The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has ignored the order of President Muhammadu Buhari which approved the appointment of Dr Raji Sarafa Adebayo as the new Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Offa in Kwara State.
The issue has now become a subject of power tussle between President Buhari, his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, according to documents made available to DAILY POST.
The institution has operated without a substantive rector for a whole academic session, while the recent death of the registrar of the school, Mr Adetunji Oni, has further thrown the institution into disarray, with major academic and administrative issues put on hold, an authoritative source disclosed.
Oni, who died on August 19, held the fort with the expiration of the tenure of the acting registrar, Dr Larongbe Akanbi Afolabi, who took over from the immediate past rector, Dr Lateef Olatunji on January 31st, 2022.
However, since Afolabi’s tenure expired in July 2022, without renewal or extension by the parent Federal Ministry of Education, students’ results could not be considered or certificates issued as a result of the absence of a substantive rector of the institution, according to the source.
The source revealed that after the conclusion of the recent appointment processes by the statutory bodies, three names were forwarded to the Education Minister, based on their performance in the interview for a new rector of the school.
The three names are Dr Raji Sarafa Adebayo, Dr Kadiri Kamaru and Dr Akinde Mukail Aremu.
Documents on the issue showed that 28 applicants were shortlisted and interviewed for the vacant position of rector.
Dr Raji emerged first, scoring 80.8 over 100, while Dr Kadiri, came second with 79.9 and Dr Akinde scored 75.4 to emerge third.
Following the recommendation of the Governing Council of the institution, the Education Minister, however, in a twist of event, recommended Dr Kadiri who came second for appointment as the new rector in a letter dated February 1st, 2022.
President Buhari reportedly faulted the recommendation of the Education Minister and instructed his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, to transmit his approval of Dr Raji as the next rector of Federal Polytechnic, Offa, in a letter dated March 30th, 2022.
The letter, signed by Professor Gambari and addressed to the Education Minister stated, “with reference to your letter DHE/POLYXV/CI/V11/781, dated February 1st,2022, I write to convey to you Mr President’s approval for the appointment of Dr Raji Sarafa Adebayo on merit as the rector of Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, for a single term of five years with effect from 28th March 2022.”
The Education Minister was yet to honour the presidential order at the time of this report and failed to explain the reason for his action, just as concerns have been raised over whether merit has been jettisoned for other political considerations.
Statutorily, Section 8(3)(d)8(4) of the Polymerization Act 2019 is clear on the appointment of a new rector.
The Act, says “A joint council, Academic Board, Congregation and Selection Board shall consider the candidates on the shortlist drawn up under subsection (2)(a)(11) through an examination of their curriculum vitae and interaction with them and recommend in order of performance ranking, through the governing body to the president, three candidates for his consideration.
“Subsection (4), concluded that the President shall appoint as rector one of the candidates recommended to him under subsection (3).”