By Joan Nwagwu
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has urged the Federal Government to start the process for the appointments of new Rectors for Federal Polytechnic in five States.
The ASUP President, Mr Anderson Ezeibe, made the call at the end of the 106th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union in Abuja on Thursday.
The institutions include the Federal Polytechnic Ugep in Cross River; Federal Polytechnic Shendam, Plateau; Federal polytechnic Mungonu, Borno; Federal Polytechnic Enugu, Enugu State; and Federal Polytechnic Wannune, Benue.
Ezeibe said the meeting was called to discussed critical issues affecting the Nigerian Polytechnic system, education sector and the nation at large.
According to him, the NEC of the union is disappointed that more than one month after the ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC) in the suit NICN/ABJ/117/2021 delivered by Hon. Justice O.A. Obaseki- OSAGHAE, nothing has happened.
“This is where the purported appointments of Prof. Edward Okey, Dr Zakari Yau, Prof. Garba Ngala, Prof. Edwin Onyeneje, Dr Terlumun Utser as Rectors of Federal Polytechnic Ugep, Shendam, Mungonu, Ohodo, and Wannune respectively was nullified.
`The government and the respective governing councils of the institutions are yet to begin the process for the appointment of new Rectors.
“We are surprised that despite the lucid nature of the judgement, which highlighted the fact that the persons purportedly appointed do not possess the requisite requirements for the positions as contained in the Federal Polytechnics Act (2019) amendment.
“Our union is unhappy that the supremacy of the rule of law is threatened in the Nigerian polytechnic system as this signals a new regime of impunity in the sector,’’ he said.
The ASUP president, therefore, called on the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Education to respect the NIC ruling and relieve the affected persons parading as rectors of such duties.
He said the union also demanded the conclusion of the appointment process for the rectors of Federal Polytechnic Bauchi and Yaba College of Technology as the non-conclusion of the process was undermining the smooth administration of the institutions.
Ezeibe, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the release of first tranche of the N15 billion NEEDS ASSESSMENT intervention for the polytechnics.
He said that the funds were currently being received by the beneficiary institutions and the union and they would ensure appropriate value for it being released.
“Our union shall hold the Rector of any polytechnic responsible for any form of infraction noticed in deployment of the funds for the approved projects.
“We have received early warning signals of attempts by unscrupulous persons to undermine the deployment of these funds through spurious demands from the rectors.
“In due course, we shall be revealing the identities of these persons and their collaborators as we are determined to ensure that the funds are judiciously spent to improve infrastructure in the system,’’ he said.
The union leader also noted that 18 Federal Polytechnics were currently suffering the impact of shortcomings in the budgeting processes of the Polytechnics.
According to him, the impact of this lack of attention to details is seen in the non-remittances of third party deductions like union check off dues and cooperative societies’ deductions for the past three months.
“ Our union views this as a plot to undermine the union as representative organs of the staff and impoverish members by denying them access to the benefits of their contributions to the cooperative societies,’’ he said.
Ezeibe pointed out the non-payment of staff salaries in some state-owned polytechnics and monotechnics such as Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, that is owing the 40 months as well as Plateau, Osun, Benue, Ondo and Edo.
He said the union’s check off dues were withheld by the Sokoto and Ogun state governments.
He added that this was indeed a sad commentary in the dispensation of good governance in the country.
He, however, called for the restarting of the union and Federal Government 2010 renegotiation that began since 2017, which had lingered till date.(NAN)