Tenure elongation: Catholic priest stirs up controversy at Imo Poly

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– Disappoints Bishop Obinna

By Martin Opara

The much talked about tenure elongation scheme of the Rev. Fr. turned Rector of the Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo in Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo state, Dr Wence Madu, has continued to generate tension and controversy within the polytechnic, community and beyond.

The Rector who spent one year in acting capacity, in addition to a five year tenure that elapsed on 31st August 2017, has refused to vacate office or advertise the position for prospective candidates to apply, as required.

 

Instead, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic ASUP (Imo Polytechnic Chapter) Sunny Ibe who is alleged to be his stooge, unilaterally, without the consent of other executives of the union, in a release, he signed, in response to Community Watchdog Newspaper publication, said the embattled Rector’s tenure was to elapse on 12th December 2017.

According to our source, it is therefore surprising that the Rector is still in office and is not making any effort to leave. This, he said has pitched him against the Arch Bishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Dr. A.J.V Obinna, who is known for his firm belief in transparency and due process. “He sees the Rector’s attitude as stigmatizing the Catholic Church and projecting it in bad light. He also appears not to be comfortable with Rev. Wence Madu’s administrative style and management of the institution because he is believed to be collaborating with the governor and other officials of government to destroy and personalize the school as a private estate.

It is also reported that the Rector now avoids Bishop Obinna as a plague because the cleric insists he does the right thing and behaves as a good ambassador of the Catholic church, instead of being constantly enmeshed in negative and destructive controversy, unbecoming of a catholic priest.

Some Polytechnic sources who confided in this reporter said, one of the first things Dr. Madu did when he became Rector, was to suspend and retire most of the senior lecturers, whom he knew would be angling to succeed him.

There is presently, high level tension in the institution, as most members of the academic community are poised to ensure he vacates office in line with the guidelines of the school.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Polytechnic, Lady Julie Nwokeke said, she could not comment on the issue. But, when pressed further, she said, the Governor, as visitor of the school, has the right to reappoint the Rector, without stating categorically if he has been reappointed, or not.

In the midst of all these, the people of Ohaji/Egbema, the Polytechnic’s host communities, visited the Governor, last week, requesting that one of their sons or daughters be made Rector of the school, because they as landowners, have not benefited much.

However, as at the time of going to press, there is no indication whatsoever, that Rev. Fr. Wence Madu is willing to relinquish the seat, as he is said to be bragging that “for as long as he remains in the governor’s book, by constantly doing his bidding, which includes reducing the staff strength, nobody can remove him, for whatever reason.

It will be recalled that the Rector, on assumption of office, spent one year in acting capacity before a renewable four year tenure, which he lobbied the State House of Assembly, to make a 5year single tenure, which elapsed on 31st August, 2017. He is still, alleged to be desperately scheming and lobbying the same House of Assembly to elongate his tenure for another 5year term, contrary to the standard rules and guidelines of the institution.

Keen observers of the unfolding drama are worried that a Catholic priest could condescend to such an abysmal level for selfish and pecuniary interests.

Effort to reach the Rector for his comment proved abortive as his number was not reachable.


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