Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has said the challenge faced by Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, is the result of a bank loan it collected before he took over office.
He said in May 2015 when he assumed office, there was a N2 billion loan taken by the institution for which N42 million is taken from the purse of the polytechnic monthly.
The governor, who stated this on Monday while declaring open a three-day education summit on the way forward for the institution, in Aba, said the debt service had made it almost impossible for the institution to function.
Ikpeazu, however, explained that, “In a bid to assist the institution survive, my administration paid off the N2 billion loan to First Bank with no further conditions attached.
“We did this in the hope that the polytechnic would bounce back but over the years, the problems besetting the institution have persisted.”
While noting that the subvention due to the polytechnic from the state government is paid regularly, the governor said the inability of the administration of the polytechnic to maintain stability in the academic calendar has led to a sharp decline in the students’ population leading further to the financial hemorrhage.
He also blamed the flagrant abuse of employment procedures in the institution as another major source of the disequilibrium in the management of the finances of the polytechnic.
He, therefore, urged all stakeholders in the affairs of the institution to take tough decisions in order to reposition it and make it more relevant in today’s world.
He charged the new rector, Dr. Kalu Osonwa, to undertake drastic surgical operations in the institution and to build a sustainable academic environment by ensuring that only qualified lecturers are hired to teach students.
While urging the polytechnic to take advantage of the ever-bustling and commercial environment of Aba to seek means to remain relevant, he said it should conduct an urgent manpower needs assessment to identify areas where human resources are critically needed.
The governor also tasked the rector to take a cue from Abia State University which has maintained a stable academic environment for five years and is today ranked No 2 in the list of state universities in the country in terms of performance.
The rector, Dr. Osonwa assured the governor and all stakeholders of his commitment to the re-engineering of the institution and promised to look inwards and find solutions to the challenges facing the institution.