The outgoing Provost of the College of Education, Technical, Asaba, Dr Ignatious Ezoem, has said his greatest achievement was his survival both spiritually and physically in the past eight years as against past leaderships.
The institution is known for subjecting its management to sickness, untimely death and other sufferings thereby making leadership positions less attractive to both academic and non-academic staff.
Ezoem made the revelation at a press briefing held to announce the formal change in leadership of the institution from Dr Ezoem after eight years as provost to another Deltan, Dr Mrs Anene Okafor.
Ezoem, who was reeling out some of the achievements of the institution under his leadership, said he would love to be remembered for his detribalised nature of encouraging the best to occupy positions of responsibility irrespective of one’s tribe, religion or region.
He said his leadership had addressed fraudulent practices by introducing Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to check both financial and academic malpractices.
“If you are involved in stealing or fraud, you will be dismissed. We have sanctioned some in the past although we don’t believe in executing double jeopardy rather we are guided by our statute books.”
Ezoem assured that sooner or later, the college would transform to a full fledge university as he said the university status has passed its second reading at the National Assembly.
Addressing question on low enrolment, Ezoem tagged it a national malaise, noting that it was due to the trend where every school leaver preferred university or polytechnic education but expressed delight that even though he met about 1,000 students, the school enrolment had increased to over 4,000.
According to the outgoing provost, the management under his leadership expanded the number of schools in the institution from two to seven, adding that all the NCE programmes had full accreditation.
Responding to a question on how the institution was coping with the bottlenecks of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Ezoem said: “The TSA is not an impediment to achievement; it says all your programmes and money generated should be put on a platform for public scrutiny. It has nothing to do with underdevelopment.”
The college, he further noted, had been repositioned into a degree awarding institution affiliated to the University of Benin, explaining that its curriculum was strictly monitored by the board in charge of Colleges of Education in the federation for the attainment of standard.
Ezoem, who assumed office April 26, 2011 in his first tenure under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration and was renewed in 2015 by the government of President Muhamadu Buhari, said he experienced many challenges with paucity of funds as chief among them but noted philosophically that the challenges served as avenues for development of the institution.
The Chairman of the Governing Council of the college, Hon. Funsho Ibrahim, while eulogising the administrative acumen of Dr Ezoem, stated that his “chemistry naturally mixed well with the outgoing provost,” adding that providence brought them together.
He described Dr Ezoem as one endued with intelligence yet very humble in service, stating that such features had helped him to achieve greatness as provost.
Ibrahim, while bemoaning the lack of technical manpower in the country, praised the outgoing provost for setting up the Centre For Automotive Technology, saying it was one of the provost greatest achievement and would boost technical capacity as against mere paper qualification prevalent in the country.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, represented by his vice, Comrade Patrick Ochei, stated that Ezoem leadership brought visibility to the college, saying he was leaving a good shoe behind and that his success would find it very easy to wear.
The chairman urged the retiring provost not to allow retirement to stop him from contributing to the development of his community, state and country at large.