As Abia Poly Mass Communications Depart kicks off, By Keshi O. Ukegbu

The entire Abia State Polytechnic, Aba community is agog. The drums have been rolled out for celebration and merry chants are reverberating across the polytechnic. The long-awaited mass communication department of the institution has taken off.

The journey can be best described as “The Journey of the Magi” which narrates the ordeals of the three wise men, referred as the Magi, in search of the new born Christ.The course was for nearly two decades delisted as a course of study in the institution but was recently reintroduced by the management.Nearly two decades after the course was delisted it has been reintroduced by the management.

The department is headed by an erudite scholar, Uwaoma Uche, an associate professor, and will train students in journalism, public relations and advertising.

The acting rector of the institution, Prof. Ezionye Eboh believes that reestablishing the department is apt considering the proliferation of private radio and television houses in Aba, one of the economic hubs of the country.It will be recalled that the mass communication department department of the institution took off as a certificate course in 1992/1993. Later an advanced certificate course was introduced in 1993/94. The department was headed by Mr. C Ijiomah who later rise to the rectorship position of the institution.Already, over 30 students have enrolled for the programme.

Prof. Eboh has recorded several achievements since he assumed the acting rectorship of the institution. These achievements include reducing the salary profile of staff, plugging leakages in the polytechnic by streamlining the payment structure, among others. Indeed, Eboh has exceeded every expectation for the ailing institution, which was in distress before he assumed office as the rector of the institution. Also, for the rector to bring down to an appreciable level the soaring wage bill is no mean feat. Eboh’s achievements are not restricted to cutting down the soaring wage bill of the institution, but his Midas touch has affected other areas which were critically affecting the institution.

The institution has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two organizations: the Association of Tailors and Fashion Designers (ATFAD) and Leather Products Manufacturers Association of Nigeria. The MoU is part of the institution’s numerous efforts to boost the business activities of Aba metropolis. His words: “It is our way of giving back to the city of Aba, as an institution that is socially responsible.”

The three-month programme targets small and medium manufacturers in the city and would ensure that every member of the associations in the city is acquainted with the basic skills of doing business. Also, the courses outlined in the MoU are Basic Mathematics, Basic Management Principles, Basic English and Basic Book Keeping.

It will be worthy to note that the MoU coincides with a similar one the institution signed with Green Field, to provide Social Health Insurance Programme for students of the polytechnic at no extra cost, after enrollment.From all ramifications the MoU is apt at this period Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, is on a steady march to fulfill the appellation “Japan of Africa”. By the Professor’s projection, God willing and other things being equal, the programme will train about 10,000 artisans in the years ahead.“If our plan works out, in the next two years, we will have trained about 10,000 artisans”.

It is indisputable that Abia Polytechnic has great contribution in the current stride of Aba to sustain its status as the SME-hub of the country. The institution is the biggest public institution in the city and has the mandate of providing manpower for the state’s drive towards technology.
The three months certificate programme is a transformation process for the artisans, upgrading them from local artisans to world-class entrepreneurs, who are empowered with certificates. To buttress this, Eboh noted: “We’ll also train them on how to separate self from business, especially in terms of their finances. “Of course, we will teach them the basics in cleanliness, rudimentary English, and self-confidence. We hope that this effort is in energy with a whole lot of other activities being undertaken by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration, and we have no doubt this will positively alter the business of Aba within the next couple of years.”

To block leakages in the revenue of the institution, every financial transaction in the institution is now made through the bank to avoid misappropriation, while admission and checking of results and other processes are now done online. This is to discourage time wastage. Also, efforts are now on top gear to rejig the internally-generated revenue process of the institution for improvement and to reduce the dependency of the institution on the state government.

It is necessary that the internally-generated revenue process of the institution is rejigged, to ensure that the level of dependence of the institution on the state government is reduced.