Bonny Youths Hold Governing Council, Interview Panel of Federal Poly of Oil and Gas Hostage

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*Insist on an indigene as rector

Youths of Bonny Island, Rivers State, on September 9, stormed the Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas campus, on the island, and disrupted the interview exercise for staff and administrators of the school.

Investigations reveal that “Whereas Bonny community is already over-represented in the school and has already secured 73% of the junior staff cadre, 31% of the senior staff cadre and 4 seats (or 25%) of membership of the Governing Council; the protesters demanded the appointment of a Bonny indigenes as Rector, Registrar and Bursar of the school.”

Then also asked for 60% representation in both the junior  and senior staff cadres of the school and in all contracts.

Bearing clubs, machetes and other dangerous weapons, they threatened to beat up, kidnap and even drown members of the panel and Governing Council should their demands be ignored.

But one onlooker  at the protest site who hails from Degema town in Rivers State in his comment insisted that “that the polytechnic is a federal institution owned by the people of Nigeria. It is neither a primary school, secondary school, nor even a community-owned institution.

“Irrespective of the resource claims of the protesters, Bonny, unlike Soku and Omoku which are gas-production sites, is only a gas-collection centre.

“Therefore, the appointment of Rector, Registrar and Bursar who are indigenes of Bonny will be unfair to the rest of the people of Rivers State and Nigeria at large.

“This harassment should stop or are there no Bonny people working elsewhere in Nigeria and in federal offices?’’

The Rector, Registrar and Bursar as indigenes of Bonny will definitely create difficulties in the functionality of the school and its national (and world) view as these are very sensitive positions requiring professionalism and expertise.

“Such appointment would be a gross affront on the principle of diversity and nationalism which our educational institutions are intended to foster.

“The school will become a veritable part of the Bonny Chief’s Council, an academic wing of a traditional institution, and we, the good people of Nigeria refuse to tow this myopic position.

“We demand that the selection process be undertaken with a high sense of responsibility, transparency and fairness, considering all principles and values that reflect the diversity and plurality of our nation.

“It should be a sacred process where the best candidates are appointed based purely on merit and their respective abilities without special consideration and manipulation of any sorts made by virtue of one’s locality.

“We are all Nigerians and we should be given an opportunity to serve the nation anywhere in Nigeria without fear of discrimination and favouritism’’, said Mr. Johnson, an indigene of Kwara State and a resident businessman in Bonny.

*Contribution by: Elder Noble Ikpangi

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