Indications have emerged on how the wage bill of the Abia state Polytechnic, Aba, skyrocketed to an outrageous N180 million, monthly.
Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnic, (SSANIP,)Abia Polytechnic chapter, Comrade Nwachukwu Chuks, blamed indiscriminate employment of workers by past administrations as the reason behind the huge monthly wage bill confronting the institution.
It was gathered that the monthly wage bill of the Polytechnic stands at N180 million with a staff strength of 1,400, comprising 99 gatemen, 50 health workers and 44 library workers.
Nwachukwu who stated in a chat with our correspondent in Aba, said over the years, the recruitment pattern in the Polytechnic was bastardized, as succeeding Rectors and governing councils, secretly recruited workers to meet their interest.
He disclosed that there was massive employment of workers in 2015 and 2016 sessions when some past management teams in the Polytechnic told the staff unions that the government had sent list of people to be employed as workers.
According to him, “The problem is that the recruitment pattern in Abia Polytechnic was bastardized over the years. Without considering the needs of the Polytechnic, every Rector who came in, recruits; every governing council that comes on stream, recruit to meet their own interests. When the staff Unions asked question, they told us that government sent a list of people to be employed.
“There was massive recruitment in 2015 and 2016 in this Polytechnic. But the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji, was bold to say that since the present administration came in, it has never sent a name to anybody to employment in the Polytechnic, that we can confirm from the governor.”
The SSANIP chairman stated that efforts by the staff unions to ensure that the Polytechnic was managed in conformity with global practices, led to conflict with past management teams.
“The staff unions have always ensured that Abia Polytechnic is run in conformity with global standards. On the issue of bloated staff strength, is it the unions that employs? Who recruits staff? Is the union part of the recruiting structure? Did they inform the unions that they were recruiting? Did they declare vacancy? They are the ones who recruit.
“They are the ones who know whether there is a government waiver or not. They always claimed that government sent a list of people to be employed. Anytime they recruit people, those recruited become members of the unions who have a priority to protect their welfare.
“If you are downsizing or retiring workers, the unions have a role to play. There are acceptable minimum standard for doing things, Abia Polytechnic should not be an exception. This is why we told the former governing council that they can’t run the institution like a cult. We insisted that the Polytechnic should be run like a public institution. Then, they started accusing us of being political and confrontational.”