(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Stakeholders at the public hearing on the the Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic Amendment Bill 2017 organised by the Rivers State House of Assembly, including Comrade D. Usman, national president of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics in Nigeria, have called for the reduction in the number of Governing Council members of the polytechnic. They also demanded for more appointees from within, more than five as it is now out of 20, and less number of politicians who are not conversant with the workings of the institution.
Making their presentations at the public hearing at the Rivers State House f Assembly auditorium, the stakeholders, made up of Academic Staff Union, Non – Academic Staff Union, students and host communities demanded among other things, clear determination of the number of times the Governing Council should sit, including emergency meetings, as according to them, the current board, made up of some persons who are not conversant with the workings of the system, sit too frequently, thereby draining the lean finances of the institution.
There were also demands for the host community, Zaakpon, to be reflected in the name of the institution; similar treatment for hosts of the new campus in Tai, while Directors of Academic Units should be referred to as deans and others heading non- academic units retain the title of directors.
At the public hearing where Comrade Usman was represented by Chibuzor Asomowa, stakeholders also proposed extension of retirement age to 60.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Education, Hon. Doctor Farah Dagogo, has observed that the law setting up the Kenule Beeson Saro -Wiwa Polytechnic is being repealed inorder to upgrade the polytechnic in tune with current realities.
Speaking at the Public Hearing for the Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic Bill, 2017, Hon. Farah Dagogo recalled that the law establishing the Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori, was promulgated on 12th March, 1989 under a military regime, and only witnessed one amendment since inception to reflect change of name from Rivers State Polytechnic to Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic in 2016.
He said the new bill, in addition to repealing the old law, is introducing some changes in line with the benchmarks approved by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
On his part, Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani, who was represented by the Majority Leader, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, said he has explicit faith in the ability of the committee to do a thorough job.
He said the Assembly remains committed to making laws that would strengthen Institutions in the state.