By: Ugochukwu Iwuji

Federal Polytechnic Nekede is once more on the threshold of history. The dream of a second campus for the reputable polytechnic has been realized. This has been made possible through the uncommon leadership efforts of the Rector, Engr. Dr. Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa. It was he who saw the need for a second campus and began to work assiduously towards its realization.

The prospect of acquiring a second campus was quite challenging due to logistic and funding gaps. Yet the Rector and his Management team forged ahead with courage. This is a lesson in commitment and focus which defines any transformational leadership. Today, the second campus of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede has become an exciting reality.

The campus is not just a fallow ground awaiting development. It is not just a place with few buildings that would get better with time. Rather, it is a site completely built up and awaiting commissioning, as it was originally constructed by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, as a skill acquisition centre. It was therefore a huge relief when a letter of approval for the takeover of the facility came from the President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR. For the Rector and his Management, it was a moment of great joy and fulfilment.

Accordingly, all roads lead to Abaezi Egbema tomorrow, Thursday, April 27, 2023, for the official handover of the Skill Acquisition Centre to Federal Polytechnic Nekede by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Expected to commission the centre on behalf of Mr. President is the Executive Governor of Imo State, Dist. Sen Hope Uzodinma. Also expected at the epoch-making event are the Ministers and officials of the Federal Ministries of Niger Delta Affairs and Education, National and State Assembly members, Governing Council Chairman, Rector and officials of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, royal fathers and the general public.

The centre virtually has all the facilities needed in a modern tertiary institution such as: an administrative block, technical blocks, a conference auditorium, an ICT block, a cafeteria building, 2 units of hostel blocks for Male and Female, 3 units of four-bedroom detached duplexes, 4 units of four-bedroom semi-detached duplexes, 4 blocks of 16 units of 2-bedroom flats, 4 units of two-bedroom semi-detached bungalows, clinic, ware house/store, road networks, sports facilities, drainages, covered walkways, generator house, power supply, water treatment plant, water reticulation and supply, electrical supply and landscaping.

In almost five years of his stewardship as 8th substantive Rector of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Engr. Dr. Michael Arimanwa has made so many landmark achievements. The infrastructure of the polytechnic has been expanded in an outstanding manner. Thus, there are so many classroom blocks, office blocks and workshops to enhance the business of teaching and learning. There is also a well-paved internal road network which makes access around the polytechnic easy.

Similarly, roads leading to the institution have been constructed owing to the Rector’s synergy with relevant government agencies. For instance, he brought the Ecological Office at the Presidency which controlled the erosion menace around the polytechnic environment, and reconstructed the dual carriage way leading to the institution from Umuerim Nekede. He also got the Federal Ministry of Works which constructed the road leading to the polytechnic from Maternity Junction, along Nekede-Ihiagwa Road.

Laboratories have been well equipped to give students practical knowledge of what they are studying. The Polytechnic Library has been upgraded to run an e-library service, which makes all kinds of academic materials available for research purposes. The Polytechnic Medical Centre has also been upgraded with state-of-the-art facilities. In fact, the centre has been adjudged the best among tertiary institutions in the South and among the best three in the country.

Under the stewardship of Engr. Dr Michael Arimanwa, the Federal Polytechnic Nekede has been adjudged best-performing and most-sought-after polytechnic by relevant government bodies.The Rector himself has won best Rector award for five times.

The visibility of the polytechnic has tremendously improved in the area of research and ICT. The polytechnic has for instance accessed over Four Hundred Million Naira from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for research and innovation. This was responsible for the high rate of technological inventions in the institution, ranging from an electric car to a fuelless generator.

The institution has also been designated as Centre of Excellence by TETFund owing to its ambitious ICT development. Notably, the Federal Polytechnic Nekede operates a smart campus system where virtually all operations are digitized. There are also paperless Academic Board Meetings and Council meetings already conducted in the institution.

Elections among staff and students are conducted electronically and winners and losers emerge through a most transparent process devoid of bickering and violence. The institution is also under a 24-hour security surveillance made possible through strategically located security cameras. The institution enjoys a robust internet service enhanced by underground fiber optic cables that run across the entirety of the polytechnic. Recently, the Federal Government selected the polytechnic as one of the few institutions for broadband internet development.
The polytechnic under Arimanwa has not lost any accreditation, instead more courses have been added to the curriculum. The Rector met the number of schools (faculties) in the institution at five, but has increased it to eight. There were barely forty programmes run in the institution before he became Rector, but the polytechnic today runs over fifty programmes.

Under his watch, some departments have been unbundled and others are awaiting unbundling. His performance in curriculum development has been commendable.

The Arimanwa administration has made an indelible mark in the area of linkages and interventions, with so many Memoranda of Understanding signed with reputable firms and organisations within and outside Nigeria.

These agreements have effectively linked up the polytechnic for timely interventions by these organizations. Only last year, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria donated and commissioned a modern bankers hall for the institution. Innoson Motors now plays host to students of Mechatronics Engineering of the polytechnic on industrial training. Through the MoU signed with Lofty Farms of Togo, the polytechnic has established a modern tilapia fish farm estate which will be a pride of the fishery value chain in Nigeria.

The acquisition of a second campus is a new dawn for the education industry in Nigeria. It will expand the frontiers of polytechnic education in Nigeria. It will afford more candidates opportunity to obtain tertiary education. It will also create room for more courses to be run by the polytechnic.

Above all, it is a rare opportunity for qualified scholars to gain grounds to express their intellectual erudition for the betterment of the society. Thus, the Arimanwa administration has not only created room for polytechnic education to expand and thrive, it has also created veritable grounds for humanity to prevail.

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