Oko,Nekede, Eha-Amufu became Federal Institutions under a detribalised IBB regime says Prof. Nwadialor

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…As Fedpoly Oko Alumni holds Maiden IBB Public Lecture Series

By Uzo Ugwunze

African Politicians, Administrators and Leaders in positions of authority have been tasked to implement policies and programmes not driven by tribe, culture, religion or ethnicity but by purpose, value and people.

Speaking during the Alumni Annual Award and Institution of Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida(IBB) Public Lecture Series, first edition which was organized by the Federal Polytechnic Oko Alumni Association, the Public Lecture presenter, Vice Chancellor Tansian University Umunya, Prof. Eugene Nwadialor urged leaders to offer selfless service that would benefit the majority not just in the interest of a few people at the expense of others saying that leaders should learn from IBB whose leadership approach was cosmopolitan in nature.

Delivering his lecture themed ‘Federal Polytechnic Oko and the Pivotal role of Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Prof Nwadialor who spoke ex-carthedra x-rayed the history and evolution of the ivory tower now known as Federal Polytechnic Oko because he was the rector who went through thick and thin with the help of the Former Federal Minister of Education, Late Prof Ben Nwabueze SAN and former Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Lady Victoria Ilonkem V.V.I Okoye to ensure that the then Nigeria Military Head of State,, IBB not only approved that Federal polytechnic Oko became a federal establishment but that Federal Polytechnic Nekede and Federal College of Education Eha-Amufu were also beneficiaries.

“The polytechnic started as a college of Arts and Science in 1979 with the help of former Vice President, Late Alex Ekwueme and his Oko community people providing 90percent of the infrastructure. In 1981 it metamorphosed into a state polytechnic up until 1993.After A.B. Uzuakpunwa tenure, I took over in 1988. Despite difficulty in payment of staff salaries, our staff voluntarily donated about 25 percent of their salaries to construct classroom blocks for accreditation of programmes. The borrowing and financial challenges were so much until 1993 when the peoples General came”, Nwadialor stated.

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“IBB represents different things to many but to Federal Polytechnic Oko he was a transformer, a living Messiah who brought Oko to the global map. A man with a large heart, who is heterocentric in his leadership approach.He is multidimensional and a highly detribalised Nigerian. As a military leader he enjoyed wide acceptance all over Nigeria because of his cosmopolitan outlook and participatory approach to governance”.

“The Nigeria education sector was politicized and the South East zone had been crying of marginalization because of the perceived little presence of federal establishments within the region but IBB went ahead to convert previously state owned institutions like Anambra State Polytechnic to a federal establishment thereby balancing the equation of limited academic opportunities in the South East zone. The trio of Federal polytechnic, Oko, Nekede and College of Education Eha-amufu were converted to federal establishments. Institute of Management and Technology Enugu would have benefited them but Enugu State government refused. IBB gave priority to education and funded the institutions,” said Nwadialor.

Moreover, the former Governor of Old Anambra State, Senator Dr Jim Nwobodo, a Founder’s Awardee who was instrumental to the conversion of the College of Arts and Science to Anambra State polytechnic in 1981 thanked the Fedpoly Oko Alumni for finding time to remember and celebrate the founders with awards.

According to Jim Nwobodo who was represented by Prof. Dan Chukwu of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, as captured in Luke 17,of the ten men healed of leprosy only one returned to show gratitude to Jesus. Where are the other nine? Did we not establish Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH) with campuses at Enugu, Awka and Abakiliki? These campuses evolved into ESUT, NAU and EBSU respectively. Also, Colleges of Education in Nsugbe and Eha-Amufu among others were establishedof in the old Anambra, how many of them have ever celebrated the Founders Day with Awards? They should take a cue from the Alumni and management of Fedpoly Oko.

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In his welcome address, the President FPO Alumni Association, Nze Henry Nnebe reiterated the need for rewarding hard work by honoring outstanding founders, progenitors students,staff, veterans, alumni polytechnic Ambassadors with Awards to galvanize them towards excellence.

Nze Nnebe further noted the importance the museum to preserve the vision, ideas, dreams and relics of the progenitors of Federal Polytechnic Oko. “The trajectory of growth and development by FPO becoming one of the best polytechnic in Nigeria should guided jealously and protected against falsification and usurpation”.

However, Nnebe after eulogizing the landmark achievements of both the Monumental past rectors and the present Digital rector lamented on the inability of FPO to do a convocation in the last 12 years urging the present rector not to renege on her promise to organize a convocation before the end of her tenure.

Earlier in her address, the Rector, Federal Polytechnic Oko(FPO), Engr. Dr. Mrs. Francisca Unoma Nwafulugo who spoke through the FPO Bursar,Mr Stephen Udu,an awardee after appreciating the founders awadees, dignitaries and past rectors commended the Alumni association for instituting the IBB lecture,awards scheme for outstanding lecturers cum best graduating students and the Ufuma Campus Gate project saying that FPO alumni association has undoubtedly shown that they are partners with the polytechnic management for the well bieng of the institution.

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She said that her administration since assuming office 2019 was to build on the foundation that others have laid.”We have worked tirelessly to make FPO distinguished among committee of polytechnics nationally and internationally.

“We started with the accreditation of 62 programmes which were at the verge of closure and now all the programmes we run in this polytechnic are accredited. We also mounted new programmes namely Chemical Engineering and Horticultural technology. In infrastructure, we have completed 17 buildings sponsored via tetfund, capital fund and IGR. A 1.2 km road was also constructed and commissioned by Federal Ministry of Works,we look forward to commissioning remaining completed projects in January 2024,” said Mrs Nwafulugo.

Responding to the issue of holding a convocation, the rector said that the major set back included paucity of funds but assured that the management was not relenting in trying what they could to find a way of organizing a convocation as soon as possible.

In his remarks, the Chairman Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Annual public lecture, Ichie Izuchukwu Nwabueze a FPO Ambassador awardee, the Federal Commissioner Public Complaint Commission, Mrs Emelda Okoli who represented Prof Barth Nnaji(Chairman IBB Lecture), Dr Egwuchukwu Ifensor who represented the BOT Chairman FPO Alumni, Hon Okey Victor Orji, FPO Head of Department, Accountancy, Dr Emmanuel Ezenwafor who bagged three(3) distinguished/outstanding/Excellence awards in their separate speeches appreciated the special guests for gracing the maiden IBB lecture amidst security concerns and thanked the alumni association for recognizing good and hard works of past and present heroes.

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