By Uche Okoroafor
It is a settled matter in law that he who has the power to hire also has the power to fire, the circumstances notwithstanding. It is also settled matter in nature that you cannot give what you don’t have. But what is not settled is when a lecturer at the nadir of his career suddenly wants to become the head of the institution with only greed,envy and hatred as his main qualifications. What is also not settled is when that lowly rated lecturer, converted from an ordinary clerk hides under unionism to cast aspersions on the Governor of the state and management of the college all in a bid realise his Lilliputian ambition.
If Kelvin Egesi, the disgraced former staff of Abia State College of Education, Technical, Arochukwu (ASCETA),had any modicum of reputation before he was sacked, he finally shed it in a write up where he blatantly accused Gov Okezie Victor Ikpeazu of not knowing his job through the appointment of Dr Phillips Nto as the Provost of ASCETA in 2016. He said Nto who obtained a PhD in 2010 and had been a lecturer at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike,was not qualified because he didn’t have any qualification in education. Egesi cheekily declared that he is more qualified to be the Provost because he has a diploma from NTI.
Unfortunately, Egesi being an academic dwarf and mentally lazy forgot that the Edict establishing ASCETA never mentioned such. He also forgot that when he was converted to academic staff that he didn’t have any certificate in education. But more fundamentally,how is it possible that a man who had been a lecturer in a university for years, graduating those who teach in a college of education, cannot head that same institution?
Be that as it may, the achievements of Nto as Provost of ASCETA in the last six years have given a lie to such idiotic postulations. ASCETA was a glorified secondary school when Nto took over. It was overgrown with weeds and reptiles. It was not even connected to national grid. The NCCE had withdrawn accreditation from most of the courses in the college. TETFUND had blacklisted the institution. Despondency pervaded everywhere. Nto , through the intervention of His Excellency, Gov Okezie Victor Ikpeazu ,has reversed all that. Those in doubt should take a trip to the college to behold the tremendous transformation wrought there in the last six years.
But Egesi and the cabal are not happy with Nto. He killed the goose laying corrupt and maggot infested eggs for them. Dr Phillips Nto in accordance with NCCE guidelines stopped the bazaar they called study centres through which non students were masquerading as graduates of ASCETA after coughing out thousands of Naira to Kelvin Egesi and his cohorts. Dr Phillips Nto thought he was on the right mission to restore the dignity of ASCETA certificates. But no, he greatly offended Egesi and the cabal . So when you hear of ASCETA having thousands of students before Nto assumed office, they were actually traders who sought to buy certificates from ASCETA.
Funny enough, the certificates were not even given to anyone including the genuine student graduates. It took the coming of Dr Phillips Nto as Provost for graduates of ASCETA to know what their certificates look like. For more than two decades, all former Provosts did not fetch those certificates from NCCE. It was only the man without any certificate in education that got them.
It was also only Dr Phillips Nto as Provost that reversed the blacklisting of ASCETA by TETFUND, another matter that Kelvin Egesi holds against him. He would rather that Nto left the situation obtuse so that no progress will be recorded. It is on record that since ASCETA started accessing TETFUND that the physical infrastructure in the college has improved. No fewer than 10 solid buildings comprising lecture halls, auditorium,world class library, offices for staff and others have been erected,thus changing positively the landscape of the institution. To Kelvin Egesi, that is a mortal sin . The money he made through conferences and teaching practice from TETFUND also ought to be a sin. Before now,no lecturer from ASCETA had such a privilege. The college has up to One billion Naira for further studies in tetfund, but the lecturers are not coming up with brilliant academic proposals to access them. Some like Kelvin Egesi would rather romance with opposition politicians like they did in 2019 when they boasted openly that Gov Okezie Victor Ikpeazu would not be reelected. To their shame, he is about serving out his second tenure and move to Abuja as a Senator.
Egesi lied against the governor and the management when he claimed that he was sacked because he complained over the death of a staff for non payment of salaries. First and foremost,it is wicked and insensitive to use the death of a staff as a campaign weapon for the opposition whom Kelvin Egesi works for. If non payment of salaries is the sole killer of staff of ASCETA, I don’t know how many that would have been affected. It’s the same Egesi and his groups who practically called the governor a murderer because there was no oxygen in Arochukwu general hospital where the said staff died. Yes ASCETA staff are owed. But not 32 months. The governor last December paid 12 months salaries to staff ,yet we are still hearing 32 months. Even this year, salaries were paid before Christmas. Dr Phillips Nto has leveraged on his excellent working relationship with the state government to ensure that the welfare of staff is addressed. Unfortunately, while he is busy doing that, Egesi and the cabal would be demanding his removal.
Finally,he has come out openly to demand the sack of Dr Phillips Nto as Provost. Unfortunately he lacks locus to make such a senile demand because he is no longer a staff of ASCETA. It is also ironic that it is to the same Governor whom he accused of not knowing his job that he is running to. However,in his foolery, he has refused to accept that he can never be Provost of ASCETA. Long after Dr Phillips Nto would have gloriously ended his second tenure, Kelvin Egesi would still remain his frustrated self dreaming of the impossibly. That , again,is a settled fact.
Okoroafor writes from Atani, Arochukwu.