Calls for discipline, commitment resonate as new helmsmen take charge
By the last count, over 10 of the 17 newly appointed chief executives of parastatals in the Federal Ministry of Education (FME), had resumed office, having been appointed last week by President Muhammadu Buhari.
As they assume the reigns, one thing that has continued to resonate in their speeches, has been the need for staff members to maintain a high sense of discipline and rededicate themselves to their respective assignments.
For instance, the new Registrar/Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, did not mince words when he specifically vowed to enforce discipline, just as he promised to maintain the good works of his predecessor, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde.
On resuming office Monday, Oloyede, who described his appointment as divine, said he never believed he would preside over the affairs of JAMB.
The former vice chancellor of the University of Ilorin and Secretary-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, in his brief address titled “Let Us Do It Together,” unfolded a five-point agenda, adding that he would build on the legacy left behind by his predecessors and not hesitate to jettison whatever deserves to be changed.
In harping on discipline, he said, “Many people who criticise others are also corrupt by virtue of their sheer indiscipline. The first rule in heaven is order, and the bane of our development as a nation is indiscipline. Indiscipline begins from attitude to time, but it does not end there.
“Lateness to work, laziness at work, disrespect for deadlines, insubordination and so on are viruses that often cripple an organisation. I will implore you to hold discipline sacrosanct because indiscipline is corruption and many people who criticise others are also corrupt by virtue of their sheer indiscipline.”
Oloyede, who hails from Abeokuta South Local Council Area of Ogun State, had his secondary education at the Progressive Institute, Agege Lagos State and Arabic Training Centre Agege, Lagos. He later attended the University of Ibadan between 1976 and 1977, where he obtained a certificate in Arabic and Islamic Studies.
At the University of Ilorin, he studied Arabic and was awarded a B.A. Arabic (First Class Hons) in 1981, and in July 1982 he was appointed an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Religions of the university. In 1991, he obtained his Doctorate degree in Islamic Studies also from the University of Ilorin.
At the National Universities Commission (NUC), where Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, got in the saddle, he pledged to promote accountability and improve staff welfare.
According to Rasheed, synergy among staff is needed to move the commission forward and achieve its mandate.
“Let us work together; let us be bold, honest and courageous; I will do my best to be open; to be transparent; to promote accountability. I will also ensure that staff who deserve anything in their welfare; in their salaries, allowances and promotions will get them as and when due.
“Everybody is a friend. I do not have foes in this place until they decide not to be,” he stated.
Rasheed continued, “If you decide not be my friend; then it is not a crime; but if you decide not to be a friend of the institution of NUC, then you will be in crisis,” he warned.
He said it was a special privilege to be given the opportunity to lead a commission charged with the responsibility of regulating universities, and urged the staff members to eschew sentiments and gossip and be dedicated to their duties as incompetence would not be tolerated.
The immediate past vice chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, who is a professor of English Language, said he had contacted past executive secretaries of the commission and would need their advice in piloting the affairs of the commission.
He is the pioneer Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Board of Jigawa State University and a Sabbatical Professor at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
In Minna, Niger State, the Registrar/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Examination Council (NECO) Prof. Charles Uwakwe, said he was in NECO to carry out the mandate handed him by Buhari.
Upon taking over Professor Garba Abdulrasheed, at the NECO Headquarters, he said, “The President has challenged all of us heads of education agencies to put in our best to transform the education sector in this country as part of the change agenda of the administration.
“I will work with the mandate given to me and will ensure that I improve on the standard already laid by previous chief executive officers of this organisation,” Uwakwe stated.
“I am proud of the calibre of staff in this organisation, and I believe with the cooperation of all we will take NECO to the promised land,” said the new helmsman, who was full of praises for his predecessor, Abdulrasheed, whom he said has done a lot in improving the image of NECO within the short period he was in charge.
He assured management and staff that the new leadership would carry them along, but solicited for their support and cooperation while also warning that indolence and indiscipline will not be tolerated.
In his inaugural speech, the new Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr. Hameed Bobboyi, elected to call on state governors and other relevant stakeholders to join in the determination of the Federal government to revamp the basic education sub-sector in the country.
Speaking on his assumption of duty, Bobboyi said there was no alternative to fixing the nation’s basic education sector that had suffered serious neglect in the past.
Bobboyi, noted that for the country to achieve the needed quality education and production of critical mass of manpower to drive government’s development agenda, the foundation of basic education must first be established.
He acknowledged that there were multiple challenges confronting basic education sector in Nigeria, but expressed confidence that with all relevant stakeholders working together, the much desired quality basic education would be achieved.
“We cannot get it right without properly laying a solid foundation for the growth and development of basic education. Yes, basic education is on the concurrent list, we all need to work collectively to revamp the sector. I understand that the Federal Government has done a lot through UBEC. We will sustain that and we will also meet with the state governments and relevant stakeholders in this regard,” he said.
The new UBEC boss pledged to give priority attention to the welfare of staff of the commission while also urging them to continue to discharge their duties with utmost level of patriotism, honesty and hard work.
In a related development, former executive secretary of the NUC, Prof. Peter Okebukola, has praised the outgone JAMB boss for rejuvenating the body saying he did “exceptionally well.”
According to him, “With about nine years as head of JAMB, Professor Dibu Ojerinde has done exceptionally well. The transformation, which he took the board through is huge. He modernised the operations of the board at such a dizzying pace that I used to fondly call him the “magician” in JAMB. I note that he worked with exceptional directors and I should single out Dr. Yusuf Lawal, who oversees Test Administration.
“With the appointment of Professor Is-haq Oloyede, as the new registrar, JAMB is in for a revolutionary time in terms of delivering more effectively on its mandate. Professor Oloyede parades excellent credentials to lead a whole sector like education in Nigeria, hence asking him to head a parastatal in education is like asking a five-star, battle-tested general to quell a fight between two area boys in Ajegunle! Professor Oloyede ran the University of Ilorin as a model for the Nigerian university system, and served dutifully as Chairman of the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, and at the continental level, as president of the Association of African Universities. He is a no-nonsense, clear-headed scholar who is globally consulted on higher education matters, including issues dealing with admitting quality students, which fits in with the JAMB mandate. I am convinced that he will smoothen the rough edges of the unfortunate furore around the 2016 admission exercise.
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