The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) says the Abia State Government owes staff of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba (Abiapoly), 40 months’ salaries arrears.
The union, in a statement signed by the ASUP publicity secretary, Abdullahi Yalwa, made available to The Education Report, faulted the encomiums showered on the state governor recently by Abiapoly’s rector, Prof. Okorie Kalu Osonwa.
In January, the rector of Abiapoly, Osonwa, commended Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for “restoring the pride of the institution” and release of subvention, which he said aided the poly to overcome some of its financial problems.
The rector stated this during a briefing that was specifically organized to thank the governor for the numerous things he had done to lift the institution since he became governor.
Osonwa equally placed on record that, in 2022, when Abiapoly’s courses were de-accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Ikpeazu came to its rescue by doling out N450m, with which the institution paid four months’ arrears of its workers’ salary that led to the board rescinding its decision.
The union, in a statement dated February 2, 2023, said its attention was drawn to a statement by the rector commending the Abia State Governor and the visitor to the institution, Ikpeazu, for “restoring the place of pride of the polytechnic despite some months of owed salaries.”
ASUP observed that the “embarrassing publication” was only “aimed at massaging the ego of the governor to enable him service his culture of tokenism on the conquered staff and students of the polytechnic.”
The union stated that, “For the record, what the conquered rector of the conquered polytechnic refers to as “some months of owed salaries” is actually 40 months of unpaid salaries as of the end of January 2023. This, in Prof. Osonwa’s conquered imagination, represents the restoration of the pride of place of the Polytechnic!
“Though it is commonplace in our clime to sing worthless praises to an oppressor in the hope of gaining freedom, it is beyond proof that such has proven to actually energize the oppressor, rather than softening his heart and facilitating the release of his victims. Governor Ikpeazu should realize that there is no honor in ruling a conquered territory.”
Yalwa recalled that Abiapoly was stripped of the accreditation of its programmes last year by NBTE for failing to meet the accreditation requirements related to staff remuneration and conditions of service.
According to him, the step forced the governor to release N450 million to defray four out of the 38 months salaries owed at the time with a commitment to commence payment of regular salaries and to be defraying the backlog once stability is restored in the payment of the salaries.
ASUP said it was based on this premise that the NBTE conditionally restored the suspended accreditation of the institution and its programmes.
“Unfortunately and true to type, the governor and the institution have reneged on their responsibility once again as the salaries are no longer being paid due to the non-release of the monthly subvention to the institution,” Yalwa.
The image-maker said the union was shocked at the trivialization of the pitiable state of the staff of the polytechnic by the rector through such a statement.
The union called on the state governor to respect the signed agreement and conditions for restoring the accreditation of the institution by releasing funds to enable payment of owed salaries in the polytechnic and adequately subvent the institution.
“The NBTE should equally take note of the situation in the polytechnic and act as appropriate if the conditions of staff remain unchanged in the institution.”