By Gabriel Dike, Lagos
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics ASUP), Zone A on Tuesday picked holes in the conversion of the institution’s rector to a sole administrator by the Federal Government.
ASUP, in a statement signed by the Zonal Coordinator, ASUP Zone A, Dr. Kasim Ibrahim, said the conversion of the Rector, Dr Abubakar Dzukogi, to a sole administrator is against the Polytechnic Act of 2019.
The zonal coordinator insisted that the tenure of Dr Dzukogi, who retired as rector of Bida Poly in June 2020, ended on February 15, 2021, after he attained the retirement age of 65.
Bida Poly management last week said those agitating for the appointment of a new rector after February 15 are doing so out of mischief and stressed that the tenure of Dzukogi as the sole administrator will end in 2022.
ASUP said it is forced to express displeasure on the reappointment of Dr Dzukogi for four years even when it was clear ab initio that he had less than four years to proceed on retirement.
‘We consider this not only an aberration but an error of commitment perpetrated against the spirit and letter of the Polytechnic Act,’ the union’s statement read.
According to Ibrahim, Section 8, subsection 2a(1) of the Act stipulates that ‘qualifications of the persons who may apply for the post shall be a Chief Lecturer in the polytechnic sector.’
He further observed that Section 14, subsection 4, which provides for the retirement, clearly states that ‘notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Pensions Reform Act, the compulsory retirement age of staff of the polytechnic shall be 65 years and Section 16, subsection 4 in unambiguous terms states that “there shall be no sole administrator in any polytechnic in Nigeria”.’
Ibrahim said, regrettably, the Federal Ministry of Education argued and presented the superiority of a circular HCSF/EMS/EIR/ BENEFICIARY. 636994/IV/T2/96 in 2009 from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation over and superior to the Federal Polytechnic Act assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
‘It is unimaginable that a circular (policy) can replace an Act (law of the land) if not that corruption us at work in the Federal Ministry of Education, ” the zone stated.
The ASUP zone A said Dzukogi continued to stay in office when he ceased to be a staff of the polytechnic on June 9, 2020, via a retirement letter dated June 10, 2020, based on the directive of the Federal Ministry of Education which contravened the Poly Act.
Dzukogi, the Coordinator said, clocked 65 years on February 15, 2021, by which age he ought to have retired as was the case of the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education, and many rectors as well as chief lecturers.
Ibrahim explained that the Ministry of Education is yet to provide the new nomenclature the system would recognise Dr Dzukogi with as the head of the institution after his voluntary retirement, adding that ‘the Act establishing the polytechnic no longer recognises him as rector because he is no longer a staff.’
He urged stakeholders in the education sector to intervene in the interest of peace and call on the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who has kept mute to reverse itself and correct the anomaly.
The coordinator also advised the Head of Service of the Federation to rise in the defense of civil service rules that are being jeopardised by the action of the ministry.
He asked the minister to direct Dr Dzukogi to immediately vacate the office of the rector and that an acting rector be appointed, insisting that his stay is illegal and contrary to our extant law.
Dr. Ibrahim called on the minister to put in place a mechanism for the appointment of a new substantive rector for the polytechnic in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Polytechnic Act 2019, as amended.