– As lecturers begin strike
Following the alleged plan of Rev. Fr. (Dr) Wence Madu, Rector of the Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo, who has already spent 6 years and entering the 7th year, to elongate his tenure, the lecturers of the institution who are vehemently opposed to the tenure elongation bid and other acts of impunity, have taken the matter to the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP).
The national leadership of ASUP has also drawn the attention of the Federal Ministry of Education to the tenure elongation bid, and condemned in very strong terms, the undue interference of state governors in the running of polytechnics and other tertiary institutions in their domain. This, the union said, has often led to the unilateral sack of Rectors, and lecturers, without recourse to the relevant laws and statues establishing the institutions.
It was also gathered that ASUP, in a petition addressed to the Federal Ministry of Education and copied to the 36 state governors, mentioned Imo Polytechnic as one of the institutions being run and administered from government house.
Meanwhile, ASUP, in line with their resolution of 31st October 2017, said, following the expiration of the 21 day ultimatum, issued over its 7 point demand, contained in its communication of 9th October, the national executive council of the union, met to review the response of the government and also reviewed the proceedings of the conciliation meeting convened by the ministry of labour and productivity, on 24th October 2017. The union noted with displeasure, the poor representation of the ministry of education at the meeting and non presentation of any proposal as memorandum of action for the union’s consideration at the time of the NEC meeting, despite the assurance of the permanent secretary, ministry of labour and productivity who presided over the meeting, that all shall be presented to the union, within 24 hours of the meeting of 24th October 2017.
The National leadership of ASUP, therefore, in a letter signed by the President Usman Y. Dutse resolved to commence indefinite strike with effect from yesterday 13th November 2017.
Accordingly, the Imo State chapter in a letter dated 13th November 2017, signed by Dr. Echeta Desmond and Engr. V. I. Ehirim, chairman and secretary respectively and addressed to the Rector, Imo Polytechnic, said, “following the directives of our national union on the above subject matter, as earlier ratified by various congresses, the ASUP of the Polytechnic Umuagwo (Imo State chapter) wishes to notify you that we are complying with the indefinite strike action. Attached is the letter from the national leadership of our union”.
It will be recalled that Community Watchdog newspaper had, in its August 4th 2017 edition, drawn attention to the alleged tenure elongation schemes of the Imo Poly Rector, Rev. Fr. (Dr) Wence Madu. It was reported then, that the rector was scheming and once again lobbying members of the Imo house of assembly to elongate his tenure.
It was also highlighted that Dr. Madu who spent one year in acting capacity and 5 years as substantive Rector, whose tenure of 5 years elapsed 31st August 2017, has instead of placing adverts through the Registrar for prospective successors to apply, was alleged to be spending enormous resources in lobbying members of Imo house of assembly to once again amend the laws guiding the polytechnic to enable him remain in office.
He was also accused of inviting the governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to the official presentation of flour and soya beans mills he procured from elsewhere but falsely claimed they were produced by the school.
According to keen observers, this fraudulent claim of technical and technological ingenuity was designed to hoodwink, deceive and falsely impress the governor into believing that he is an achiever.
Students, management and staff of the institution are worried that if the right steps are not urgently taken or if the Imo House of Assembly goes ahead to amend the rules again, at the prompting of Rev. Madu, whose tenure expired on 31st August 2017, the peace, harmony and internal cohesion of the school will be disrupted. Some labour leaders who spoke on condition of anonymity said any attempt to elongate the Rector’s tenure in whatever guise, will be resisted, and called on the government to do the needful and ensure that justice and fairness prevail.