THE saying that “when the head is rotten, the body decays”, captures the centrality of leadership, in the theory of management. Basically, it is that a body pilots the affairs of any organisation, essentially to ensure growth.
At its apex is a leader, who holds the door key. In several ways, he makes all the difference either for good or bad. He, who wants history to be kind to him, leaves a legacy of performance and achievements.
This bears testimony to the current status of the Federal Polytechnic Mubi- MUBIPOLY- established in 1979, along with six others. It was first cited in Yola, Adamawa State before it was moved to Mubi in 1982, following the establishment of the Federal University of Technology Yola- FUTY.
Like the Judiciary, such out-post establishments, have been out of media zone, badly under reported, until something extra ordinary happens, especially on the scandalous side, or when they emanate bad news, the stuff the media are in tune with. MUBIPOLY, belongs here.
How much do millions know about it existence? Not many know that some twenty years, or so, after its establishment, a decision was muted, by the Federal Ministry of Education, to merge it with a similar institution in Damaturu, Yobe state. But there was that decision to reduce it to a mere campus of Damaturu Polytechnic, in 2000.
No reasons were given, but could be easily figured out.
According to a competent and reliable source, “The place just refused to grow, in those years”. He explained further, “This institution had 10 departments at take off, with about 140 student population and 300 staff strength. For all those years, not much changed”. However, by 2007, that is almost 28 years after take off, the departments increased to 14 and student population to 3000. These figures do not speak well of these number of years.” He added that, similar institutions established during the period had almost twice the number of departments and three times student population.
The worse was in the area of manpower development and facility expansion. For those number of years, the facilities remained as inherited from the School of Preliminary Studies, Mubi. It is therefore impossible to increase student enrolment without a corresponding increase in facilities, “Federal polytechnic Mubi was a glorified secondary school in terms of facilities”, commented someone familiar with the growth of the institution.
More worrisome was that since its inception in 1979, and up to 2007, not a single staff, academic or non academic, was sponsored for further studies. For an educational institution, this was bad enough. What is left of academic pursuit, if staff development is not at the centre of academic excellence?
Most regrettable was that staff who got placements to further their education, on their own, had to resign to do so. “Only a few competent hands were therefore ready to take up appointments with the institution, for there was no future in doing so”, summed up the source, adding “Those who remained behind and got promoted saw themselves as sole owners of the place”. As most were satisfied with the status quo, things remained static.
On a happy note, this gloom started giving way, to better days as from 2007, when an academic, Dr. Mohammed Mustapha Barau, was appointed rector, in August of that year. A holder of PhD in pharm- chemistry, he graduated from ABU with a Bsc degree in chemistry in 1982. In 1989, he was a holder of master of science in analytical chemistry from the same university and a PhD- pharm- chemistry in 2006.
A fellow and member of so many prestigious institutions, numbering as many as 20, a recipient of so many local and international awards, he was at various times head of department, coordinator and dean of the famous Kaduna Polytechnic, KADPOLY- before he was appointed Rector MUBIPOLY, thus, coming from a rich and vast academic background.
Here comes in our earlier postulation of a leader in management, out to make a difference. So far, he has been doing so, changing completely the academic environment at the institution, from a glorified secondary school, to a modern polytechnic.
What is the basis for this assessment? Between 2007 to date, he constructed six lecture halls each capable of accommodating 500 students at a time. This was up from a single hall in existence between 1979- 2007. In fact, one of the halls, complete with offices, could seat 750.
Massive renovation work was embarked upon touching virtually all the physical structures at the school, including staff quarters, office blocks, road rehabilitation etc. Two water projects at Kolere and Vimtim were constructed.
Next was the supply and installation of equipment at all the departments. Altogether, the total number of projects, newly started or renovated by the Barau administration, is in the region of 50.
What is important however is their net effect. From 14 academic courses and three schools, with a student population of 3000, MUBIPOLY now has 47 departments, six schools, running 67 courses, with a student population of 14,000. In addition, 25 more academic programmes would soon join the list.
Mr. B.A. LAWAN, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Kaduna.