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Ohodo Fed Poly: Petition Against Prof. Onyeneje Is Politically Motivated, Says Concerned Stakeholders

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Some concerned stakeholders and lecturers at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu have dismissed a recent report in an online media, which reported that Rector of the newly established federal Polytechnic, Ohodo, in Igboetiti Council  area  of Enugu state, Professor Edwin Onyeneje, was found guilty by a judicial Commission of inquiry set up by the Enugu state government, saying the publication was politically Motivated, and driven by ethnic Bias.

They said there is no iota of truth in the said publication aimed at tarnishing the  good  image and reputation  of the  seasoned administrator.

The  said  write up  born out of a petition authored by some citizens of the state had alleged that Professor Onyeneje, who was a former Rector of the Institute of science and Technology (IMT) Enugu, was sacked and indicted by a judicial panel of inquiry set up by the Enugu state government.

However, the  IMT  stakeholders in a petition  made available to African Examiner in Enugu, insisted that Onyeneje, “was neither sacked from office nor found guilty of maladministration by any judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Enugu State government during his tenure as Rector of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu.

 They stated that Prof. Onyeneje, left the school after a successful tenure that spanned five years from October 2007 to October 2011 and had served as a Deputy Vice Chancellor DVC  of  a University since then.

African Examiner recalls that  the  petitioners,  had in their petition dated April 12, 2021 signed by Winifred Asogwa, Steve Udegbunam,  Mrs. Veronica Ogbodo, Chukwuma Ugwuagbo and Onyemaechi Nnaji  and copied  relevant stakeholders in the Ministry of education, kicked against the appointment of Prof. Onyeneje as Rector of Ohodo federal Polytechnic, alleging that he was dismissed from office as Rector of IMT after being found wanting of maladministration by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Enugu State Government and has been under prosecution by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Commission ICPC since then.

They had sort for his replacement as Rector of the new polytechnic.

But responding to the petition, the IMT lecturers, led by one  Mr. Basil Offoh, stated that the petition against  the appointment of Onyeneje was borne out of ethnic sentiments, stressing that the “faceless petitioners wrote the petition because he (Onyeneje) is not from Enugu north senatorial zone where the school is located.

According to them, Onyeneje hails from Enugu West Senatorial district of the state.

In their counter petition to the Minister of Education, the  lecturers  urged him to sustain the appointment, and not to be deceived by the faceless group’s petition.

The counter petition signed by their lawyer, Benedict Oguine, the Lecturers stated that an Enugu state high court of 8th February 2013 had ordered that “no inquisition shall be conducted on the terms of reference of the judicial panel of inquiry constituted by the state government until it publishes a white paper on the recommendations of the said panel following the conclusion of its work”

They added that till date, there had not been any documentary evidence in public view to suggest that the panel had concluded its assignment and the state government published a white paper on the administration of Onyeneje at the IMT, Enugu.

“We do not, therefore,  know the source of the purported findings of the judicial panel of inquiry as assembled by the petitioners and swiftly targeted at the person and integrity of Prof Onyeneje, simply because he was appointed a pioneer Rector of Ohodo Federal Polytechnic.

“Assuming without conceding that these purported findings of the judicial panel are valid, they are subject to appeal at a court of competent jurisdiction and this constitutional right of Prof. Onyeneje can only be exercised when government publishes white paper as contemplated.

“We have not at any point concealed our desire to have a white paper on the recommendations of a judicial panel, if any, published to enable the public appreciate the political placenta that birthed the said judicial panel”, they stated.

The group attached a list of projects, executed at the Institution during the five year tenure of Onyeneje and which they claimed was submitted by the school’s management to the Judicial panel, stressing that “this document is a declaration by IMT Enugu itself that all the items alleged not to have been procured for the 2009 accreditation of programme were indeed 100% procured”.

They  further  stressed that it was in realization of the failure of the attempt to rubbish Onyeneje at the panel that the named petitioners wrote the ICPC, adding that “this is perhaps the petition that they claim was thoroughly investigated and subject of purported pending trial”.

Explaining that the current petition was politically motivated and being driven by ethnic bias, they stated that some known staff of the IMT, Enugu, allegedly from Enugu north senatorial zone had been indicted of fraud but continued to function in their various capacities.

They mentioned some of the indicted persons as Sylvanus Asogwa, Ifeanyi Ojobo and Lilian Ugwuanyi, adding that “they made plea bargain and were made prosecution witnesses and directed by ICPC to refund proceeds of the confessed crime. We submit that plea bargain amounts to acceptance of guilt and the refund serves as having served the sentence passed by the court.

“Similarly, Mr Sylvanus Asogwa was in 2011 appointed Registrar of IMT Enugu by the Enugu State government. Ifeanyi Ojobor was performing his duties as lecturer and Public Relations Officer. This is notwithstanding the fact that they accepted guilt and serving sentence of refund.

“The people of Enugu north senatorial zone did not see anything wrong with the above. They are yet to attack the Enugu state government for appointment of Osondu Eze as Provosts; the same way they attacked the federal government for appointing Prof. Onyeneje as Pioneer Rector of Ohodo federal Polytechnic’, they said

“Rather than vilify Onyeneje, they urged the petitioners to praise him for raising the bar at the IMT, stressing that the cause of the over-enrollment that led to the withdrawal of the accreditation of the school was poor funding which the panel that looked into the issue blamed on the state government.

“The state government demonstrated statesmanship by ostensibly accepting the blame and increasing the subvention of the IMT Enugu from N20million to N120 million and has sustained it under the current Rector. Despite this however, has over enrollment stopped from 2016 when the current Rector who is from Eugu north senatorial zone of Enugu state assumed office?”, they asked.

“The Federal Polytechnic Ohodo is a federal institution. It does not belong to Enugu state government and it is not the property of Enugu north senatorial zone. So,  let the petitioners from Enugu north senatorial zone be abreast with these facts and to know that anybody from any part of the country can be assigned to head the institution and work at the place.they stated.


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