Monarchs, alumni association wade into Oko Poly crisis

Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 22 April 2014 | 4,766 times

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Traditional rulers in Old Aguata division of Anambra State and members of the alumni association of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, have waded in to resolve the crisis involving the management of the institution and a section of the host community led by the traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Laz Ekwueme.

The two groups in a bid to find out why Prof. Ekwueme was allegedly fighting the Rector of the polytechnic, Prof. Godwin Onu, rose from two separate meetings in Awka and Aguata proceeded to the palace of the royal father.

The royal father, however, rebuffed them, saying he did not have any appointment with them. Despite pleadings by his fellow monarchs, Igwe Ekwueme refused to attend to them, saying that he was attending a church service which he had previously scheduled for the day. He finally buckled after an argument that lasted for about 30 minutes and agreed to meet his colleagues by 6pm last Thursday, after meeting members of the alumni association by 3pm same day.

One of the traditional rulers said that they were at Ekwueme’s palace to tell him the home truth. He said they could no longer allow the situation to remain unresolved after the threat of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, at the recent security conference in Awka, where he said that he would no longer tolerate the breach of peace being instigated by the traditional ruler in his community over the headship of the polytechnic.

On their part, members of the alumni association, after touring the three campuses of the polytechnic at Atani, Ufuma and Oko, held a meeting with the management of the institution during which they expressed disgust with the negative stories coming out from their alma mater.

Leader of the group and chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the alumni association, Chief Ikechukwu Ibeto, said they view the development in Oko Polytechnic as disturbing, hence their decision to wade into the matter.

Ibeto said: “As stakeholders, we view the negative stories concerning this polytechnic as very disturbing. When we came for our national meeting here last year, we were satisfied with the level and pace of development in the polytechnic and the peaceful atmosphere that existed.

“Because of this crisis, we decided to tour the three campuses and having gone round, we are satisfied with what Professor Onu is doing. But while thanking you for the marvelous work, we urge you to do everything humanly possible to make peace with the host community as teaching and learning can only thrive in a peaceful atmosphere.”

Ibeto, however, urged authorities of the institution to put the other two campuses at Atani and Ufuma into proper use, adding that there is nothing much to show that they are part of the thriving institution.

Addressing members of the association, Onu commended them for making efforts to see that the institution that made them what they were in the society would continue to grow.

He stressed that those fighting him consisted of few people on the side of the traditional ruler, adding that most well meaning individuals in Oko were happy with the massive development taking place in the institution.

His words: “The whole trouble is championed by the traditional ruler and the president general of the town union. They did not want my tenure to be renewed, but when they discovered that President Goodluck Jonathan had renewed my appointment, they heightened tension in this community.

“I came here with the greatest sense of responsibility to work and to make Oko Polytechnic one of the best tertiary institutions in the country and I am determined to do it despite the distractions.

“The problem is that some people want me to be prostrating to them every morning before coming to office and I do not think that is part of the mandate given to me by the federal government.” 

Source: News Express

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