Ripples over appointment of Kaduna Poly Rector
• Stakeholders petition minister, seek intervention
Controversy has continued to trail the appointment of a new rector for Kaduna Polytechnic (KADPOLY), as stakeholders called for government intervention.
Acting Rector of the institution, Dr. Suleiman Umar, whose tenure has expired, was accused of making moves to remain in office and allegedly frustrating efforts by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to appoint a substantive rector.
Concerned stakeholders have also petitioned the education minister, Adamu Adamu, to wade into the matter by naming a substantive rector to oversee the affairs of the school.
A top official of the institution, Mohammed Abdullahi, in his petition alleged that the executive secretary of NBTE, Prof Idris Bugaje, is against Umar’s appointment as a substantive rector over his case with Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Abdullahi maintained that the institution’s governing council, by tacitly endorsing Umar, is disqualifying other candidates interested in the job.
He noted that the acting rector’s core competence is not in technical education, but Mathematics education, stressing that in a modern polytechnic, “it will amount to a grave error to appoint someone whose strength is hinged on Philosophy of Mathematics than having the requisite technical knowledge to head a polytechnic.”
Abdullahi called for the intervention of the education minister by ensuring that a qualified rector is appointed.
“The minister’s silence is not golden in the face of the problem at Kaduna Polytechnic. Anyone conversant with your antecedents must be at a loss why you have looked the other way, while a crisis of monumental proportion is threatening to destroy the institution over the appointment of a substantive rector, “Abdullahi said.
The letter reads in part: “From the news stories and commentaries trailing the narratives on the matter, it is clear that allowing Umar to continue serving in his present capacity violates the Polytechnic (Amendment) Act 2019. The current probe of the acting rector by ICPC over the award of some internally generated revenue contracts in the last eight months does not make your silence golden.
“The institution’s council had on November 17, 2021, approved Umar’s tenure as acting rector by another six months in clear violation of the Polytechnic (Amendment) Act 2019, which clearly stated that in the case of vacancy in the office of the rector, the council shall appoint an acting rector who should not be in office for more than six months.
Prof Bugaje, had in November 2021, wrote a letter to the Federal Ministry of Education, through the Director, Polytechnics, harping on the need to quickly overturn the decision of KADPOLY council.
The NBTE chief maintained that the action of the council amounted to a violation of the Polytechnic Act and should be reversed.
“It is pathetic that despite an invitation by the Senate committee on tertiary education on both the Kaduna Polytechnic governing council and other relevant officials last year, the illegality foisted on the school has not been addressed,” he said.
Abdullahi alleged the deliberate exclusion of Prof Muhammad. S. Yahaya of Kaduna State University (KASU) from the race is a ploy by the polytechnic council to pave the way for Dr. Umar’s appointment as a substantive rector.
“The exclusion was aimed at arriving at a predetermined outcome of ensuring that better candidates are excluded from the interview process. Where in the world was it ever heard that a professor was excluded from an interview conducted to appoint a rector on account of being a professor?” Abdullahi queried.
Already, Yahaya has petitioned the minister, urging him to prevail on the council to rescind its decision in the interest of fairness, justice and rule of law.
His letter read in part: “I have been illegally excluded from the interview for the post of rector in a gross violation of my rights and out of four other candidates that rose to the rank of chief lecturers from the same institution. Three, including the current acting rector, were called for an interview while I was deliberately excluded, which is very unfair. I believe I was also discriminated against on purpose in favour of selected candidates for the post.”
But KADPOLY stakeholders’ forum has accused the NBTE boss of attempting to scuttle the process of the appointment of Umar.
Chairman and Secretary of the group, Mallam Musa Muhammad and Joseph Kazachan, respectively, took exceptions to allegations by the NBTE boss, directing him to validate his claims or face legal action.
“In fact, failure by Bugaje to substantiate his claims will leave us with no option than to file a suit against him for attempting to cause disharmony.
When contacted, Prof Bugaje declined comments on the issue, saying he had already directed his lawyers to study the libellous statement against him by the stakeholders’ forum.