The Rector of Federal Polytechnic Ekowe in Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa state, Dr. Seiyaboh Idah on Monday offered reasons and circumstances that led to the death of an undergraduate, Adekunle Stephen through drowning.
According to Dr. Seiyaboh Idah, though the incident threw most students and management staff into mourning, the undergraduate died in the river while learning to swim rather than fetch water as reported in some national tabloid.
Dr. Seiyaboh Idah, while speaking at the school’s campus dismissed as untrue the claim that the victim died because of the school management failure to provide potable water on campus.
He said the desire of the victim to learn swimming skills led him to the river where he later drowned adding that the late Adekunle was rescued twice from drowning before the unfortunate incident.
The rector said despite consistent warnings by the school management against going to the river, students including persons, who knew nothing about swimming, still found their ways to the river.
Idah said it is unfortunate and irresponsible for critics to capitalise on the misfortune and peddle falsehood against the school management.
He said it was time for politicians and his critics to cease fire and allow him do his work, adding that his enemies vowed to frustrate the just-concluded matriculation.
He said: “Enough is enough. What is this? Allow me to do my work. Allow me to make progress. I had matriculation. Some people said it would not happen. But I went ahead to do it. I am not a politician. Leave me to do my job. Don’t distract me by all of these things. It is enough.
“Am not here to mange crisis, I’m here to manage a polytechnic and make it move forward but people are just bringing crisis from all directions at every given opportunity.”
Narrating how the victim died, he said: “During the orientation, we told the students not to go to the river. This particular boy that died, the Dean of Students’ Affairs met him bathing in the river. He doesn’t know how to swim, and the man told him to leave the place.
“This guy has almost drowned twice because he refused to leave the river. I don’t know what his problem was. Twice, he was rescued. There were five students all playing pushing each other. They didn’t go there to fetch water but to swim. They have been doing that every day.
“Adekunle, we are very saddened by his death but Adekunle did not die because there was no water. Adekunle died because he was overzealous and wanted to know how to swim by all means.
“We are saddened by it but people should please not use this as an opportunity to fight us. You are supposed to be helping us get out of this not fighting us. So we are setting the facts very clear. We are aware that people are being sponsored to fight us with this”.
The rector further lambasted his critics for insinuating that he and the employees of the school were operating from the polytechnic’s liaison’s office in Yenagoa instead of the school’s campus in Ekowe, a riverine community in Southern Ijaw.
Idah said he locked up the liaison office in Yenagoa and forced the employees and the management staff to perform their duties at the main campus.
“This office has been locked up for sometimes now. No staff here. Even some members of staff are fighting me because I insisted everybody must operate from the Ekowe main campus”, he said.
He lamented that politicians operating within Bayelsa and seeking his removal as the rector were the brains behind the attacks on the school management alleging that they sponsored students to lie against the school.
He said his critics were envious of his modest achievements as they could not believe the milestones the school had attained within the short period he took over its management.
He advised persons after him to desist from pulling the school management down and seek ways to help deal with the environmental and funding constrains of the school.
Idah said: “We are not the first to have such issues. I don’t see any reason why people should use this as an excuse to say we are not working especially when this is coming from Bayelsans. People that are supposed to support us to get there are the ones bringing us down.
“We know that these things are political. There are people that just don’t like the face of the rector, and anything that happens here they must use it to fight this man. Nobody has even said this man has tried, the school is bubbling with students; let’s see how we can support this man.
“Every small issue that happens there people take it out of proportion. They have not even contributed a dime. Nobody has even given us money to add to what we have and keep the school running.
“We depend solely on internally-generated revenue that we generate and of course overhead that is not coming forth. We have made several appeals. This school has gone through a lot of challenges and we are trying to stabilize the situation here.
“Since we came on board, about one and half years we have been trying our best to stabilize and we have made progress.
“I don’t see any reason why anybody should begin to use our misfortunes to fight us and make it a political fight and then sponsor students, entice students with money to cause riots, we have evidence of all these issues, and with time we will come up with them”.