquired working in the Institution and have teaching experience as part-time teachers to be considered first for employment, before those who just graduated from university like the daughter of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Lady Rose Bassey but because they all brought their wives and children for employment, they could not”.
The source stressed that “he who goes to equity must go with clean hands, but in this very situation the reverse is the case”. He called on the Governor Udom Emmanuel to take drastic measures to sanitize the institution before those who is saddled with the responsibility to move the Institution to a greater height do the needful.
A part-time teaching staff who has been in service of the institution but has not been given a permanent appointment, expressed dismay over the current situation said that despite the huge resources the Governor has sunk into the institution during the last accreditation exercise, the school is not yet able to get accreditation in HND Civil Engineering.
According to him, “His Excellency, one of the major steps to be taken to return the Institution to its past glory is to constitute a substantive Governing Council so as to provide checks and balances to the management and SSAP&DC unlike what is obtainable now which the board is only made up of one man”.
The source equally called for the appointment of a substantive Registrar for the school, noting that the “absence of a Registrar in an Institution of this magnitude has stalled so many things and it is not in the best interest of the institution and the state”.
The source said, “For aninstance, certificate has not been issued to graduands for a very long time now which in turns have barred some of them from securing a job that requires Certificate”.
He also called on the governor to direct the Management of the Polytechnic to implement to the letter, the recommendations of the NBTE staff Audit Reports on Academic and Non academic Staff and Government’s Committee’s Report on Harmonization of 1989 and September, 2013 Schemes of Service”.
It would be recalled that the Rector of the school had written a letter to the Government of Akwa Ibom State led by Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, asking for his approval to invite the NBTE, Regulating Body of Polytechnic in Nigeria to come and conduct Staff Audit.
The letter was said to have been a deceptive way to make the state government spend over 50 Million Naira for Staff Audit but yet you could not implement the Recommendations of the Audit Report.
The letter, it was equally gathered, was to give the public an impression that the last recruitment of staff into the Polytechnic would be conducted by the NBTE, but yet a worse recruitment in the history of recruitment in the Polytechnic without conducting interview was carried out.
A particular case was a staff that was employed while still serving as a Corp member with the National Youth Service Corps.
Aside that, the management of the institution had asked for five slots for qualified indigenes of the five host communities that make up the school. The five slots was approved by the Rector with appointment letters issued by the school. They were a temporary appointment letters in the wake of accreditation by NBTE and shortly after the visitation by the Board, their appointment were not confirmed during the recruitment exercise, a situation that the host communities have frown seriously as being used and dumped.
Some of the concerned staff who spoke with our reporter in confidence, challenged management of the institution to publish the names of the interviewers who made up the panel and the result/performance sheet that contained the scores of each applicants in the order of highest score to the least for the public to see its transparency”, and added that the Rector risk a second term bid on the “grounds of incompetency, mismanagement, breach of public trust and corruption for not publishing the names of shortlisted candidates for interview and the name of successful candidates employed with theirs scores as always the routine adopted by any government owned establishments in the state”.
The source cited a case of State Secondary Education Board recruitment, Technical School Board Recruitment, State Universal Education Board recruitment and any other one conducted by Civil Service Commission.
“Our Governor that we all know cannot jettison excellence and intelligence for mediocrity and for a man who detest injustice could not have recommended people who just came back from NYSC for employment in an academic institution with no teaching experience against those who have work in the same Institution as part-time for over ten (10) years contributing to the growth of the Institution.
“This situation can only breed low productivity on the part of the lecturers because there would be no morale which in turns would lead to poor performance on the part of the students”.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of school, Gloria Udoudom denied the alleged racketeering, saying that those employed are qualified and they were employed after a thorough interview.
She said, “that is not true. Interview was conducted and all the people employed are qualified.