Just few weeks after his induction into the 9th Republic House of Representatives, Hon. Alex Egbona, representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency hurriedly submitted a proposal for a bill seeking to establish a Federal Polytechnic in Abi LGA even when he was yet to meet with the House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to find out if there was space to accommodate more tertiary institution establishment bills in addition to the existing eighty(80) bills on the floor of both chambers of the National Assembly.
Without consulting the Ministry of Education and without holding a town hall meeting to ascertain the prevailing needs of his people, but rather, being driven by emotions arising from the excitement that accompanied the new environment he found himself, Hon. Alex had wanted to give his believers the impression that he was no less better than Rt. Hon Jarigbe Agom, author of the proposed Federal Institute of Technology, Ogoja Bill, currently awaiting Mr. President’s assent.
To proceed, it is worthy to note that aside Hon. Jarigbe’s unassented bill, Sen. Owan Enoh had once proposed a bill for the establishment of a Federal Polytechnic Ikom and Sen. Gershom Bassey also has proposed a bill for the establishment of a Federal College of Forestry Akamkpa; all of which the Federal Government is unwilling to approve. At this point in our existence, the Federal Government can not approve the establishment of any tertiary institution in Cross River State, the reason is not farfetched and I will tell you why.
The government of then President Goodluck Jonathan established about nine(9) federal polytechnics amidst debates for upgrade of already existing ones instead of creating new set of not-fully-equiped institutions. Against this backdrop, the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari has made it a responsibility to, instead, step-up existing institutions, rather than set up new ones, but I am sure Hon. Alex is unaware of this.
Taking a look at the topography of Abi Local Government Area, one can vehemently say that any journey for a federal institution in that terrain is a journey to nowhere. Abi LGA is bounded to the North by Ikwo LGA and to the West by Afikpo LGA both LGAs in Ebonyi State. At the moment, there is a Federal University of Technology in Ikwo LGA and there is a Federal Polytechnic in Afikpo. Both bordering LGAs are, but a stone-throw from Abi LGA.
Thus, Hon. Alex Egbona’s proposed Federal Polytechnic Bill is nothing but a chase of the wind!
To some of us, this wind chase is an eye-opener to the yet to be understood sense of humor with-which Hon. Alex wants to treat the Yakurr segment of this constituency. For example, in Ugep, there is already a State-owned Institute of Technology & Management (ITM) operating under acute financial dearth, no thanks to the state’s lean resources. One would have thought that if Hon. Alex wants to reason along the lines of educational services, he should be contemplating on lifting ITM Ugep off the shoulders of the state to that of the federal government. ITM Ugep is fully operational with some requisite facilities. In this instance, all that the Federal Government needs to do was to expand the scope of work and inject more funds as well as setting up a few structures. This way, it was easier to have a federal institution in the constituency than birthing a new one – an idea that is practically unattainable.
It is a new low for Dr. Alex to propose a federal polytechnic to be located in his village secondary school in Egboronyi his alma mater while he ignores all the modern infrastructure in ITM Ugep easily suitable for a federal university of technology. Howbeit, aside that his federal institution dreams are not attainable, Ekureku, his community has no water, no internal roads, no cottage hospital, the primary healthcare found there is in a deplorable state, no single industry or hotel, no filing station as compared to neighbouring Abomege in Ebonyi State.
This brings us to the question still begging for an answer; “Asiding dolling out money, does Dr. Alex knows what the people really need”?
There are two(2) functional facilities in Abi LGA; the School of Nursing Itigidi and the Songhai Farm. Also, there is one facility in Yakurr; ITM, Ugep. One would think that a good federal representation should be able to give these facilities a “federal link” to transfer them from the state to federal budget. This, in my understanding, was one of the major priorities of Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo, the PDP candidate in the recent Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency election.
In my opinion, Dr. Alex Egbona needs to recruit new set of advisers as the current ones have shown to be not too impressive and helpful to a man who has less than sixty(60) days before he will be known as a “one time Federal Lawmaker”, thanks to the Tribunal ruling that has ordered INEC to retrieve the Certificate of Return from Egbona and deliver it to Rt. Hon. John Gaul who gathered the lawful majority votes. Though this judgement is in contest at the Appeal Court, Egbona’s hope is nebulous.
Mazi Onun Endurance