By KUFRE ETUK
Government Technical College Ikot Ekpene, founded four years ago by the current administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel, has remained a far cry from any semblance of a modern technical school.
The school, constructed through community efforts as Grammar School, with three blocks of three classrooms and two blocks of four classrooms, has remained the same since the state government took over.
Findings by The Crest indicated that, in 2019 Akwa Ibom State Government Audited budget report signed by the State Accountant General, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, two projects which amounted to thirty eight million naira were awarded to the school, but none of such projects were executed.
One of the projects was the provision of a Chemistry laboratory budgeted for eighteen million naira (N18m) with nine million twenty eight thousand naira (N9. 28m) released by the Akwa Ibom State Technical Schools Board for project.
The Crest also found out that twenty million naira (N20m)was budgeted by the State Technical Schools Board for the construction of One Mechanical block and the sum of seven million naira (N7m) was released for the project.
When a non-governmental organization, Public and Private Development Centre, PPDC, visited the school to ascertain whether the two projects were executed, it was discovered that there were no such projects.
Speaking, the Principal of the College, said he was not aware of the projects as he was only posted to the school in August 2020.
According to him, “We do not have any abandoned project in the school. I am a new principal. I resumed office on 5th August 2020. There is no such project carried out here.
” The school is just four years. In this case I would advise you to get to government because it might be those projects are in the pipe line. I have never inherited anything of that nature here.” The principal said.
The PTA chairman of the college Mr. Sunday Ukut, disclosed that he was only hearing about the projects for the first time.
He appealed to the PPDC team to visit the State Technical Schools Board for reply on the unexecuted projects.
The Paramount Ruler of of Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty, Okuku Okon Ukut, appreciated PPDC for such effort, adding that since government took over the school from the community, turned it to technical college, the school has remained the same way.
He explained that only a structure, which could have been the Principal quarters was added.
“It is our paramount interest that the school be established for the purpose and interest which the land was given out for.” The Paramount Ruler said.
Speaking on the project, the former Chairman Technical Schools Board, Mr. George Henshaw , whose tenure the contracts for the projects were awarded, denied knowledge of the projects initially but later called back our reporter to say the projects were ongoing as most projects of that nature were done through Interministerial Direct Labour.
When the reporter told him that he was in the school as both the principal and the Paramount Ruler said government has not constructed such projects, he kept quiet.
On whether the Board awarded the contract for the projects, he directed The Crest reporter to meet the Permanent Secretary for further information on that.
According to him, “Most government projects were done through inter – ministerial direct labour jobs, if you check properly you will see that the job is ongoing. You can also reach the permanent secretary for details”.
In his words, the current Chairman of the Board, Mr. Godwin Udom denied knowledge of such projects.
“I have been the chairman for about 9 months now yet I am not aware of such project, if I later have any information on that I will get back to you”.