2,435 total views, 2 views today
By Jonathan Olajide
Without being bigheaded, I believe I can talk a little about the financial health of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, having had a seven-year teaching and research stint between 2012 and 2019 in the institution. Though I worked in the first-generation polytechnic under associate appointment, the management magnanimously created an ambience that made associate staff to demonstrate the toga of permanent academic staff.
That MAPOLY operated as the only self-funding Ogun tertiary institution for years until 2017 when former Governor Ibikunle Amosun rocked the boat is a statement of fact. With a large population of students enrolled in about 30 fully-accredited programmes, my alma mater never had issues with funding as students on full- and part-time programmes paid tuition, application fee, acceptance fee, post-UTME screening fee, and clearance fee for graduation, to mention but a few. These payments ran into hundreds of millions of naira per session. There was zero concern for finances but there might have been a concern about spending. Even Amosun on several forums praised the management of the polytechnic for generating enough revenue to spend and reserve. Not quite long ago, Ogun State House of Assembly under the leadership of Taiwo Oluomo also acknowledged that MAPOLY is self-funding. Large student population is the factor.
However, current incidents in the polytechnic are unpalatable to the ears of those that admire it. The protracted lockdown which MAPOLY experienced after its refusal to relocate to a new campus built in a remote village in Ipokia Local Government on the order of Amosun in the wake of Moshood Abiola University of Technology (MAUSTECH) has negatively impacted the clean accounts. Since the loggerheads with the Egba senator, salaries have been irregular, project implementation has been foot dragging, and electricity supply from diesel generating sets is worse.
There were times that staff were unpaid for months. I was there. Governor Dapo Abiodun has granted bailouts to the polytechnic a couple of times to salvage the financial mess. He has also endorsed requests for credit facility to help the once-very-wealthy-but-now-broke institution. I learnt from reliable sources that Abiodun now has to sign salaries from his Oke Imosan office monthly. Staff are still owed for months, associates are owed N30,000 or N40,000 monthly stipend, and allowances for part-time remain unsorted.
Unarguably, MAPOLY is cash-trapped. There are conspicuous mounting proofs on the campus, but solution to the financial mess cannot be derived from a rocket science equation. The management can rake in at least N150 million annually from issuance of certificates. The archaic practice of producing certificates four or five years after graduation must stop with immediate alacrity. As I was crafting this piece, certificates of about six graduating sets have not been produced. Wow! But with the current fee of N15,000 per ND or HND certificate, at least 10,000 students will pay N150 million into the coffers of the polytechnic before and after convocation. This means that MAPOLY must resolve to hold convocation yearly like other schools. The N150 million from certificates issuance is aside convocation fee of N10,000 and other sundry fees for graduation clearance. Indubitably, convocation is money-generating event in this country.
Ceteris paribus, the N150 million annual revenue will provide lots of succour. The polytechnic rector, Adeoye Odedeji, is a meticulous academic. He showcased accountability when he served as the Chairman of Conference Marking Committee. Give the sociologist N10, he will account for it. All the management need do is to put their acts together to ensure that convocation comes up and certificates are issued to graduating students yearly. This idea will make students to collect their certificates on time and savour the festive atmosphere of convocation. With the old-fashioned arrangement in use, there will be thousands of unclaimed dusty certificates in the polytechnic records.
Again, MAPOLY must rejig its payment system so that students’ records can be booked online. I cannot find any sense in having to come to campus from Kutuwenji to pay for transcripts or certificates. I think Ojere is the only institution that does not allow online payment for records. Management should tap fully into the benefits of digital payment system to allow alumni pay for documents from anywhere in the world. Just log into the website, go to Records, click to sign up, and commence payment process. Graduates should be able to generate/download receipts online and forward it to an official email address to process their documents. This is how a 21st Century university or polytechnic runs.
Development does not start at the top, but at the various smaller units of the society. The Ivory Tower is a microcosm of a nation, being an advanced knowledge production industry. If Nigeria must experience a holistic rebirth in the order of things, higher institutions of learning like my darling MAPOLY must be in the front of effecting the desired change that makes life comfortable.
Our sociologist Rector understands this so much. Forward MAPOLY, Forward Ogun, Forward Nigeria.
Jonathan Olajide, a risk communication scholar, writes from Ifo, Ogun State.