A well known biblical allusion, which has turned to a refrain and infact, a cliche in Abia State is that a labourer is worthy of his wages. This, and other biblical injunctions regarding wages and remunerations no longer have bearing in the state.
It has become worrisome that the issue revolving around payment of salaries of Staff of Abia State Polytechnic workers, which many of the Staff have lost count of, has continued to attract and spark off negative responses among social media users and beyond.
Stories on Social Media concerning Abia Polytechnic, has always been that of negative report revolving around strike and protests by workers over non-payment of salaries, rape of students among other negative stories, leaving concerned Abians wondering if such reports emanating from this citadel of learning do not perturb the management of the Institution and the Abia State Government.
To some of us, it is an embarrassment that Abia Polytechnic has always been in the purview of the public, dominating the social media space to the extent that non-Abians copy and share stories concerning negative things happening in the institution to the wider world, yet the State Government and the Management of the Institution have turned a blind eye to this misnomer that continues to portray the administration in the State as owing her workforce while raising questions as to whether Abia Polytechnic Management cannot pay their Staff?
Yes, ordinarily, when one begins to look at the various revenue windows available or open to Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria, it may not be out of place or an exaggeration to declare that higher institutions in the country and Abia State which is our focus, can pay salaries of their workers comfortably considering “monies” paid by students. While we affirm that they have a strong revenue base to pay salaries of workers, it is also pertinent to ask, what if the institution cannot generate enough revenue to pay? What is then the position of the Government on this?
Truth remains that an Institution like Abia Polytechnic Aba, that has continued to make news for the wrong reasons, needs address the issue that has ridiculed and threatened it’s existence for some months running.
On a visit to Abia Polytechnic, one would be stupefied by the population of students, hence, you begin to wonder since Abia Polytechnic boasts of this massive population, how come the Management finds it difficult to pay salaries of workers? Why does one always hear of strikes ensuing from non-payment of salaries? Could it be that the government does not release subvention to the Institution?
Do we even talk about the staff strength of the Institution? Indeed without mincing words, many things are wrong with Abia State Polytechnic, Aba. It is as if Staff are recruited on daily basis yet they are owed up to twenty seven months salary which again raises questions as to who gives waiver for the appointment of the staff that roam the premesis of the Institution.
If actually the government gave waiver for their appointment as a way of settling relatives of politicians and friends, then how come same government complain about the Staff strength of the Institution whereas it is used as some kind of settlement for political associates among others while those who have put in about 15 years in service, suffer due to the over staffing of the Institution which was never ab initio?
In all fairness, it is an aberration for people to share in the sins of a few people. The Management and the Abia State Government, should reach a compromise and save the students and their parents this stress of spending years without graduating whereas students pay their fees into the coffers of the Institution.
What joy would the Academic Staff derive in holding classes or conduct semester exams so that Students can graduate and give way for new entrants? The saying that a labourer deserves his wages as the scripture opines seems not to apply in this case. Or does it mean education is no longer valued in this State?
How long would payment of Staff of Higher Institutions, Secondary and Primary Schools in the State continue to be an issue that will form major discussion on social media thereby diminishing the image of the State and her people?
It is therefore imperative for the Abia State Government and Management of Abia Polytechnic Aba, to find a common ground for the sake of the students, parents, image of the State, so that the constant mention on social media about problems of salary payment, strikes among tertiary institutions, Secondary Schools in Abia would cease. Abia, God’s own State, ought to have gone beyond this stage of cajole on Social Media by citizens of other States.
Abia State cannot continue dominating the social media space for the wrong reasons, Abia shouldn’t be synonymous with negative news, it is high time the problems of the State was nipped in the bud.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the time to find a common ground in Abia is now as it will gladden the hearts of the Polytechnic Staff, Students, parents and indeed all Abians if the issue of non-payment of salaries, strikes is resolved once and for all so that those fellows who derive joy in sharing negative news about Abia and her people would at least join in sharing the giant strides Abia would achieve if such stories that portray the State in bad light are resolved.
Long Live Abia,
Long live South-East, Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Izuchukwu Nwokoma, firstname.lastname@example.org (08038207365).