…prefers own constituency
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
A surprise greeted the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and indeed, many lawmakers when Hon. Nkem Abonta at Tuesday plenary kicked against the establishment of a Federal Polytechnic in Aba, Abia State.
Abonta who represents Ukwa East/Ukwa West Federal constituency of the State would instead prefer the institution to be located in his domain when established.
The development followed the passage of a bill seeking to establish a federal Polytechnic in the industrial city of Aba.
Titled: “A bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of the Federal Polytechnic, Aba, Abia State; and for Related Matters (HB.1613)” the bill emanated from the Senate and was seeking concurrence in the House for second reading.
Many members had taken turns to contribute in support of the bill, highlighting the technological and entrepreneurial skills of Aba.
Moving the motion on the bill, the deputy majority leader of the House, Idris Wase from Plateau State said it was important to pass the bill for such an institution in Aba.
Also, Hon. Pally Iriase from Edo State said that Aba deserved a federal polytechnic given the industrial ingenuity of the people.
He said: “It is good to lend our support and see reasons cogent enough to establish a federal polytechnic in Aba. This is one bill to my mind that is very well thought out. Aba is noted for industry and the ingenuity that today’s science can only help to improve upon. And no institution can do this better than a federal polytechnic. This is one bill that is nice for this House to pass.”
Similarly, Hon. Nkiru Onyejiocha representing Isikwuato/Umunneocha federal constituency of the State added that the establishment of the Polytechnic will assist the factories in the city.
“We have a lot of factories in Aba that if we establish a federal polytechnic in Aba, it is going to help a lot. We need a federal presence in Aba. Mr Speaker, I appeal that our colleagues should please support”, she said.
Hon. Betty Appia from Rivers State also spoke in favour of the bill just as Hon. Wole Oke from Osun State said “Abia State deserves a federal polytechnic in Aba. Abia is also an oil producing. So, I support this bill”.
Recognised to speak, Hon. Abonta said that though he was in support of the establishment of the institution, it should, however, be sited in the area that “lays the golden egg”, apparently referring to the oil-producing zone where he represents at the National Assembly.
He said: “We should look at the demography of the state. We should not forget the hen that lays the golden eggs. The area to site it is very important”.
He then moved to propose an amendment to the bill to include the clause but was advised by Speaker Dogara to do so at the Committee/public hearing level.
Then, he said, “Let it be recorded that we must do the needful.”
In his concluding remarks to the debate, Dogara expressed surprised that Aba does not have a federal Polytechnic before now, insisting that it deserved one.
He said: “God forbid that I should be sent to the arena of conflict. It even baffles me that we don’t have a polytechnic already in Aba. The location shouldn’t be a problem. If there is a place to establish a federal polytechnic in Nigeria, it should be in Aba. It is long overdue. When it gets to committee level, you can raise those issues”.
When subjected to a voice vote by the Speaker, the bill got the overwhelming support of the members and was later passed for second reading.