Mixed reactions trail posting of former IMT Rector to newly established Enugu poly


By Moses Oyediran

Concerns are mounting over opposition against the appointment of a former Rector of the Institute of Management and Technology ( IMT), Enugu, Prof Edwin Onyeneje to the newly established Ohodo Federal Polytechnic in Igboetiti Local Government council, Enugu state.

Last week, some persons under the aegis of concerned stakeholders from Enugu north senatorial zone where the school is sited had petitioned relevant stakeholders in the education sector, asking for replacement of Onyeneje as the Polytechnic’s pioneer Rector, saying he was not fit for the job.

In their petition dated April 12, 2021 signed by Winifred Asogwa, Steve Udegbunam, Mrs. Veronica Ogbodo, Chukwuma Ugwuagbo and Onyemaechi Nnaji, they had alleged that Onyeneje was dismissed from office as Rector of IMT after being found wanting of maladministration by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Enugu State Government and has been under prosecution by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Commission since then.

But lamenting the petition, some concerned stakeholders at the IMT, Enugu, stated that there was no iota of truth in the petition, explaining that Onyeneje ran a successful tenure that lasted for five years at the institution.

Led by Mr Basil Offoh, a Chief Lecturer at IMT, Enugu, they stated that the petition had emanated because Onyeneje was not from Enugu north senatorial zone where the school is domiciled and wondered why such petition was coming about 11 years he left the IMT, Enugu.

They added that since leaving the IMT after a meritorious service, Onyeneje had served in one of the prestigious Universities in the southeast as Deputy Vice Chancellor and has held other positions of honour in the school.

In their counter petition to the Minister of Education, where they urged him to sustain the appointment, signed by their lawyer, Benedict Oguine, the stakeholders said that an Enugu state high court of 8th February 2013 had ordered that “no inquisition shall be conducted on the terms of reference of the judicial panel of inquiry constituted by the state government until it publishes a white paper on the recommendations of the said panel following the conclusion of its work”

They added that till date, there had not been any documentary evidence in public view to suggest that the panel had concluded its assignment and the state government published a white paper on the administration of Onyeneje at the IMT, Enugu.

“We do not, therefore know the source of the purported findings of the judicial panel of inquiry as assembled by the petitioners and swiftly targeted at the person and integrity of Prof Onyeneje, simply because he was appointed a pioneer Rector of Ohodo Federal Polytechnic.

“Assuming without conceding that these purported findings of the judicial panel are valid, they are subject to appeal at a court of competent jurisdiction and this constitutional right of Prof. Onyeneje can only be exercised when the government publishes white paper as contemplated.

We have not at any point concealed our desire to have a white paper on the recommendations of a judicial panel, if any, published to enable the public appreciate the political placenta that birthed the said judicial panel”, they stated.

The group attached a list of projects, executed at the Institution during the five year tenure of Onyeneje and which they claimed was submitted by the school’s management to the Judicial panel, stressing that “this document is a declaration by IMT Enugu itself that all the items alleged not to have been procured for the 2009 accreditation of programme were indeed 100% procured”.

Explaining that the petition against Onyeneje was “politically motivated” and being driven by ethnic bias, they stated that some known staff of the IMT, Enugu, allegedly from Enugu north senatorial zone had been indicted of fraud but continued to function in their various capacities.

They mentioned some persons indicted of fraud from Enugu north senatorial zone working at the IMT, Enugu, stressing that “they made plea bargains and were made prosecution witnesses and directed by ICPC to refund proceeds of the confessed crime. We submit that plea bargain amounts to acceptance of guilt and the refund serves as having served the sentence passed by the court.

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“The petitioners from Enugu north senatorial zone did not see anything wrong with the above. They are yet to attack the Enugu state government for their appointment; the same way they attacked the federal government for appointing Prof. Onyeneje as Pioneer Rector of Ohodo federal Polytechnic”.

Rather than vilify Onyeneje, they urged the petitioners to praise him for raising the bar at the IMT, stressing that the cause of the over-enrollment that led to the withdrawal of the accreditation of the school was poor funding which the panel that looked into the issue blamed on the state government.

“The state government demonstrated statesmanship by ostensibly accepting the blame and increasing the subvention of the IMT Enugu from N20 million to N120 million and has sustained it under the current Rector.

Despite this however, it has stopped from 2016 when the current Rector who is from Eugu north senatorial zone of Enugu state assumed office?”, they asked.

They added: “The Federal Polytechnic Ohodo is a federal institution. It does not belong to Enugu state government and it is not the property of Enugu north senatorial zone.

So let the petitioners from Enugu north senatorial zone be abreast with these facts and to know that anybody from any part of the country can be assigned to head the institution and work at the place”.

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