By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
A group, the Kaduna Polytechnic ( KADPOLY) Stakeholders Forum which comprised critical stakeholders in the administration and future of the Kaduna Polytechnic, has said it was not unaware of the huge concern that the alleged undue interference of the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Professor Idris Mohammed Bugaje in the affairs of the institution was rapidly generating.
This was made known in a statement signed by Malam Musa Muhammad, Chairman and Joseph Kazachan, Secretary of the Forum, issued to journalists in Kaduna.
The Forum said it has fully noticed that the concern predicated on the fear that the situation, if not properly handled, will degenerate into a full-blown crisis that can rob the institution of the stability it is currently enjoying.
“It is, in fact, absolutely unfortunate that Professor Bugaje who, until his appointment as the Executive Secretary of NBTE, was the Rector of the Kaduna Polytechnic and to whom tremendous support was extended by the present Acting Rector Dr Suleiman Umar who was at the time the Director of Academic Planning and later Deputy Rector, as well as other Management staff, is now, in his bid to continue to exercise full control over the institution, trying to cause uncertainty and chaos in the institution.”
“In his usual manner, Bugaje has now resorted to effort aimed at destabilizing the Kaduna Polytechnic Management and embarrass the Governing Council under Senator Mohammed Mohammed whom we all know is a respected elder.”
”We have observed that after his attempt to cause disaffection between the community of the institution and the Management on the one hand and on the other hand between the Management and the Governing Council has failed, he has now taken the matter to the public domain by engaging the media instead of waiting for the response of the Federal Ministry of Education to his letter of complaint about the matter as required of every public servant. His allegations of breach of procedure in the reappointment of Dr Sulaiman Umar as Acting Rector for six months and allegation of monetary inducement of the Governing Council are clearly unfair, unsubstantiated and therefore mischievous.”
”By clearly alleging, in a submission he made to the media, that the Governing Council has violated section 16 of the Polytechnic Act of 2019 (As amended) by re-appointing the Acting Rector, even further stating that the decision was monetarily influenced, the NBTE ES has shown his full colour as a person whose resolve to inflict maximum damage on the governance process in polytechnic is total.
The allegations are absolutely baseless considering the fact that the section under reference which, as quoted in his submission, provides that “In case of vacancy in the office of the Rector, the council shall appoint an Acting Rector who shall not be in office for more than six months” clearly refers to a situation in which a substantive Rector is removed on the authority of the President of the country because of gross misconduct as clearly stated in section 2 of the same Act.
This certainly is not the kind of circumstance that led to the emergence of Dr Suleman Umar as the Acting Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic.”
”Moreover, the other fundamental part of the Act that Professor Bugaje has mischievously ignored is section 5, sub-section one which provides that the “Council shall have the power to do anything which, in its opinion, is calculated to facilitate the carrying out of the activities of the Polytechnic and promote its best interest.” This is a section that supports the decision of the Governing Council to make the reappointment which is clearly in the best interests of the institution as evident in the appreciable consolidation of industrial harmony and continuity of activities in the institution.”
”Happily, the most critical segments of the polytechnic’s community which are the various staff unions and the Students Union Government (SUG) have already uncovered the plan of the NBTE ES to cause disruption in the operations of the institution and have therefore justifiably dismissed all those allegations as baseless.”
” The ASUP, in particular, has, in its reaction to the allegations as contained in a letter it sent to the Minister of Education, maintains that “section 7, sub-section one of the Act gives the Council the general powers to do anything which in its opinion is calculated to facilitate the carrying out of the activities of the Polytechnic and promote its best interest and the union strongly believes that it is in that direction the Council so Acted.”
Having carefully studied this matter and consequently understood the fact that Bugaje is only totally out to derail the Management of the polytechnic under Dr Umar as Acting Rector, our Forum finds it convenient to connect the emerging scenario being engineered by the NBTE ES with his attitudes in Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa, Nasarawa State, and the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology Zaria where he served as the Rector and the Director-General, respectively.”
“This Forum and the other members of the public are fully aware of the controversies that characterised his tenure in both institutions which were caused by his high-handedness and absolute disregard for established procedures and which resulted in his unceremonious exit from each.
It was even this knowledge that made the largest section of the Kaduna Polytechnic’s community and other critical stakeholders vehemently oppose his appointment as a Rector on the 17th of September 2017. We all recall that, based on some justifiable negative perceptions about him, a lot of groups protested the emergence of Professor Bugaje as the Rector of the polytechnic as contained in a letter of complaint by Concerned Youth Citizens of Nigeria dated 22nd September 2017 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari. In the letter, the group wondered how Professor Bugaje who “was INDICTED and SANCTIONED in a GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER” on the report of the Visitation Panel to the Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa where he was a Rector could be appointed as a Rector of the Kaduna Polytechnic.”
”In the White Paper to which the above reference was made and which was dated 5th October 2004 the Federal Ministry of Education confirmed that “most of the allegations which were levelled against the Rector Dr I.M. Bugaje have been substantiated.” It was further stated that the Visitor to the institution” is also aware of the strained relationship between Dr Bugaje and the immediate community’’ and therefore directed that “the second tenure of Dr I.M Bugaje should not be renewed.”
The findings of the Visitation Panel which provided the basis of the government’s decision were, as stated, in a letter dated 10th April 2005 and signed by the Director in charge of Higher Education at the time, Dr P S Abdu, on behalf of the Minister of Education, and addressed to Bugaje, were “the provision of cash advance to unconfirmed officers and “glaring cases of violation of financial regulations such that the Accountant General’s Inspection Report directed immediate compliance.”
”All the above are enough to show Bugaje’s antecedents which are all about misconduct and irregularities. It is therefore not surprising that as Rector of the Kaduna Polytechnic and up till now as the ES of the NBTE he has continued to demonstrate a tendency for the creation and sustenance of a crisis situation which will cripple the institution.”
”On the basis of all the above facts, the Kaduna Polytechnic Stakeholders Forum wishes to make the following demands.
- Professor Idris Mohammed Bugaje should refrain from undue interference in the affairs of the Kaduna Polytechnic.
- The Federal Ministry of Education should warn the NBTE ES against such undue interference which will hinder smooth administration of the Polytechnic.
- The Management of Kaduna Polytechnic should be specifically encouraged to continue to discharge its responsibilities so that the existing stability in the institution can continue to prevail.”
“Finally, we pray to Almighty God to save our esteemed Kaduna Polytechnic from the mischief of those who are bent on causing chaos in the institution,” the statement added.
Efforts are still being made to reach the NBTE boss for his reaction as of time of filing this report.