By Okechukwu Eke
As a concerned Alumnus of the great Abia State University (ABSU) and bonafide indigene of Abia State, I have observed the recent goings on in my State as it relates to my Alma matter with great concern and trepidation.
It is no longer news that ABSU has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently. It is clear to any discerning person that there is more to the shenanigans as it is already following the typical modus operandi of the failed politicians who have succeeded in pauperizing Abians and destroying virtually every aspect of the state.
Like everyone else I was surprised to see a letter trending on social media, which suggested that returning students of ABSU are to pay a Pandemic Prevention Fee of N15, 000.00 (Fifteen Thousand Naira) each. At first glance, it seemed to be a guise to extort the students, however, when some fellow Alumni and myself made further enquiries we were surprised to learn that the fee in question was unanimously agreed by the State Government and all the stakeholders in the school including the students and that this to enable the school meet the covid-19 guidelines for resumption issued by the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC).
It is therefore clear that it was not an attempt by the Management to extort the students and I understand the Governor has graciously approved the cancellation of the levy and committed to providing the required funds to enable the school meet the covid-19 guidelines.
Despite the resolution of the above, there remains a sustained attack on the management of ABSU with the most ridiculous being an allegation that TETFUND Intervention funds to the school in the sum of N4bn has been diverted and misappropriated by the Institution’s Management.
Even without hearing from the Management of the School, any reasonably intelligent person can tell that such a diversion/misappropriation is impossible as TETFUND critically monitors the use and disbursements of their intervention funds and once there is any evidence or indication that same was not judiciously expended or where the projects are not satisfactorily executed, TETFUND blacklists the institution and ceases to release such interventions to it.
In the case of ABSU it is on record that the intervention funds to the institution has been on a steady increase each year due to the efforts and sagacity of the present Management. As a matter of fact, the allegation will only make sense if they are alleging TETFUND misappropriated or diverted the intervention funds they approved for ABSU.
In view of this reality, a lot of us who consider ourselves as stakeholders not only in ABSU but also in Abia State were shocked by the threat of Hon. Chijioke Chukwu (Member representing Bende North Constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly) that the ‘opposition’ in the State will stop all TETFUND assistance due to ABSU.
The threat by the “Honourable” and his understanding of how the TETFUND intervention approval and disbursement process are actually comical fit for the entertainment of persons who have had more than a few beers in a bar, however, it is something to be worried about considering it is emanating from a Member of the State House of Assembly who should know better.
I make bold to inform the “Honourable” that his ridiculous threat to petition TETFUND to stop all ‘assistance’ because of whatever grievances he may have or is harboring against the Management amounts to cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Is the “Honourable” truly from Abia State? If he is, whose interest is he serving? These questions are pertinent as virtually everyone in Abia State can testify that ABSU is the only tertiary institution working in Abia State and is a model for virtually all the Higher Institutions in the South – East.
I have no doubt in my mind that the Honourable is acting a script and I am sure that time will reveal his sinister plans.
I appeal to our politicians to face the rot in Abia State and fashion out solutions for them. Our ABSU is working and we the Alumni are proud of the giant strides that have been made by the present management, which is why Alumni are falling over themselves to contribute their quota to our alma matter.