BY INNOCENT NWANKWO.
It was the legendary Dr Nelson Mandela who declared during his inaugural speech as the first black president of South Africa that he was against black domination the way he was against white domination. But the people of Abia State who recently escaped from Ngwa domination are speedily finding themselves under Aro domination. Although the new Governor, Dr Alex Chioma Otti, is from Isiala Ngwa in Abia Central senatorial zone, his ancestry is Aro from Arochukwu local government area of Abia State. All the appointments made so far show that almost 90 percent of the appointees trace their origin to Arochukwu. Although it is still too early to accuse Otti of nepotism in the order of Muhammadu Buhari, the danger signal is already flashing.

Unfortunately, this danger signal is more pronounced in the Abia State College of Education, Technical, Arochukwu, where the Aros are brazenly attempting to monopolize the leadership and exclude other parts of the state.

The college was established by the first civilian governor of Abia State, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu,who incidentally didn’t site it in his home town Uburu in the present Ebonyi State. Since the college came into existence, the people of Arochukwu have literally appropriated it as their property,such that even the Eze Aro in council is where decisions affecting the college are taken. The last two immediate provosts ,Prof Kanno and Dr Philips Nto are from Arochukwu. Before them, we also had one Dr Nkemakolam also from Arochukwu as Provost.

One had thought that as an academic institution that the leadership of ASCETA should evolve through merit and capacity and not through ethnic consideration or clannish irredentism.

But what is playing out is that there is a cherographed plan by the Arochukwu people to retain the leadership of the College by leveraging on the position of their son ,Dr Alex Otti as governor. It’s not been even two weeks that Dr Nto left and the Aros are threatening that they must retain the Provost of the college or heaven will fall. Although one can grudgingly concede that their son , the immediate Provost performed creditably well in transforming the institution academically and infrastructure wise, would that be a licence for them to hold on to the post? Dr Nto as an indigene had no choice but to change the face of the college, but it appears he is part of the elaborate plan to foist another Aro provost on the institution.

Just look at the scenario. The former Deputy Provost, Dr Iheonunekwu was eased out on the excuse that he ought to have retired. But he still teaches at the College under an arrangement not known to law. After that,it took Nto and the Governing Council almost one year to appoint a new Deputy Provost. With, Iheonunekwu,an Ngwa man, out of the way, cerebral Academics such as Dr Anyalogu from Umunneochi, and Dr Uchechi from Ihechiowa were expected to be appointed. However, the Council bypassed them and named Mr Ikechukwu Okorouga as the Deputy Provost.

While one is not saying that Okorouga is not qualified for the position,but the fact that he is from Arochukwu raises a lot of questions. Now, do we call it a mere coincidence that with the directive by Dr Alex Otti that all Ikpeazu appointees should vacate office and hand over to their deputy, Okorouga is now the acting Provost of ASCETA?

Now even when people are trying to come to terms with what actually happened, the people of Arochukwu are brazenly demanding that Okorouga, another Aro man be confirmed as Provost by the state government as if people from other parts of Abia are not qualified to be the Provost. Does it mean that because the college is sited in Arochukwu,it must be headed by an Aro man? How would they feel if Abia State University is perennially headed by Isuikwuato man or Abia College of Health Science, ABA, headed by an Ngwa man?

This kind of greed should not be allowed to take root in Abia State. His Excellency, Dr Alex Otti should not allow himself to be taken hostage by his kinsmen. ASCETA belongs to all parts of Abia State. Aro people must not be allowed to monopolize its leadership.

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