By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
POWER tussle between the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, has led to the delay in the appointment of a substantive Rector for the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, check by Vanguard Learning has revealed.
For nearly eight months, the appointment of a new rector has been stalled, and different names peddled as the lucky candidate chosen for the job.
The development has prompted the polytechnic community, led by the Acting Rector, Dr Olarongbe Afolabi, calling for a speedy resolution of the logjam, saying that the academic community is eagerly waiting for the announcement of a substantive rector for the institution.
The appointment of a new rector has become a ding dong between Adamu and Gambari, who have different opinions on who should head the institution.
Multiple sources told Vanguard Learning that after the conclusion of appointment processes by the statutory bodies, three names were forwarded to Adamu for onward transmission to Buhari for appointment as rector.
The three names recommended for appointment as the new rector, based on their performance during an interview, according to a source, were Dr. Raji Sarafa Adebayo, Dr. Kadiri Kamoru O and Dr. Akinde Mukail Aremu.
According to documents sighted by our correspondent, 28 applicants were shortlisted and interviewed for the vacant position of the rector.
Dr. Raji came first scoring 80.8 per cent, Dr. Kadiri came second with 79.9 per cent, while Dr. Akinde was third with 75.4 per cent.
Following the recommendation to President Buhari by the Governing Council of Offa Poly, the minister recommended Dr. Kadiri, who came second, to the president for appointment as new rector in a letter dated 1st February, 2022.
The president, it was said, did not agree with the recommendation of Adamu, but rather instructed Gambari to convey his approval of Dr. Raji as the next rector of the institution.
Another letter sighted by Vanguard Learning dated 30th March, 2022, signed by Gambari, and addressed to the minister, stated:
“With reference to your letter DHE/POLYXV/C.I/VII/781 dated 1st February 2022, I write to convey to you Mr. President’s approval for the appointment of Dr. Sarafa Adebayo Raji on merit, as the Rector of the Federa
Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, for a single tenure of five (5) years with effect from 28th March, 2022.”
Six months into the directive of Mr. President, the Honourable Minister, in a manner that suggests spurning the presidency, has refused to act on the president’s order. Statutorily, Section 8 (3) (d) 8 (4) of the Polytechnic Act 2019 is clear on the appointment of a new rector.
According to the Act, “A Joint Council, Academic Board, Congregation and Selection Board… “Shall consider the candidates on the shortlist drawn up under subsection (2) (a) (ii) through an examination of their curriculum vitae and interaction with them and recommend in order of performance ranking, through the Council, to the President, three candidates for his consideration.
Subsection (4) concludes that, “The President shall appoint, as Rector, one of the candidates recommended to him under subsection (3)”
“The Minister of Education has not come clear on what has delayed his assent to a letter of appointment of a new rector for the polytechnic, even as a large number of staff are worried that merit might have been jettisoned for other considerations,” a very senior academic staff said. “Though there could be intrinsic considerations, especially if we consider the need to uphold federal character principles and the politics that crops in, in the appointment of public officers, but in this case, not a single member of the host community is a principal officer in the institution” Academic and non-academic unions of the institution had a fortnight ago, decried the delay by the Federal Government in announcing the appointment of a substantive rector for the 30-year-old polytechnic.
The Acting Rector, Dr Afolabi added that the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and other two unions in the school had done the needful by appealing to the Federal Government to appoint a new rector.
Giving his nine-month stewardship in Offa, Dr Afolabi said that since his assumption of office, he has had at the back of his mind that his administration is an interim one.
Said he: “ASUP and other unions of this polytechnic have done the needful by urging the FG to appoint a substantive rector. We are eagerly waiting for the appropriate quarters to make the announcement. If the rector is appointed tomorrow, this polytechnic will be happy and I will be happy.
“I am happy that our unions in the institution are now appealing to the appropriate quarters to expedite action on the appointment of a substantive rector and we will accept that in our strides.
“The first day I assumed office I knew that my administration is an interim one. And I have it at the back of my mind that the Federal Government can appoint a substantive rector anytime.
“I have therefore striven to have some legacies behind at the end of my tenure as acting rector. Appointment of rector is not my responsibility. It is not even the responsibility of the Governing Council. Appointment of substantive rector is the prerogative of President Muhamadu Buhari.”