Ntekim to media: Exercise professional wisdom, patriotism in your reportage
The dream of the Akwa Ibom State Government repositioning the state to become a major destination in the area of Information Communication Technology, ICT, has received a boast as China based multinational technology company, Huawei Technologies Company Limited, have concluded plans to establish a Huawei ICT Academy at the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, the Chairman Governing Council of Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Hon Barr Ekpeyong Ntekim announced on Thursday.
Ntekim who stated this while addressing the press at the Council Chamber of the polytechnic, noted with delight that the Academy when operational will help in providing several ICT certifications that will be of tremendous academic and economic benefit to Akwa Ibom State as students of the Polytechnic will be trained in the latest trends of ICT by Huawei free of charge against the norm whereby certification costs up to #250,000.
He explained that with such certification, graduates from the Academy will be equipped with skills and techniques to help them become employers of labour themselves and not crowd the labour market as applicants, explaining that personnel of Akwapoly will also be trained to train others all in a bid to help build capacity and manpower.
This he noted was one of the positive strides achieved by the institution in August 2019 but regretted that the media failed in reporting and highlighting this positive achievement, rather, a sustained, internally sponsored media war was launched against the institution by some persons who are also being paid and benefiting from the institution, a situation he said, the Akwa Ibom State government will no longer tolerate.
On the genesis of the crisis, Ntekim noted that when the Governing Council was reconstituted in June 2019 with his appointment as the new Chairman of Council, it was resolved that the Acting Rector, on behalf of Management, should segmentalise the courses and needs- both equipment and staff- in accordance with individual requirements and requisition of each of such department or course unit for the approval and funding of government for the purpose of the imminent accreditation by the National Board for Technical Education in September, 2019.
Hear him, “In the course of the implementation of that decision of Council, a committee was set up by Management to undertake the exercise – Department by Department, Course by Course- and this appeared to have been misconstrued by some persons who considered it, albeit grossly erroneously, as an audit probe and a witch-hunt. Following series of misleading representations to Council, the Council on 16th August 2019 met with the staff at a general meeting to allay their fears”.
At the said meeting, he noted “it was abundantly clear to all and sundry, that the exercise was undertaken in the best interest of the School and for the sole purpose of meeting the September 2019 accreditation needs of the institution”.
Ntekim stated that it was assured that should there be any need for any investigation on the basis of honest, credible and ascertainable allegations, it would be undertaken with regular dispatch. What would not be condoned he said, “are allegations that are motivated by ill will, blackmail, pecuniary inducements and extortions”.
He regretted that shortly after his August 16 meeting with staff, the local media seemed to have beamed their searchlights on the polytechnic with all shades of attractive but unhelpful headlines.
A cursory perusal of the above publications he noted, would be discerning, even to the most ignorant and charitable, that they all have grave bearing on the change of administrative leadership of the polytechnic and restated the fact that it is the prerogative of Government, as the proprietor of the institution, to make appointment to the Rectorship of the polytechnic guided by applicable rules and regulations.
“Government will certainly not fold its hand to watch a few disgruntled persons bring down an edifice that took several years of toil to nurture to this maturity”, he warned.
“This emergency press briefing is necessitated by the very unpatriotic venture as reflected in an apparently sponsored further publications of even grave implications to the status of Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic with false allegations of imminent closure of the institution by NBTC on the speculative appointment and or disqualification of a substantive Rector”.
He described the internally sponsored publication of a threat by NBTE to shut down the polytechnic and allegations of alleged corruption against the person of the Acting Rector as totally false, misconceived, mischievous and condemnable, stating that he can state authoritatively and on behalf of the government that there has been no case of fraud against the Acting Rector and at no time did the government ever said the Acting Rector will not be confirmed as a substantive Rector.
In his words, ” I lack sufficient words to commensurately denounce the authors of such falsity, and express the sense of shock over the hasty publication by the newspapers, all of them of Akwa Ibom origin, without even a scant confirmation. I need to assure that this Council will be very firm and decisive in reigning in whoever needs to be reined in in this institution for its ultimate growth. Honestly, no effort will be spared in this direction, and whoever is behind these dastardly acts of malicious publications against his or her work place would have to shape up or ship out. There cannot be a human institution in this academic institution. That is an anathema”.
While calling for a renewed bond of friendship and partnership from the media community in the state, the Council Chairman called on the media to carry out its constitutional duty with the highest degree of professional wisdom, decorum and patriotism in reporting issues concerning the polytechnic in a manner that will cooperatively build its image and attain its set noble objectives.