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Gov Alia aske to reinstate sacked BenPoly Rector, Nathaniel Oche



The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo Chapter, along with the Concerned Idoma Senior Staff Association of the institution, have jointly appealed to Governor Hyacinth Alia to reconsider the recent removal of Dr. Nathaniel Oche as the Rector of the polytechnic.

Dr. Oche, who assumed the role of rector in May for a five-year tenure, was recently relieved of his duties by the governor.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday in Makurdi after their Congress, the Chairman of ASUP Benue Polytechnic chapter, Comrade David Owuna, highlighted the historical context leading to Dr. Oche’s appointment. He mentioned that the institution had been managed in an acting capacity for 18 months, contrary to legal provisions, before Dr. Oche, the first rector from the host community, was appointed.

The union emphasized Dr. Oche’s commendable performance during his short tenure. They praised his decisive actions and the judicious appointments he made, which fostered industrial harmony within the institution. This positive environment prompted the union’s appeal for the reversal of his dismissal.

“In his brief tenure as the Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Oche has notably brought about relative peace both within and outside the campus. His approach to staff appointments has been inclusive and transparent, a departure from the practices of the past two decades,” the union stated.

“Under his leadership, the staff have experienced a newfound unity, fostering a harmonious working relationship. We are witnessing a new era of development within the polytechnic. It is disheartening to hear of his removal based on the findings of a visitation panel, which we believe to be unfounded.”

The union expressed dismay over the reversal of appointments made by Dr. Oche, such as those of Deputy Rectors for Administration and Academics, by the Commissioner of Education without clear justification.

“This is the core issue at hand, and it is unacceptable to our members. Considering that the Rector was not afforded a fair hearing, if any allegations were made against him, we urge the Governor and Visitor to the Polytechnic to reconsider the decision to remove Dr. Nathaniel Oche,” the union appealed.

Similarly, the Concerned Idoma Senior Staff Association of the institution, represented by its Chairman, Jude Eza, affirmed that Dr. Oche’s appointment followed legal processes. However, the termination of his appointment lacked due process, as he was not granted a fair hearing as stipulated by the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo Law Cap 160 of Benue State, 2004, Part XI, Section 45.

Eza questioned the timing of the visitation panel’s report, which covered the period from 2016 to 2023, a period during which Dr. Oche had been in office for barely three months.

He urged the Governor and Visitor of the Polytechnic to overturn the termination of the rector’s appointment to ensure the continuous smooth operation of the institution. This, they emphasized, is crucial for industrial harmony and peaceful coexistence within the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo.