The appointment of a substantive Registrar at the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, has thrown the institution into internal crisis.
The screening committee has been accused of presenting the former Acting Registrar Mr Obini Onuchukwu said to have conflicting Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates from the Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Enugu.
But Comrade Godson Okeoma, member of the Governing Council Selection Board of the Polytechnic, said the process was free, fair and in tandem with the laid down provisions for the screening and appointment of a substantive Registrar.
According to him, “the conduct of the interview was transparently done; no candidate had any advantage over the others. And I must quickly add that the followed content of the advertorial for the job in terms of qualifications for that position.”
Mr Okeoma insisted that the only misgivings he and several other members of the Selection Board had was in the case of a particular candidate who appeared to enjoy the patronage and protection of an influential member of the Board.
“To our dismay, he was allowed to be interviewed but some others who didn’t meet up with the qualifications as stipulated by the advertorial like him were turned back on grounds of deficiencies,
“To be very specific the advertorial required that for one to apply for the post , he must have acquired a minimum of seventeen years cognate experience in a tertiary institution and I think it was more than seventeen years. But a particular candidate, Mr.Obini Onuchukwu, had as at the time of application, only eleven years and at the time of interview, it was twelve years.
“So it was clear that by that advertorial he was not qualified to be interviewed but he was given the undue preference may be because he had acted, even though he wasn’t qualified to act.
“Now, that was the case of his qualification in terms of length of service. The same person, we equally observed, paraded a certificate which clearly stated that he graduated from Institute of Management and Technology, IMT Enugu on the 25th of July1998.
“But prior to that I had privileged information of a document he filed at Aguata High Court in a suit he instituted against me as former Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, and the secretary of the union, Mr.Ime Okon, and the processes he filed there on oath contained notification of result of same HND, same Mass Communication, same Print Option, same IMT but at different dates other than what the certificate bears. The date of the collection of this latter result was April 26th 1999, insteadof1998.
“I raised the issue for his assessment. And if he said it was the certificate of HND 1999 notification of result, we would discard the other result.
“At the end of the day, the committee resolved that we were not doing certificate verification and instead of dismissing him at that point, he was still allowed him to go on with the interview. The following day he came up with another document bearing ‘To Whom It May Concern’ and addressed to nobody but purportedly written from the same IMT this time around bearing another date, I think 17th of September 2021 or so. I can no longer remember it unless I refer to documents.”
Mr.Okeoma recalled that the same person equally was a staff of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) but came to the Federal Polytechnic Oko in 2010 on secondment.
He said It was always fuzzy how his status as staff on refinement was transmuted to transfer of service.
“If he should be a staff of the Polytechnic and yet he is throwing stones, I don’t know what he intends to achieve,” he said.
But in his reaction, Onuchukwu described the conduct and outcome of the interview as lopsided and a premeditated plot to ensure that he doesn’t get confirmed as a substantive Registrar of the institution.
“Let me start by expressing my disappointment that a member of the screening committee would go to the media to talk about the credentials and personality of a candidate in a negative direction and before now he never planned for that candidate to to survive… Okeoma Godson was supposed to commence his disengagement leave on the 1st of April 2022 and a letter was written to him by the personnel to hand over everything in his custody to the next in command before proceeding on that retirement and proceeding on other compulsory training and retraining he has to embark upon to prepare him for retirement” he said .
According to him, in other words he ought not to have been part of the panel , noting that If the Rector being the Chief Executive needed his services as to recalling him to carry out one assignment or the other, she would be the one to invite him.
“But because of some irregularities and anomalies in they exercise Okeoma Godson was allowed to be part of the interview without anybody questioning it,” he said.
“About the credentials it is very disappointing and disheartening that at the middle of the interview when candidates have all been notified to make themselves available for the interview an impostor raised the issue of documentation meaning that the job that was supposed to be done during the screening was not done.
“I have secured a job and I wasn’t looking for any other job and doing some other little jobs and studies so I had no need or need to go and collect my certificate and there has not been any reason to provide my certificate until last year 2021 when we made application for the position of Registra and that was when I went to IMT Enugu to get my certificate.
“It was so glaring that I was being humiliated probably because they were desperate for me to fail but God did not allow me to fail and out of seventeen people, we are only two that had the benchmark.”