Fanning embers of war at Abia College of Health

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By Okechukwu Kashi Ukegbu

The media are supposed to be catalysts and not inhibitors. But the reverse is the case at Abia State College of Health Sciences and Management Technology where some newspapers have been vigorously fanning the embers of discord.

They have revealed a common thread of some baseless, unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations that exposes a”hatchet” man’s job solely designed to cause an atmosphere of disunity among some members of the staff of the institution and the dynamic rector of the institution, Prof. Chidi Felix Ezeama. The sponsored media attacks have refused to abate even when the authors of these stories have been assured from high quarters that if there was any crisis in the institution,  it has been put to rest.This is a clear testimony that people who are desperate to destroy do not rest on their oars until their ambitions are achieved.

One laughable allegation in the stories suggest incompetence of the Rector or the Rector not possessing a clear- cut vision for the institution. On the reverse, Ezeama’s stride in one year of his tenure as the Rector of the institution makes a mincemeat of that allegation.

It will be recalled that the institution  had never mobilised graduates for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme since its inception. Ezeama pursued this vision vigorously and his efforts paid off when the  graduates were called up for the programme. Secondly, the institution has secured accreditation from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for all courses it offers. This feat is a demonstration of the resolve of the management to re-position the institution for quality graduates. In view of the rain storm that ravaged the institution and affected some of its facilities, which formed part of the allegations that the Rector has done nothing to address the situation, the institution has taken delivery of some computer sets from the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), and the Rector has also initiated other palliative measures to further address the situation. The institution is now the centre for Abia Anti- mosquito Breeding campaign. The centre, which is dedicated to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, who doubles as the Chief Campaigner, is committed to developing an Anti-mosquito Breeding Format (AMBEF).

It is worthy of note here that the institution which was initially a specialised institution offering health-related courses has now expanded to accommodate other courses outside the health field. Because of the anticipated increase in students’ intake due to the recent developments , the Rector is  mobilising to attract funds from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to ensure that facilities are expanded. Following the plethora of achievements recorded by the rector within one year, it is only people whose minds are strongly bent on destroying the good reputation of the Rector that would disparage these laudable achievements.

At this juncture, one had expected the authors of these stories to go beyond what the “New Breed Journalists” described as “dead pan objectivity” which restricts or confines a reporter to what he perceives as the truth to the new “Principle of Objectivity”, which is “telling the truth”, “the whole truth”, and “nothing but the truth.”

One wonders why a reporter would use “war” to describe a mere or imaginary misunderstanding among staff in an institution, and even when the authors have been assured that the misunderstanding have been resolved, the attacks continued. This is  a strong signal that there is something beyond the imagination of the ordinary man in the stories. Put the other way, even if there is crisis in the institution, conflict is normal and natural in every human relationship because of perception of issues, interest, ambition, among other factors. The basic thing is the ability of the parties to the conflict to resolve it, and it is not within the mandate of the media or fashionable for the media to escalate conflicts even when they have been resolved.

If these writers had upheld the above practice, their investigations could have equipped them with the fact that the school has taken delivery of some computer sets, courtesy of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). On the reverse, the reading public have been misinformed because the true picture in the institution was not painted. It is the primary responsibility of the media to inform the public and inform them correctly and not misinform them.

Ezeama requires more concentration to fulfill his vision for the college. Any further distraction will definitely not augur well with the college. A word is enough for the wise!

  • Ukegbu is resident in Umuahia

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