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How Power Tussle Between Education Minister, Adamu, Buhari’s Chief Of Staff, Gambari Delays Appointment Of Federal Polytechnic, Offa's Rector

October 6, 2022

Adamu and Gambari, who have opposing views on the best candidate to lead the institution, have reportedly clashed over who should be named the new rector.


The appointment of a substantive Rector for the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, has been delayed due to a power tussle between the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, and the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, according to Vanguard Learning’s investigation.

The search for a new rector has dragged on for almost eight months, with various names being floated as the lucky applicant selected for the position.

The polytechnic community, led by the acting Rector, Dr. Olarongbe Afolabi, has expressed concern over the development and called for a swift resolution of the impasse, noting that the academic community was eagerly awaiting the appointment of a substantive rector for the institution.

Adamu and Gambari, who have opposing views on the best candidate to lead the institution, have reportedly clashed over who should be named the new rector.

Vanguard Learning was informed by a number of sources, following the institution's appointment procedures.

It was gathered that after the conclusion of appointment processes by the statutory bodies, three names were forwarded to Adamu for onward transmission to Buhari for appointment as the Rector.

The three names recommended for appointment as the new rector, based on their performance during an interview, according to a source, were Dr. Raji Sarafa Adebayo, Dr. Kadiri Kamoru O and Dr. Akinde Mukail Aremu.

Document shows that 28 applicants were shortlisted and interviewed for the vacant position of the rector.

Dr. Raji came first scoring 80.8 per cent, Dr. Kadiri came second with 79.9 per cent, while Dr. Akinde was third with 75.4 per cent.

Following the recommendation to President Buhari by the Governing Council of Offa Poly, the minister recommended Dr. Kadiri, who came second, to the president for appointment as new rector in a letter dated 1st February, 2022.

The president, it was said, did not agree with the recommendation of Adamu, but rather instructed Gambari to convey his approval of Dr. Raji as the next rector of the institution.

Another letter sighted by Vanguard Learning dated 30th March, 2022, signed by Gambari, and addressed to the minister, read:

"With reference to your letter DHE/POLYXV/C.I/ VII/781 dated 1st February 2022, I write to convey to you Mr. President's approval for the appointment of Dr. Sarafa Adebayo Raji on merit, as the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, for a single tenure of five (5) years with effect from 28th March, 2022."
Six months into the directive of Mr. President, the minister, in a manner that suggests spurning the presidency, has refused to act on the president's order. Statutorily, Section 8 (3) (d) 8 (4) of the Polytechnic Act 2019 is clear on the appointment of a new rector.

According to the Act, "A Joint Council, Academic Board, Congregation and Selection Board... "Shall consider the candidates on the shortlist drawn up under subsection (2) (a) (ii) through an examination of their curriculum vitae and interaction with them and recommend in order of performance ranking, through the Council, to the President, three candidates for his consideration.

Subsection (4) concludes that, "The President shall appoint, as Rector, one of the candidates recommended to him under subsection (3)."

"The Minister of Education has not come clear on what has delayed his assent to a letter of appointment of a new rector for the polytechnic, even as a large number of staff are worried that merit might have been jettisoned for other considerations," a very senior academic staff said.

"Though there could be intrinsic considerations, especially if we consider the need to uphold federal character principles and the politics that crops in, in the appointment of public officers, but in this case, not a single member of the host community is a principal officer in the institution" Academic and non-academic unions of the institution had a fortnight ago, decried the delay by the Federal Government in announcing the appointment of a substantive rector for the 30-year-old polytechnic.

The Acting Rector, Dr Afolabi added that the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and other two unions in the school had done the needful by appealing to the Federal Government to appoint a new rector.

Given his nine-month stewardship in Offa, Dr Afolabi said that since his assumption of office, he has had at the back of his mind that his administration was an interim one.

He said, "ASUP and other unions of this polytechnic have done the needful by urging the Federal Government to appoint a substantive rector. We are eagerly waiting for the appropriate quarters to make the announcement. If the rector is appointed tomorrow, this polytechnic will be happy and will be happy.

"I am happy that our unions in the institution are now appealing to the appropriate quarters to expedite action on the appointment of a substantive rector and we will accept that in our strides.

"The first day assumed office I knew that my administration is an interim one. And I have it at the back of my mind that the Federal Government can appoint a substantive rector anytime.

"I have therefore striven to have some legacies behind at the end of my tenure as acting rector. Appointment of rector is not my responsibility. It is not even the responsibility of the Governing Council. Appointment of substantive rector is the prerogative of President Muhammadu Buhari."