By: Ugochukwu Iwuji, PhD
Information Communication Technology world over has become the nucleus of outstanding enterprises. This is the reason progressive organizations deliberately leverage on the almost limitless benefits of ICT to enhance their procedures.
Upon assumption as 8th substantive Rector of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Engr Dr Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa, quickly hit the ground running by building sustainable digital infrastructure that will launch the polytechnic as a citadel of excellence in knowledge production and administration.
From the beginning, this Reverend gentleman had declared a policy thrust anchored on excellence in service delivery, making it imperative for everyone to underscore the direction of his administration.
Today, the epic declaration has yielded a behemoth of achievements in only three years. Remarkable in the leadership landmark of the gentleman Rector is its timeliness, finesse, avant-gardism and sustainability. Thus, this has raised the bar in leadership trajectory and signposted an era marked with deep passion for excellent service delivery.
Remarkably, Dr Arimanwa’s deliberate investment in ICT has marked a paradigm shift in the mode of conducting business in the polytechnic, making him to be so nicknamed: the smart/digital Rector.
It is not surprising that the Rector’s proclivity to the ideals of ICT is a testament of his clear vision on the divine mandate he has. It further underscores his hi-tech level of preparedness in administering a 21st century institution of higher learning with the best practices ever.
Today, the polytechnic has been clearly marked out among her peers as a most progressive institution with 21st century mission and vision. The analogue mode with its inefficiency and wastefulness is gone for good, giving room for a fantastic, result-oriented method distinguished in speed and efficiency.
To be sure, the journey to the ICT revolution in the polytechnic started almost immediately the cerebral scholar mounted the saddle as Rector of the institution. Before him, the use of technology in the operations of the polytechnic was limited and virtually uncoordinated. But under him, the digital technology has become institutionalized; creating a culture that has wrought wonders across the social, academic and physical hemisphere of the system. It was, for instance, when Engr Dr M.C. Arimanwa came that the polytechnic for the first time started operating a well-updated website with full complement of relevant data.
Accordingly, students would only be a click away from all the information and data needed to access the polytechnic from any part of the world.
It is noteworthy that the administration of Engr Dr Michael Arimanwa has also pioneered the holistic re-engineering, revamping and refurbishing of the Computer-based Test Centre (CBT) and the setting up of a new one. And till date, the CBT centres are fully utilised for relevant qualifying and curricular examinations in the polytechnic. All the processes are fully automated as results are obtained real time, on line.
This has served as a master stroke in reducing cost and enhancing excellence. Arising from this excellent development, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) did not waste time in approving the two CBT centres for their examinations, while rating the centres as the best in Southeast. It is on record that during the BURSCON conference held at the polytechnic in 2019, the conference of bursars from all polytechnics in the federation affirmed that the CBT centre of FEDPONEK was the best they had seen in the country.
Like a man who never gets tired of setting the pace in leadership, the digital Rector of the Federal Polytechnic successfully launched his Smart Campus Project on December 3, 2019. The project effectively marked the advent of a most robust ICT revolution that has changed the operational paradigms in the institution.
Virtually all operations in the school are fully automated to give room for excellence in service delivery. The successful design and implementation of the Enterprise Resource Planning Platform (ERP) has essentially served as an integrated platform for application and registration of freshmen.
Interestingly, the students’ hostel system became automated as bed spaces are today acquired digitally. In addition, the successful design and implementation of the FPNO Mobile ERP App has enabled android phone users to access the ERP easily, and with less data consumption. It is through this innovative platform that SUG elections and allied polls are now conducted almost seamlessly.
Notably, the Rector has executed the delivery of 155MBPS From MTN Nigeria through fiber optic link to the Network Operating Centre (NOC). It is this phenomenal project that distributed network across the school via cisco radios. It is phenomenal that the expansion and leveraging of these fiber optics to even the remotest parts of the institution is still in progress.
It is worth celebrating also that the administration of the digital Rector, Engr Dr M. C. Arimanwa has deployed and installed Internet Protocol (IP) Surveillance Cameras across the campus.
This comes as a modern way of ensuring sustainable security network in the polytechnic. What the Rector has successfully demonstrated is that insecurity could be fought digitally because at the heart of effective security system is intelligence.
These Internet Protocol Surveillance Cameras which are strategically installed across the institution ensures a twenty four hour security coverage for the polytechnic. Isn’t it breathtaking?
Today, the Federal Polytechnic Nekede under the charismatic leadership of Engr Dr M.C. Arimanwa has successfully achieved full automation of online screening of new students from anywhere in the world.
With this technology, incidences of physical interactions and long queues (especially in a Covid-19 prone society) have been reduced to the barest minimum.
Accordingly, the institution now has solid digital infrastructure for virtual learning (e-learning). It is instructive that staff of the polytechnic can now deliver their lectures through the digital platform which the Smart Campus Project (SMP) has offered.
The subsidization of HP laptops from Zinox Technologies for all staff of the Federal Polytechnic is a record breaking pace set by the digital Rector, Dr Arimanwa.
The development has seen virtually all staff of the institution becoming compliant to ICT. After all, it only makes sense that a digitally run polytechnic can only be at its best with a digitally minded staff.
This development which is part of the many welfarist ventures of the Rector has seen virtually all staffers of the polytechnic owning a laptop computer. Isn’t it incredible?
It is commendable that the Polytechnic Library under the leadership of the cerebral scholar, Engr Dr M.C. Arimanwa, has become automated as it runs a functional e-library which is loaded with millions of books. Who says leadership is rocket science? This development has further enhanced the status of the polytechnic as the number one destination in Nigeria.
Notably, it has greatly enhanced research ventures by both staff and students. This is also very healthy for the intellectual well-being of the polytechnic as students are well equipped to turn in original, topical, researchable and interesting works as research projects.
Markedly, the polytechnic is now ranked very highly on webometrics in Nigeria as the official website of the institution is constantly upgraded with relevant content. Today, every staff of the polytechnic operates an official e-mail which is used for academic purposes. It is noteworthy also that the coming of Engr Dr Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa as Rector of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede has brought about a holistic reorientation in the visionscape and culturescape of the institution.
Before him, for instance, over 90% of staff did not access research based websites such as Research Gate and Google Scholar, among others; but like a resourceful leader, he organized workshops for the staff where they were retrained on the imperatives of intensive research and digital publishing.
It bears saying that more staff of the polytechnic are now publishing online and getting robust visibility on the internet more than ever.
There is, indeed, no limit to what Engr Dr Michael Arimanwa has done in the polytechnic through his pet programme, Smart Campus Project, as the benefits are all encompassing and the polytechnic is already better for it.
Therefore, when the chronicles of the polytechnic are written, the name, Reverend Canon Engr Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa (PhD) will be etched in gold. For here is a humble scholar who became Rector devoid of subterranean politics and primordial ambition; coming much more prepared than his numerous admirers had envisaged.
And like a star he will continue to shine forth. Yes, O yes, like a tiger who does not shout its tigritude, he will continue to overcome any impediment in the way of leadership.
Above all, like an intellectual par excellence, he will continue to set indelible records of excellence that would distill into a manual of leadership for those that are coming after him. God bless the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri. And God bless the Reverend Canon Engr Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa, PhD.