There was so much joy in and around Cross River State recently, when the federal government announced the approval of a polytechnic to be sited at Ugep in the central senatorial district of the state.
The government followed up that announcement with a promise to release a take -off grant of N2 billion. The new polytechnic is scheduled to take off in October this year. Immediately after the announcement, the elated people of Yakurr Local Government, the host, met and resolved to donate massive land for construction work, in readiness for the take-off. But while waiting for the federal government to release the funds for construction work at the proposed site, the chiefs and elders approached the state government to allow the use of the state-owned Institute of Management Technology located at the same local government, to enable the officials to resume, from where they would be working towards achieving set targets at the permanent site.
There were reports that apart from the chiefs and elders of Yakurr who approached the governor for the facility, the new rector, Prof Edward Ntui had also made efforts to see the governor in connection with the same issue, but could not. There were insinuations that the governor may have refused to grant the request for the school to take off from the existing IMT because he did not play any role in the actualization of the school project.
Granted that the polytechnic dream actually started when Dr Alex Egbona, the member, House of Representatives for Abi/Yakurr Federal constituency sponsored a bill for the establishment of a polytechnic, with a proposed site at Abi, and with follow-up actions from prominent sons of Yakurr who had also pushed for a polytechnic to be located in their domain; the fact that the federal government eventually decided to consider Ugep as location for the school should be something to cheer about, by everybody.
Afterall, Egbona who started the push did not insist on getting the school located in his local government but had to join hands with his Yakurr people to ensure that the school is established in the first place and adequate grounds prepared for its take-off.
Moreover, the IMT has not seen full academic activities for some years now, due to funding issues. So, it would have been expected that the state government should gladly oblige and allow the school to take off smoothly from that facility, especially considering the fact that most of the students that will be admitted there would be from Cross River.
Our considered opinion therefore is that the state government should hasten and engage the new management of the polytechnic as well as the Yakurr people, to ensure that the school takes off in October as scheduled.
We are also urging the federal government to double up efforts in releasing the N2billion grant so that the school can meet up with immediate needs at the permanent location which has already been donated by the Yakurr people, for the project.
Nobody should strive to take credit for the establishment of the project and then frustrate efforts at resumption of academic activities. But all hands need to be on deck, as the students are waiting in the wings to get into the classrooms and begin a new chapter of their life.