The refusal of Rev. (Fr) Dr. Wence Madu, Rector of Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, to vacate office, 27 months after his tenure that has been trailed by controversy officially elapsed on 31st August 2017, is causing and threatening peace and mutual co-existence in the academic community.
The Rector who was reportedly employed as Lecturer II on Hatis salary grade level 14 in April 2008 became Acting Rector in 2011 and became substantive Rector for a 4 year single tenure on 31st August 2018.
However, after spending one year in acting capacity, and shortly after he became substantive Rector, he allegedly lobbied the Imo State House of Assembly, to review the law establishing the school. They promulgated enabling law that made the 4 year tenure to a 5 year single tenure that is not renewable. Hence, he was at the helm of affairs of Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo for six years, as at 31st August 2017, when he was expected to hand over to a new Rector and bow out honourably.
It will also be recalled that Public Relations Officer of the school, had, in a full page advertorial published in an Owerri based newspaper, last year in response to a publication by Community Watchdog Newspaper about the Rector’s sit tight syndrome, stated that, “though Fr. Wence became a substantive Rector in August 2012, his, 5 year single tenure will start counting when the 4 year renewable tenure was abrogated on 12th December, 2017” aside other uncomplimentary remarks he made about this newspaper for questioning the Rector’s continued stay in office, against the institutions policy and guidelines. Almost 12 months after that publication, Rev. Fr. Wence is still holding sway at Imo Poly.
The Rector, in a bid to stabilize his illegal and unlawful hold on power, is said to have either retired or sidelined some staff of the institution and re-instated and given some retired staff of the school undue prominence by placing them in strategic positions, and flooded other sensitive positions with either catholic priests or reverend sisters.
There are also reports that, “the management of Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo have plans to employ more reverend fathers and reverend sisters as Heads of various Departments. This has sent bad signals, as the institution is almost being portrayed as a missionary school. This is because, the priests, the reverend sisters and those recalled from retirement are disturbingly submissive and lack the courage to challenge or question the Rector’s actions and inactions to avoid incurring his wrath, hence he prefers them”.
A management source who pleaded anonymity, said some of the positions presently occupied by reverend fathers and reverend sisters in the institution, include, Dean of Student Affairs, Rev. (Fr) Eze Nwankwo John, who also doubles as Director of Sports, Director of General Studies, Rev. (Fr) Igwegbe Isdore, who is also in-charge of Examinations, Director of Academics (APACUD), Rev. (Fr) Polycarp, HOD, Records and Statistics, Rev. Sis. Henrietta Agu.
Some of the retired staff who should be resting at home are also reportedly being used by the Rector for sensitive assignments, while those who are still in active service are sidelined. “For instance, the Admission Officer, Dr. Ogbuokiri is said to have retired years ago, but the Rector still uses him for sensitive assignments as if there is no law governing the institution”.