***Says sole administrator unknown to law
By Adesina Wahab
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, Zone A, has faulted the decision of the Federal Government to convert the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Dr Abubakar Dzukogi, to a sole administrator after he has duly retired from service.
The union said such a step by the Federal Government is against the dictates of the Polytechnic Act of 2019.
ASUP, in statement signed by the Zonal Coordinator, Dr Kasim Ibrahim, said the conversion of the Rector to sole administrator of the institution was not only against the Polytechnic Act of 2019, but setting a bad precedence in the running of polytechnics in the country.
The union insisted that the tenure of Dr Dzukogi, who retired as the 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 were doing so out of mischief and stressed that the tenure of Dzukogi as the sole administrator would end in 2022.
However, ASUP said it was forced to express displeasure at the reappointment of Dr Dzukogi for four years even when it was clear abinitio that he had less than four years to proceed on retirement.
“We consider this not only as aberration but an error of commitment perpetrated against the spirit and letter of the Polytechnic Act.”
According to the union, Section 8, subsection 2a1 of the Act stipulates that “qualifications of the persons who may apply for the post, shall be a Chief Lecturer in the polytechnic sector.”
The union 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.”
ASUP 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 is at work in the Federal Ministry of Education, ” the union stated.
The ASUP zonal leader said Dzukogi’s continued stay in office when he ceased to be a staff of the polytechnic on June 9th, 2020 via a retirement letter dated June 10th, 2020 based on the directive of the Federal Ministry of Education which contravened the Poly Act, was an aberration.
Dzukogi, the union 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.
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The union explained that the Ministry of Education was yet to provide the new nomenclature the system would recognise Dr Dzukogi with as the head of the institution after his voluntarily retirement, adding “the Act establishing the polytechnic no longer recognises him as rector because he is no longer a staff.”
Ibrahim urged stakeholders in the education sector to intervene in the interest of peace to call on the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who has kept mute to reverse and correct the anomaly.
He also advised the Head of Service of the Federation to rise in defense of Civil Service rules that is being jeopardised by this singular action of the ministry.
The Zonal Coordinator asked the minister to direct Dr Dzukogi to immediately vacate the office of the rector and an acting rector appointed as his stay is illegal and contrary to our extant law.
Ibrahim called on the minister to put in place 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.