ASUP kicks against sole administrator
By Adesina Wahab
CONFUSION has enveloped the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State, as the Rector, Dr. Dzukogi A. Abubakar, who retired from the services of the institution two months ago, is still calling the shots in the institution.
It was gathered his retirement was kept secret from the workers until one of the staff members got hold of his retirement letter and informed the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP and other staff unions in the polytechnic.
Dzukogi, on June 10th, 2020, sent his retirement letter to the Registrar of the polytechnic, titled: “Application for voluntary retirement as staff of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida.”
In the one-page letter, Dzukogi said, “Sequel to receipt of my letter of appointment as rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, reference DHE/Poly.V/C11/12/19 dated June 9th, 2020, today, June 10th, I hereby offer my voluntary retirement as a staff of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida with immediate effect from today, 10th June, 2020.
“My retirement is tendered to enable me serve out my second and final term in office and in line with extant provisions.
“It is also made in compliance with paragraph two of my appointment letter as the rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida reference DHE/Poly. V/C11/12/19 dated 9th June, 2020.”
In the first letter of his re-appointment signed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, said Dzukogi’s appointment would terminate on February 15th, 2021, after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 65 in line with the conditions of service in the polytechnic sector.
Another letter dated June 9th, 2020 signed by the Director of Tertiary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Samuel Ojo, informed the rector that based on extant provisions (circular from the HoS), the Minister of Education had approved he served out his second and final term in office, which terminates on May 20th, 2023.
“However, you are required to retire from the service with immediate effect as a staff of the institution and continue to run the second term. Failure to do so would mean that you would vacate office on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 65 on 15th February, 2021, ” the letter warned.
It was gathered that it was in the bid to be able to complete his second term fully that made the Rector to choose to retire last June.
Workers of the polytechnic told our correspondent that by convention and rules in the civil service, the Deputy Rector (Academics) ought to have taken over and act as acting rector for six months until a new rector is appointed.
In a swift reaction, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) in a petition to the Chief of Staff (CoS), Prof Ibrahim A. Gambari, informed him that the union appealed to the Governing Council to advertise the position of the rector and they failed to heed the advice.
“Dr. A . A. Dzukogi whose tenure ought to have expired on 22nd May, 2019, statutorily not re-appointable for second ternure because he has less than two years to retire from service, the union explained.
The letter signed by ASUP, Federal Polytechnic, Bida chapter Chairman, Comrade Abubakar Ndasabe and General Secretary, Engr. Yusuf Yakubu, said to the dismay of the union, the provision of the law governing the appointment and re-appointment of rector was deliberately manipulated to favour Dzukogi, adding, “the re-appointment letter is first of it’s kind in the polytechnic sector.”
ASUP disclosed that after his re-appointment for one year, eight months and ten days in office, the president signed the Polytechnics Act 2019 into law, which stipulates a single five years tenure for rectors and retirement age of academic staff at 65.
The union further explained that based on the retirement clause contained in the new Polytechnic Act, the minister while conveying the approval of the president on Dzukogi’s re-appointment, stated explicitly that his tenure ends on the date of his retirement, February 15th, 2021.
ASUP informed the CoS that the rector secured another re-appointment, which the union described as third term in office even after Dzukogi had retired as a civil servant, arguing “this is against every known provisions of law.”
ASUP words: “Respected CoS as a government that is committed to fighting corruption, giving room for illegality to triumph as the case in his re-appointment will set a bad precedence for Buhari’s administration in history.”
This Rector’s reappointment saga was based on a July 27th, 2009 circular which the Union argued that Nigerian constitution is supreme over any circular within and outside the civil service in Nigeria.
The Union therefore, called on the appointing authority to, as a matter of urgency, mandate the retired Rector to leave office immediately and set the machinery in place for the appointment of a new rector as provided for in the Polytechnic Act.
“The Rector’s controversial reappointment would no doubt cause a huge destruction to the Polytechnic sector in Nigeria, thus reversing the reappointment will serve the best interest of the sector and country in general,” the union stated.
Ndasabe further opined that “the Polytechnic sector will collapse if this illegal reappointment is allowed to stay, for any society that ceases to obey laws has no future.”