As a prelude to his Third Anniversary in office, the POLYNEK Rector, Engr Dr M.C. Arimanwa and his team visit the Save the Child Motherless/Abandoned Babies Home, World Bank Housing Estate, Owerri, bearing gifts of food, essential materials and cash…
WIND OF INNOVATIONS IN ENGR DR MICHAEL ARIMANWA’S FEDPONEK
By: Ugochukwu Iwuji, PhD
Ever since he took over as the 8th substantive Rector of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Engr Dr Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa has always made it clear that he has come to truly actuate the motto of the institution anchored on knowledge and skill for service, among others. One of the veritable ways of going about this onerous task is to reengineer the process of teaching and learning in the polytechnic.
As an intellectual par excellence, the diligent Rector has not ceased to task his staff on the centrality of research to their calling. This is in consonance to his stance that only a research-oriented teacher will produce a skillful student. After all, any education that is not deliberately goaded to solve man’s existential problems is a retrogressive one.
Being an internally generated Rector, that is, having schooled in the polytechnic and risen through the ranks to the apex position he occupies, Dr Arimanwa certainly knows where the “shoe” pinches.
Markedly, he knows where the peculiar challenges besetting the business of teaching and learning and their solutions lie. He also acknowledges the importance of going beyond the traditional theoretical pedagogy to approaching education in a refreshing and practical way which will in turn produce excellent minds poised for innovation and high productivity.
It is worthy of note that Engr Dr M.C. Arimanwa had upon assumption in office envisioned a polytechnic where knowledge would be dispensed with panache and precision to the benefit of the society. With a fourteen goal vision and epic seven two targets, the cerebral Rector swung to action. He gave lecturers room to aspire for more knowledge while carrying out a thorough overhaul of the laboratories and entrepreneurial centres on campus.
The Rector further introduced a digital regime that encouraged the academic staff to access diverse educational resources to improve their capacity. Today, these measures have paid off and the institution has reasserted itself as the number one polytechnic in Nigeria.
Students of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede have effectively shown that they are receiving quality education by the gale of innovations that has hit the institution. Students of Agricultural Technology, for instance, now maximize the large palm plantation in the school to make brooms, palm kernel, palm oil and other agro-based products as a means of demonstrating what they have learnt.
It is instructive to know that it was the Fabrication unit of the polytechnic that constructed the gate facing the rectory and other management buildings. All these are testaments of the standard of practical teaching and learning that has been institutionalised in the polytechnic since the advent of Engr Dr Michael Arimanwa.
It is also notable that the Entrepreneurship directorate if the Polytechnic produces nails and allied items needed for construction works. It could be recalled too that the institution had in the past partnered Nollywood stars to produce an anti-cultism movie entitled “Who Killed my wife?” The film premiered on the 8th December, 2018 at the national theatre, Lagos.
It is equally noteworthy that the vintage FEDPONEK under the mercurial leadership of Dr Arimanwa rose to the challenge of Covid-19 with courage. This came at a time when institutions were in a fix on how to procure relevant non-pharmaceutical equipment that would help citizens stay safe. Quickly, the polytechnic proved to the world that it was capable of the call as its fabrication unit went into massive manufacturing of hand washing machines that are automated. The institution also produced hand sanitizers in commercial quantities. What more, the polytechnic paid her dues to the society by donating these devices and instruments to the government and communities to cushion the tide of the epidemic. “Wasn’t it what an archetypal technology-based institution should have done?,” one might ask. But when one reckons that the Federal Polytechnic Nekede is about the only of such institution in Nigeria to so respond to the challenges of the pandemic in such a timely and diligent manner, then one would fully understand the yeoman’s efforts of Engr Dr Michael Arimanwa, the Rector of the institution.
There is also a wind of innovation at the Department of Accounting of the polytechnic as the Rector has synergized with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) to enhance the quality of Accounting Education in the institution.
With this development, Accounting students of the polytechnic will have an integrated curriculum that will equip them to become chartered accountants upon graduation, without having to go through any other process. This innovation is noble and timely, to say the least. And it is the type of creative approach that a hardworking head of institution could take towards improving the quality of learning in his school.
For Engr Dr M.C. Arimanwa, the business of teaching and learning has to be defined by excellence, a reason why he intends to stop at nothing to produce graduates that can withstand the intellectual demands of the wider world. The implication of this giant move which is replicated in relevant fashions across departments in the school is that a FEDPONEK star is naturally ahead of his/her peers across the country.
Similarly, the polytechnic under Dr Arimanwa has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria to open a banking hall in the polytechnic to serve as a practical site for the Banking and Finance students of the polytechnic. It is notable that the Federal Polytechnic Nekede is the first place institution in the Southeast to so sign this landmark agreement.
Only recently, the Rector led a team to Lome the Togo’s capital to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will see selected staff and students exchange programmes with a reputable Lome-based agricultural institution, Lofty Farm. In his remarks after signing the MOU, Dr Arimanwa stated that the document would effectively open the door for a mutually beneficial programme between the two organisations.
In the main, the partnership is expected to enhance the much needed synergy between the two educational organisations as well as promote capacity-building among the organizations, the overall aim of which is productivity and excellence. Indeed, there are other exchange programmes which the polytechnic under Dr Arimanwa has established and which are at various levels of maturation.
In this light, the FEDPONEK boss is intensively exploring areas of interest where exchange programmes can be mounted to further build the entrepreneurial skills of the students of the polytechnic.
For the Rector, it is only through innovative education that graduates can independently weather through the existential challenges of life and come out strong.
Perhaps, the mother of all the innovations engineered by the administration of Engr Dr Michael Arimanwa is the Smart Campus Programme which he introduced in the institution. This creative approach has maximized the use of technology in solving hitherto strenuous processes of examinations, admissions, registrations, security, research and networking. This innovative development has effectively made the institution to be safely ahead of her peers. The Smart Campus Project, one programme conceptualized to set a standard in effective management of human and material resources has further productivity across board in the school. The benefits of this noble project are simply overwhelming hence may require a separate article to fully give it due expression.
In the area of corporate social responsibilities, the Rector has taken a number of innovative approaches to ensure peace and stability between the polytechnic and her host communities. For instance, the polytechnic has Community Liaison Officers for effective interface with the host communities.
It is noteworthy that the school under Dr Arimanwa has donated brand new motorcycles to the Community Vigilante outfit.
Also, at the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the Rector ensured that palliatives were distributed to the host communities through their traditional rulers to cushion the effects of the pandemic. It is reassuring that the polytechnic has trained members of the host communities in the areas of tailoring, bakery, ICT, soap making and other entrepreneurial skills to boost their self-worth and productivity.
For Engr Dr Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa, it has been a wind of innovations after another. And if innovation is the mother of invention, it does imply that the Federal Polytechnic Nekede is well on its way to making diverse innovations across disciplines under its mandate.
What more, with the continuous support the Rector has been giving to staff in the area of retraining and research enterprises; and more especially, with the policy thrust of the administration anchored on excellence, the Federal Polytechnic Nekede under her digital Rector is in for greater glory in innovations.