The importance of story and their telling is self-evident. We are who we are as a result of the time tested art of storytelling. Our identity as a nation, as a people and as institution is a product of a story. Although our original identity, in the course of time, may be negotiated by a number of factors, the truth about our becoming cannot be completely obliterated.
Therefore, either as a people, or institution, we must learn to tell our own story to the world. We must take control of the means by which people perceive and represent us. To be able to do this, we must learn to tell and re-tell our own stories.
Just like the proverbial “until the lion learns to tell his own story, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter” accurately describes the reason why telling one’s own story amounts to giving a true picture of who one is, what he does and represents.
In other words, stories narrate information about us, either as individuals, as a people, as an institution, or as a nation. In fact, this proverb of the lion taking control of his own story has since become a widely exploited metaphor for deconstructing colonial discourses and the basis for reinterpreting them. The story thus far is simply saying that we are what we are because of the stories we tell. We are a people and a nation because of the narrations woven around and about us.
Consequently, our survival is tied to our ability to tell our own stories over and over again. People, institutions and nations die from the moment they are unable to tell and sustain stories about themselves. It is for this reason that I set out to recite the Brand’s (Professor Ikonne) footprint at Abia State Polytechnic Aba.
For records, He took over the mantle of leadership at Abia State Polytechnic on the 20th day November 2014, following the announcement by the immediate past governor of Abia State Chief T.A Orji, who described the appointment as a rescue mission.
Indeed, it was a rescue mission because as at the time of this appointment, the institution was under lock and key. The Polytechnic was in disarray; Staff were been owed eight months salary arrears, Infrastructural state of the institution was in a pitiable State; indiscipline was the order of the day, mismanagement of fund and other resources, to mention but a few.
Upon assumption, Professor Ikonne, a man with clare comprehension of the situation on ground, vowed to return the Polytechnic to a universally accepted tradition. This He did diligently.
Within his 14 months sojourn at the Polytechnic, He returned the teaching and non-teaching staff of the institution to work through peaceful dialogue, regular payments of salaries, that as at the time he left, salaries were almost up-to-date.
He convinced the State Government led by His Excellency, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu Ph.D, to take over two billion naira internal debt incurred by the previous administration.
Being aware of the negative implication for an institution to run multiple account without appropriate approval, He closed down all illegal accounts and introduced a single treasury account.
He improved the internally generated revenue of the institution by reviving the Polytechnic canteen (Peperony, Hospitality Department) He introduced the production of Abia State Polytechnic Bottled Water through partnership, to mention but a few.
On infrastructure, Prof. Ikonne constructed the 2kilometer entrance road that leads to the Administrative Complex, Students Affairs Directorate, Sports Complex and SUG Secretariat popularly known as Elephant building. He also floored Administrative Complex entrance and its environs with cement technology; Constructed a new Polytechnic entrance gate and renovated the fence to enable the institution wear a new look through the assistance of Slot LTD.
Beyond payment of salaries, He approved all delayed staff promotion, pursued vigorously the establishments of necessary and relevant academic programs for national development, encouraged vibrant academic culture through research and community services, to mention but a few.
To be continued….