By Sunday Ani
Barely 24 hours after Chinedu Onyeizu’s interview on the way out of the de-accreditation of Abia Polytechnic, Aba, the state government has reportedly released N450 million to the institution.
Onyeizu, who is the Abia South senatorial candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the forthcoming 2023 election, had, on Monday, August 9, 2022, during a live interview session on Real 99.1 FM Aba, knocked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led government for the poor handling of the polytechnic, which led to its de-accreditation by the National Board for Technical Education.
But the next day, the state government quickly announced the release of the funds to the school.
Sharing his perspectives on the ignominious development, the LP senatorial candidate accused the state government of lacking ideas on how to reposition the polytechnic as a major revenue source to government and for self-sustenance.
According to him, what is needed to change the narrative of Abia Poly is a leader that has entrepreneurial mindset and dynamic in thinking through new trends making phenomenal difference in business undertakings.
Drawing references from his trainings, Onyeizu said governments around the world were pushing their educational institutions to operate as tertiary institutions and as enterprises to strengthen their revenue bases.
He said strategy was to challenge tertiary institutions to provide technical and advanced business management support to small scale businesses in their environment in other to grow output, and in return, take equity in the business.
He stressed that Abia Poly is qualified to be both an enterprise and a tertiary institution because the huge entrepreneurial skills available in its environment, which also necessitated the conception of its location, needed to be tapped.
“In my recent research on start-up businesses in Aba, I found out that there are about 200,000 shoemakers selling an average of 30,000 pairs of shoes annually, and making an annual profit of N45 million at N1,500 per pair of shoes sold.
“If the business department of Abia Poly could be empowered and well-funded, they can double the revenue to N90 million through business scaling and access to global markets for each shoe maker. At five per cent equity, Abia Poly will smile home with N4.5 million per year from each business and a revenue in excess of N900 billion per annum, assuming the entire 200,000 shoemakers enter the net,” he said.
He further stressed that if only 10 per cent participates in the first year, it would translate to N90 billion, which is huge enough to increase the internally generated revenue base of the state, and at the same time bolster the institution’s independence.
He blamed the government for allowing the salaries of the lecturers to accumulate for 30 months, threatening to go on hunger strike if by October 1, 2022, the Ikpeazu administration failed to clear all the outstanding arrears to the lecturers and other government workers in the state, even as he noted that such carelessness had exposed the lack of capacity of the Ikpeazu administration to articulate a viable economic template for the development of the state. He said the consequences were everywhere as evidence.
‘’Payment of salaries is a way of expanding the economy of the state. For instance, as lecturers gets paid, they will in turn, patronise other members of the economic chain, and that way, money gets circulated and the wheel of economic system becomes constantly oiled,’’ he said.