The 2021 Presidential Visitation panel of the federal government has called for cooperation from staff and students of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra state to ensure they delivered on their mandate.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, recently, released the list of Visitation Panels to 38 universities, 4 inter-university centres, 25 Federal Polytechnics and 21 Colleges of Education as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, with a directive to submit their reports in six weeks.
Addressing stakeholders from the institution during their inaugural meeting held at the Mass Communication complex of the institution, Chairman of the panel, Prof. Abiodun Olotuah said the mission of the panel was not to witch-hunt the institution, but for system enhancement.
He also said the interest was strict adherance to Federal government terms of reference of studying the institution’s atmosphere over the period of ten years including conduct and comportment of its personnel, especially staff, students and managers.
He said, “Government constituted this panel to take a careful look at the institution. We have a duty to look at the entire atmosphere and that is why we are calling on the entire polytechnic community to cooperate with us in order to deliver on this mandate.
“We are not here on witch-hunt mission but to enhance the system. Government discovered decadence in the institutions over the years. The panel ought to guide government to take appropriate decisions and as well, summount some challenges facing our institutions. So, we are here to serve the institution and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Earlier in her address of welcome, the Rector, Engr. Dr. Francisca Nwafulugo disclosed that most of the programmes of the institution were run in full capacity and few others on interim bases, just as she announced her plans to represent some programmes to the National Board for Technical Education ( NBTE) as well as introduce new ones.
She said the management, under her watch has taken delivery of five gigantic buildings through Tetfund and an office complex for the Deans which was completed through the institution’s internally generated revenue.
She said, “Our Polytechnic relates well with the host communities of Ufuma, Atani and Oko and as well sustains peace between management, staff and students, especially unions in the campus.
“Within our two years in office, God has helped us to complete five gigantic structures sponsored by Tetfund. These include a multi-purpose hall, the School of General Studies building, the Renewable Energy building, an ICT building, Agricultural Engineering building, among others. We were also able to complete a 1.23 Kilometer road to open up the extension site where we have a concentration of our buildings.
“With efforts made by management, Tetfund has approved a continuation of some abandoned projects. So, very soon, we shall commence work on them.We also have some other structures at various levels of completion.
“For example, the Food Technology Laboratory building, the Chemical Engineering building, which will be one of the most impressive structures on campus when completed. A two storey building was recently completed and furnished with Internally Generated Revenue for the Deans of Schools in accordance with NBTE regulations”
The Rector further revealed that many stagnanated staff were promoted, converted or upgraded to inspire them for maximum productivity, an action and decision she said was in line with her promise of improving staff welfare.
On his part, the newly reconstituted Governing Council chairman of the Federal Polytechnic Oko, Mallam Kale Kawu who was represented by a council member, Hon. Kamelayefa Omonibeke assured that a harmonious working relationship would prevail among the council, presidential visitation panel and the management of the Polytechnic.
Mallam Kawu said the council, in it’s policy formulation function, would ensure that government addressed declining academic standards and unstable academic calendar, adding that transparency and due process would guide their operation.
The visitation panel which has Mr. Charles Owolabi as secretary and Prof. Ngozi Ihediohanma, Dr. Lawrence Chukwu, Hon. Lawal Shehu and Mr. Idang Alibi as Members, had since commenced project inspection in the institution and visit to some stakeholders including the traditional ruler of Oko, Igwe Prof. Laz Ekwueme.
The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the visitation panels inaugurated in Abuja on April 12, 2021, according to the Education Minister was to examine the relationship between the institution and the various statutory bodies it had interactions with.
He also said they would also examine the quality of leadership in the institutions, in terms of the role of the Governing Council, the Head of the institution and other principal officers, in addition to examining the financial management of the institution over the recommended period and determine whether it was in compliance with appropriate regulations.
Other issues to examine were all academic programmes, policies and practices as well as the total academic and physical development, performance and direction of the institution and advise the Federal government as whether the desired targets have been met.