In its pursuant to save public education system in Nigeria, the Joint Action Front (JAF) has called for total autonomy of tertiary institutions in the country.
The civil society organisation made the call in Lagos following rumours that the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule, was planning to upturn the result of interview conducted for the office of the Provost of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education.
Comrade Abiodun Aremu, the General Secretary of JAF told NEWSVERGE that the state governors are visitors to the campuses and should therefore not influence the appointment of those who run the affairs of the institutions.
According to an unverified result of the interview, Dr. (Mrs) Omolola Oladele, who is a staff of the College came first while Professor A. Ogunbiyi, an Associate Professor from the Lagos State University (LASU) came second and Dr. (Mrs) Oshodi, third.
But when NEWSVERGE contacted the Governing Council Chairman of the College, Professor Tunde Samuel, on the controversy surrounding the appointment of anew Provost, he described the allegation as “totally incorrect.”
Prof. Samuel explained: “In managing tertiary institutions, there is what we call procedural enmor; after having gone through the list of prospective candidates, a special panel of the Governing Council, which consists of a Professor and another Provost from another collage of education from outside the state that will now make recommendation to the visitor, that is, the Governor, sending him three names from which he will then pick whoever he wishes.”
He however noted that the Governor has the prerogative to choose whoever he wants from the names recommended to him by the panel.
When asked on the scores by the candidates, the Professor clearly stated that only the names of candidates that scored 70 per cent and above were submitted for consideration adding that “any of them is eligible to become Provost of the institution.
“Seventy per cent and above is the pass mark for anybody to become the Provost of any College of Education in Nigeria. We cannot suggest only one candidate to the Visitor and the NCCE allows that we make recommendations so as to leave room for choice of candidate” he explained.
The Governing Council Chairman argued that if Professor Ogunbiyi had been the choice of the State Government, he would have come out first.
“If Ogunbiyi was the choice, Ogunbiyi would have come out first. That is intellectual aberration. It is bad for anybody to cook up such a narrative information. The Governor is at liberty to choose from any of the three names submitted to him by special panel.”
Reacting to Professor Tunde Samuel’s submission that the Governor has the prerogative to choose whoever he wants from the names recommended to him by the panel, Comrade Aremu, said such a state of affair should not be allowed to endure adding that and such must be reviewed.
“That is part of the administrative high-handedness we have been complaining about. Tertiary institution cannot be run like a poultry farm.
“This, among many others, has been what we have been fighting over, because this is part of what constitute problems to the progress of those institutions and the example of Lagos State University (LASU) is a clear one which eventually led to the exit of the former Vice Chancellor.”
The JAF Secretary described the process that brought the management team of tertiary institutions as “direct imposition” which he said had been responsible for the poor performance of tertiary education system in the country.
“When three names are recommended to the Visitor (The State Governor), they must come out clear to state the basis in which the one they pick was chosen over others,” he added.
The civil society organisation however promised to investigate the allegations but insisted on the democratic system of running tertiary institutions in the country.
The Union wrote Governor Ambode
According to a letter written by the Union of the College to Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode, dated 30 November, 2015, appealed that the Governor should ensure that the appointment of the Provost of the College is based on merit as witnessed in the appointment of the College Bursar.
In the letter, “Your Excellency sir, we commend also your true sense of leadership and sincerity of purpose which eventually gave the College Governing Council a true sense of direction in this just concluded interview exercise where the College Bursar emerged on a clean slate without controversy from any angle.
“It is against this background that the union is appealing to you and other Executive members of the Lagos State Government to demonstrate the same act of merit on the appointment of the College Provost as witnessed in the appointment of the College Bursar. We are of the view that when merit prevails in the appointment of the Provost, the relative peace in the college will be sustained while the anticipated permanent peace becomes a reality.”
In the same vein, the Union at a press conference and a mild protest on the 17 November, 2015, accused the College Registrar, Mr Olumuyiwa Coker, and the College Auditor, Mr Eluwande, of manipulating rules of procedure guiding the running the College owing to their inability to investigate the immediate past Provost, Mr Wasiu Basorun, and other principal officers of the College who were said to have defrauded the institution to a state of comatose and are still enjoying “consolidated salaries prohibited by the Edict of the College as well as the NCCE’s regulations”.
The Union noted that if the appointments are done on merit, Principal Officers of the College will carry out their duties as expected and in accordance with NCCE’s Regulations.
It was also alleged that the former Provost, Mr. Basorun misappropriated the cooperatives fund of over N180 million and the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the institution amounting to over a billion Naira.