A Lecture Presented by N. Anyachonkeya, PhD, on the Occasion of Induction Programme to Newly Recruited Staff of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, This 3rd Day of March, 2014
The Rector, Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana.
The Deputy Rectors
Other Principal Officers, Here Present,
Deans of Schools and Heads of Units,
Heads of Department,
Staff and Students of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana
I deem it a privilege to be invited to give an induction lecture to the newly recruited staff of this great Institution. This Lecture is entitled History, Vision, Mission and Core Values of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana.
The induction programme, which is similar to an orientation programme to proverbial fowls in a new environment, is germane enough as it will enable these newly recruited staff to familiarize themselves with the Polytechnic environment as well as acquaint them with the goal of Polytechnic education in Nigeria; but more importantly, it will enable them to internalize the mandate of this Polytechnic and appreciate why the Institution prides itself as the Massachusetts of Nigeria. Thus, by the end of this induction programme, you, the new staff in our midst, will be integrated into the Polytechnic Community, fully committed to work towards the attainment of the vision, mission of the Institution with the appurtenance of its core values which will be laid bare in this lecture.
You may not fit in well as a member of this microcosm when you are unaware of the history of the Polytechnic, for it is only when you know your history that you will be able to tell where you are coming from. Knowledge of the historical tradition of origin of the Institution, we fondly refer to as Poly-Unwana, is closely bound up with the vision and mission, which you embellish with the core values, the adjunct of this Lecture. Let us begin to open the parcel we have run the risk of scratching!
A Brief History of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana
Available records show that Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, is the oldest Federal Polytechnic, East of the Niger, that is, in the defunct Eastern Region. It was established in October 1981, following the appointment of the pioneer Rector, Engineer Ogbuada Benjamin Epelle, by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Institution took off at its Okposi Temporary Site, at the Federal Government College, Okposi.
On March 13, 1982, the first entrance examination was conducted for the pioneer students. A total number of one hundred and seventy-eight (178) students made up the first batch of the foundation students, who were offered admission on the 27th of May, 1982 to study Business Administration and Management, Secretarial Studies, Electrical/Electronics Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology, began as pioneer students.
The Department of Accountancy was established in the 1982/83 school year, while the Department of Civil Engineering Technology was added in the 1983/84 academic session.
On June 9, 1987, the Institution was moved from the temporary site at Okposi to Unwana, the permanent site, where it situates today.
The foundation stone of the permanent site was laid on April 30, 1982, by His Excellency, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In recognition of Dr. Akanu Ibiam’s contribution to humanity as an elder statesman, humanist, mwalimu (the respected teacher), great footballer of repute, missionary doctor, and social crusader, the Military President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda, in June 1987, graciously approved that Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, be renamed Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana.*
You would like to learn of the town in which the Institution situates. Unwana, (indeed, Unwara!) Town is approximately 150 km from Owerri, the Eastern Heartland and the Capital of Imo State; 160 km from Enugu, the political headquarters of the former Eastern Region; 57 km from Abakaliki, the Capital of Ebonyi State and 14 km from Afikpo.
Unwana lies on the shores of Cross River and it is endowed with pleasant and fascinating scenery congenial enough for academic work. The Cameroon Mountain can be sighted from Unwana and Afikpo on a clear day.
The location of the Polytechnic on the hills of Unwana before the Beach of Cross River (called Anyuum, by the natives) inform my song-poem entitled “Poly-Unwana Anthem”. The lines of the lyric poetry and its refrain are as follows:
*Source: Culled from The Academic Committee of the Stakeholders Forum, Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana (2006: 1-2). Upgrading Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, to Akanu Ibiam University.
Poly-Unwana, our dear Alma Mater!
On the undulating hills of Unwana
Before the Beach of Cross River
Graceful, Glittering, and Resplendent,
Flanked by, and couched in between
Afikpo and Unwana-Ohafia Federal highways
Great Poly-Unwana we Hail Thee!
Melting point of Afro-western technology.
Great citadel of Learing!
Centre for Skills excelling
Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic,
We Hail thee, our dear Alma mater
Poly-Unwana, first among equals
In South-East and South-South of Naija
Greatest in Nigerian Education
Great! Akanu Ibiam!…
First among equals…
Great, our dear Alma mater
Great Poly-Unwana, we Hail Thee!
Your today for greater tomorrow
For skills and technological freedom
Our great Patron of technology, par excellence,
Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic,
We hail, honour and adore thee!
Great Poly-Unwana we Hail thee!….
(Anyachonkeya, 22 April, 2010:155).
Ebonyi State, Salt of the Nation, as a whole, is predominantly agrarian and amply endowed with solid minerals, such as limestone, salt, stone, tin, among others. Ebonyi State has been described as an educationally disadvantaged State.
Vision of the Polytechnic
The 20th book of the Christian Bible, Proverbs 29: 18, philosophizes: “Where there is no vision the people go unrestrained” or “perish”, “but happy are they that are keeping the law.” From this excerpt, we discern that you should have a vision in whatever noble you may embark upon, be you an individual or a corporate person. The vision as applied in this essay agrees with the lexical entry of The Chambers Dictionary which ascribes it to a pleasing imaginative plan for, or anticipation of, future events. Vision, in other words, pertains to the act or power of perceiving imaginative mental images, imaginative perception or foresight. If your services to God and humanity in your workplace must impact positively on the lives of the people, you must dream dreams; that is, you have to philosophize in godliness.
Your vision must anchor or be pivoted on what we refer to as virtue-ethics. Vision-ethics is “ethical theory”, according to The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy (2000:593), “in which the concept of virtue is fundamental, in contrast to rule- or duty-based moral theories.” We find the theories – virtue – ethics and duty-based moral theories– relevant because in moral philosophy we are interested in right conduct rather than good character.
You applied for employment at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, and you secured the coveted job. Accept our congratulations! But, what is your vision? For you to be visionary you must be law-abiding. Recall that the Christian Bible, cited above, states that you and I are happy when we “are keeping the law.” Why? It is because a clear conscience is the coat of mail. When you discharge your duties in Godly fear, without cutting corners, you are happy; you go home at the end of each workday and sleep well, because you cheated no one, not even your employer! At the end of the month you receive an honest pay. Yes, in the present-day society we live in, honesty is a victim, a luxury, yet honesty remains the best policy. What do you say? Remember the national vision enshrined in the two national symbols which you probably were asked to recite, The National Anthem and the Pledge:
….To be faithful, loyal and honest
…..To serve Nigeria with all my strength….
….The labours of our heroes past
…..Shall never be in vain…!
Now you have bagged the highly elusive job, harness your personal vision and that of the Polytechnic to touch the lives of people, to God’s eternal glory. Remember that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. The vision of the Polytechnic is encapsulated in its motto: Skill for Technological Freedom. Whether you are an academic staff or a non-academic staff, we have a point of interception; we work jointly, in complementary distribution, to produce highly skilled, versatile and God-fearing graduates or manpower that will meet international benchmark of excellence for the nation’s labour market or the labour market of the international community. Where there is no vision, the people decay; remember this always.
Mission of the Polytechnic
The mission of the polytechnic is enshrined in its motto, mentioned above, which is: “Skill for Technological Freedom.” The Institution, as an inanimate entity, will not achieve it on its own. Rather it is you and I, principally, who are the unique gladiators; we are among the stakeholders who will actualize the mission of the Polytechnic.
Individually though, we have our mission statement, call it a solemn resolve, what you will contribute by way of your services for which posterity will remember you, not just to earn your meal ticked to care for your individual families. Ensure to serve the Polytechnic in such a manner that you will be remembered when you or I quit the stage, either by geographical mobility of labour or by joining our ancestors, either of which is imperative. You and I will work to show our discipline which is ours; we work to fit into the aperture of those Nnamdi Azikiwe (v, 195)has dedicated his life story, entitled My Odyssey: An Autobiography, which he says: “to those who continue to do good, in spite of man’s ingratitude.” In this timeless work of his, Azikiwe regales us in didacticism the mission (statement) of the Americans, when he says:
Self-reliance has enabled Americans to build the mightiest nation on the face of the earth. Hard work has enabled them to establish the highest standard of living and remuneration for work in the whole world. Philanthropy de-monstrates the humanistic philosophy of these pioneers and the spiritual nature of their make-up as fellow human beings, thus justifying the exodus of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ in the seventeenth century, who defied the dangers of the Atlantic, fervently believing that, although their ancestors were ‘chained in prisons dark’, yet they did not mortgage their conscience to the forces of oppresssion, intolerance and inhumanity.
We are not yet done with Azikiwe whose mission statement formed the philosophic vision of the University of Nigeria. On his mission statement on this first autonomous University, this political dynamo states:
“To seek the Truth,
To teach the Truth,
To Preserve the Truth and thereby
To Restore the Dignity of Man (italics ours).”
Zik expatiates on the basis of human dignity, which, according to him, is
“…a restitution of man’s inalienable birthright to social
equality, economic security, political freedom and religi-
ous tolerance. These abstract notions form the basis of
man’s fundamental rights without which there would be neither regard nor respect for human dignity.
Back home, in Poly-Unwana, I cite the mission statement of Francis O. Otunta, who I describe as a “Daniel and a (Black) Moses…on board to cleanse the Augean Stables”, and who is “(e)xploring (and) charting a new horizon for the Polytechnic”, and whose mission statement, among other things, “is to build a pilot tertiary institution that will be 21st century compliant” (Memorandum on Upgrading Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, to Akanu Ibiam University 2006:4). Professor Otunta (2006:23) vows to leave “Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, better than (he) saw it.”
I have cited these humble but great men of our time from varying backgrounds and era so that we may reflect on their mission statements and reconsider. Let it also be our resolve to leave this place better than we saw it. We have to work to cut a niche for ourselves. What are you in real life? I was wondering why somebody didn’t do something; then I remembered I was somebody!
We now deliberate on the last subtask of this essay, core values.
Core Values of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana
Values are abstract notions which serve as guideposts to successful living. Values are of epistemological discourse, for they enable us to establish boundaries and confines of the Golden Rule and form the basis of Philosophical Thought. For instance, in attitude research, “values are ideas held by people about ethical behavior or appropriate behavior, what is right or wrong, desirable or despicable.” Philosophers, in like manner, consider “values as part of ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy” (Scott and Marshall 2005:685).
The core values comprise truth, honesty, cooperation, dignity of labour, peaceful coexistence, fear of God, respect for elders and those in position of authority, community participation, etc. These values are acquired at home (through socialization process that is characteristic of informal education), the school, the church, the mass media and the society.
All of us come from families, be it family of orientation or family of procreation. The family, the foremost agent of socialization, the minuscule of the society and primary agency of social change, is the first human setting where desirable and undesirable values are formed and cultivated. To develop the right psyche germane enough to move this Polytechnic to the next level, Anyachonkeya (2010: 61) talks about the role of the family. According to him:
Every member of the family must play his role to make the family succeed, since the family is a minuscule of the Nigerian society. Christian (or any other religion) should practice religion of the Bible as doing so would mean living up to God’s righteous standards. Families should avail their members good education; by good education we mean balanced education, the education that must be pivoted on divine instruction, traditional education and formal education.
The right or balanced education, whether it is formal or informal, should impart the right attitude and values in the learner. That is the type of education, Milton, quoted in Schofield (980:31), talks about. He defines the education as “a complete and generous education (as) that which fits a man to perform justly, skillfully and magnanimously, all the offices, both public and private, of peace and war.”
The core values we espouse to all of us today, for this Institution, especially you, our new colleagues, are available in our cultures. That is why we define culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (Tylor, quoted in Ezewu, et al 1981:34). These are solidly entrenched in our cultures which are transmitted to every member of society through informal education with the mother tongue (the DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid of culture) as vehicle by means of socialization process. You or I are or am pitiable if we or I failed to pass through the social heritage of our culture at home. Fafunwa (1982: 20) gives us the resume of the package of traditional African Education. These seven cardinal goals, according to him, are:
We argue that if you are born and bred in your culture, by being absorbed in your cultural mores, you will not engage in societal anomie outside your cultural ambience or in your workplace. Sadly, what we find today by those who are entrusted with public treasures makes the heart bleed. Civil and public servants no longer live up to their calling. If I may reel out from our proverbial genre: The bad or evil rat has evaded the palm tree abode; the abode has been in disarray! (Ajo oke abanyene na aboo, aboo aghasasiala!). Okigbo (1983: 28) joins us in this lamentation, when he berates the polarized social set up:
We see around us signs that the values and principles which the older generations appeared to consider as basic have now been relaxed into permissive behavior. There is mounting evidence that the doctor — no matter where he trains – pursues his fees even at the risk of the health of the patient; that the administrator – down to the lowliest clerk – openly buys and sells his services; that the judge dispenses justice according to the size of the purse of the litigants, that the priest lives a lie while he preaches chastity and purity. How else can we explain a situation in which the prophet cheats his priests, the priest his congregation, the judge the accused, the teacher the student, the doctor the patient, and the ruler his subjects. In such a situation where everybody seems to rob and cheat everybody else, no system of values can hold for long.
We do not relent simply because there seems to be no much cohesion in the society, because things appear to have fallen apart. It is the very honest few in our society that hold the societal cohesion and conscience intact. So make it your goal to be among the chosen few who will work to uplift Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, who through your enviable conduct, will lift Akanu Federal University of Science and Technology, Unwana I dare say!
Do not join the foolish majority among the staff and students through ignoble conduct that brings reproach to God. You could do this when you find yourself in challenging sharp business practices – apriko – or in the fold of the family black sheep of this community in either of some fifty-one secret cults we find in our tertiary institutions today and say “NO!” (Mgbemena 2009: 62, 63). Remember that the leg that does ambivalent moves, the eye that looks ambivalently spots it! (Ukwu na eje waam-wam, anya na ele waam-waam, na ahu ya!)
Having gone this far, you, the new entrants into the workforce of the Polytechnic, will be able to tell, explain, discuss the history, vision, mission and core values of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana. You will be able to justify to your critics and friends why you should work to show your goodness at work by being committed, devoted, diligent, conscientious, hard-working, cooperative, truthful, transparent, respectful, and above all, God-fearing. If you keep to this code of conduct, it shall be well with you! It shall also be well with Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana!
You are welcome! Ika abuo! Sannu nku da azua! Unu abialaa! Ndi nke anyi, unu jookwaa!
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