KadPoly: Open letter to education minister

Hon. Minster, you may recall that I wrote you the first letter on February 28, 2022 after subterranean efforts were deployed by the Kaduna Polytechnic Governing Council to justify the exclusion of Professor Muhammad Sani Yahaya from the recruitment exercise through recommending the appointment of the Acting Rector, Dr Suleiman Umar, as the substantive rector for the institution.

The exclusion of Professor Yahaya, a teacher with the Kaduna State University, from the recruitment exercise had sparked off outrage among members of the polytechnic community, following a deliberate ploy not to invite academics of professorial status. Despite protests and a press conference called by the don, the Governing Council went ahead to recommend Umar for appointment as substantive rector.

Aware that the Governing Council was not willing to revisit his exclusion from the interview, Prof Yahaya approached the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) for adjudication over the matter. As it is, both sides have commenced legal fireworks, thus invalidating any planned appointment of a new substantive rector until determination of the case.

With the illegal tenure of Dr. Umar ending this week, May 18, 2022, plans are already afoot to procure yet another illegal tenure extension for Dr. Umar who has so far spent over a year in acting capacity; an act that is not only illegal in civil service rules, but also prohibited by the Polytechnic (Amendment) Act 2019. Those behind the illegality of renewing six-month extension for Umar on November 17, 2021 are hell-bent in repeating their ignoble act. The circumstances under which Umar’s extension of six-month tenure was renewed in November 2021, contrary to the provision of the Polytechnic (Amendment) Act 2019, is suspect as the tenure extension was procured on the altar of alleged financial inducements.

With the current illegal tenure extension expiring on May 18, 2022, subtle plans have already been concluded to secure yet another illegal extension in order to perpetuate the cabal’s riotous disposition. Frightened by the likelihood that Umar’s appointment as the substantive rector may turn out an elusive dream, the Registrar, Dr Muhammad Sani Musa, who is appears to be the brain behind the crisis, is contriving yet another illegal extension. In a move that is causing outrage and tension amongst members of the polytechnic, the registrar on May 09, 2022, wrote to both the chairman and members of the Governing Council to approve yet another illegal renewal of six-month tenure for Umar to continue in office as the acting rector. If council approves such a reprehensible recommendation, it will not only be a subversion of the Polytechnic (Amendment) Act 2019, but also a clear case of enthroning embarrassing impunity.

Anyone conversant with your antecedents must be at a loss on why you have not beamed your searchlight on the alleged corruption-ridden Kaduna Polytechnic and the many infractions that have gone uninvestigated. From the news and commentaries trailing the narratives on this matter, it is clear that allowing Umar to continue serving as acting rector is illegal and a violation of the Polytechnic (Amendment) Act 2019 which states: “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”.

It is only in Kaduna Polytechnic that the tenure of an acting rector was renewed beyond the approved six-month as enshrined in the Polytechnic Act. There are scenarios in Mubi and Auchi polytechnics where acting rectors never had their tenures renewed after the expiration of the six-month period as enshrined in the law. The question on many lips is: Why is Dr Umar’ case different?

The Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Professor Idris Bugaje, who is the immediate rector of the polytechnic, has been unjustifiably accused of being behind the travail of Umar. As executive secretary of NBTE, he cannot be seen to be quiet when things are wrongly done. Besides being a constant victim of blackmail through a faceless group called KadPoly Forum, Prof Bugaje has refused to be cowed in remaining silent in the face of a campaign of calumny unleashed on him.

Happily, the KadPoly Forum has been exposed as a fictional platform created by those who are committed to sustaining the illegality. Mallam Musa Muhammed and Joseph Kazachan, previously taunted as the chairman and secretary of the forum, are only fictional personalities deployed to fight the principled stance of Prof Bugaje who has remained relentless in standing up against lawlessness in the polytechnic system.

For this crisis rocking the polytechnic to be resolved, the illegal extension of another tenure being sought for Umar should be denied. A new panel for the recruitment of a new rector should be set up under the watch of the ministry, NBTE and incorruptible technocrats in order to conduct an interview for a new rector. A new acting rector should be appointed for a period of six months in order to take over the affairs of the polytechnic. The Governing Council should not be exclusively allowed to conduct the recruitment interview for a new rector as the council has not demonstrated the type of impartiality expected of it.

Those who love opulence more than academics should not be allowed to diminish the excellence of this premier polytechnic. I pray to the Almighty Allah to grant you the wisdom and strength to end the hawkish manipulations of those determined to destroy Kaduna Polytechnic.

Mohammed Abdullahi,

Minna, Niger state