Looking into the mirror of Kaduna Polytechnic through the binoculars for four years, it was a journey of mixed reactions. The journey was about pains and the emergence of happiness.
The title of this piece is my focal point: to talk about one Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic that opened the account of the institution for the Academic Staff Union of the institution to monitor the amount that trickles in and out. I want to talk about the one rector that resuscitated Kaduna Polytechnic from shrinking and dying institution to a very robust academy that regained its glory and excellence.
The time is not far because I could remember the speculations vividly before the coming of Prof Idris Bugaje; that Kaduna Polytechnic was on the verge of perishing from existence. Many lecturers at that time were encouraging their colleagues to start looking for jobs elsewhere, because the polytechnic was about to cease from existence.
At the time, before 2017, Kaduna Polytechnic was facing more than 50 court cases, debts, and internal problems from the students and the staff of the institution. Corruption was one of the horrible stigmas that characterised the robust system of the mighty institution while the staff houses and the students’ hostels were in shabby condition.
After his appointment as the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic in September 2017, Bugaje promised to resolve all the problems strangling the institution. And, in a twinkle of an eye, he set a new dawn for the reputable institution and took the polytechnic to the next level of prosperity.
During the plague that choked the institution’s prosperity, almost 85 courses of the institution lost accreditation of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). But within two years of the administration of Prof Bugaje, the courses reclaimed their glory with little casualty.
Student population has increased rapidly from 17,000 to 27,000, which is a milestone achievement even as the polytechnic targets 35,000 in 2023.
The establishment of Policy and Transparency Unit (PTU), which was later upgraded to a department, saved many woes as it minimised extravagant expenses and stamped out corruption. The Policy and Transparency Department put hands on deck on corrupt activities that affected the smooth system of teaching and administration in the affairs of students and the staff and made the system a viable one with zero tolerance for corruption and sexual harassment.
The effort of all staff of the polytechnic attracted TetFund back, after disappearance for a decade because of no return projects, while more donor agencies were attracted to the institution because of transparency and good record of works.
The PTD wiped away the trauma of “sex for grade” and put the polytechnic on the level of accountancy and accountability, and made merit a price of performance.
Another very important achievement recorded by the management of Kaduna Polytechnic was tackling the incessant strikes that retrogressively and negatively dented the image of Kaduna Polytechnic and Kaduna State as the Centre of Knowledge.
In two years, Kaduna Polytechnic is not just saved from collapse but is grounded for chain progress and excellence for any rector that succeeds Bugaje.
New departments have been established and the face of the institution is littered with gold.
The Institution is the first to start railway engineering in the whole of Nigeria and the first in the North to key in gas engineering course. The institution is now affiliated to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, for engineering degree courses in related fields of studies.
In this present situation, Kaduna Polytechnic is in the brick of happiness and laughter on the prominent changes that happened and are happening because the staff and the students are giving their contributions towards the happy moment we are all enjoying.
In this time of coronavirus pandemic that affects the world, Nigeria is not spared from economic meltdown, but with prayers and determination Kaduna Polytechnic is surviving its challenges in fulfilling the vision and mission of the present administration and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
For a record, Kaduna Polytechnic is the first institution that opened in the second wave of the coronavirus by fulfilling all requirements and conditions of the Federal Government and the Kaduna State Government.
•Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim is of Mass Communication Department, Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna.