May 27, 2024

Despite FG’s explanation, college workers protest over Provost’s tenure

Despite FG’s explanation, college workers protest over Provost’s tenure

By Adesina Wahab

Some workers in the Federal College of Education, Technical, Akoka, Lagos on Monday protested the continued stay in office of the Provost, Dr Wahab Ademola Azeez.

The workers, operating under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee, comprising academic and non-academic staff, opined that Azeez’s tenure lapsed on Sunday and should not continue in office.

Their position came on the heel of the Federal Government’s position that Azeez could still be in office till May 2027.

Azeez was first appointed provost for a four-year tenure in May 2019 and got his tenure renewed for another four years in May 2923.

However, a new law came into effect in June 2023 pegging the tenure of provosts at a single term of five years.

The bone of contention now is the interpretation of the Federal Colleges of Education Act, 2023, particularly in relation to the tenure of Provosts.

The workers had earlier written on 8th April, 2024, to the Federal Ministry of Education seeking clarification on the matter.

In a reply issued by the Ministry’s Legal Unit on May 23, 2024, they said the amended Act stipulates a single, non-renewable five-year term for Provosts of Federal Colleges of Education.

“This provision is aimed at standardizing tenure across institutions and ensuring a clear succession plan.”

The statement highlighted key provisions of the Act, including the single term of five years as per section 13(6) of the amended Act, meaning Provosts are now limited to a single term of five years without the possibility of renewal. Transitional arrangements under section 13(7) address the status of Provosts appointed before the Act was enacted. Specifically, Provosts with less than five years in office will serve a single term of five years, regardless of their original appointment terms. Those serving a second term at the time the Act was enacted will complete their current four-year term without any extension.

Speaking on the matter, Azeez said the position of the FG on the matter was clear and unambiguous.

“The protest is illegal. Those involved don’t seem to understand the issues or they are simply being mischievous. They must be ready to face the consequences of their actions. The government, our employers, have come out with their position and even the Act is clear on the matter. I have served the college in various capacities and since I assumed office, I have added great value to the college and all the unions.

“We have been enjoying peace and harmony in the college and those who think they can truncate that are joking. It pleased the government to renew my tenure in May 2023 and my four-year tenure will lapse in  May 2027. I am not fighting for what is not legal or unconstitutional,” he said on phone.