By BASHIR ADEFAKA
The Minister of Education in Nigeria, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has been urged to constitute an investigative panel to probe the process that will produce a new Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida.
This was contained in a petition by the Great Light Foundation, signed by Mr. Ibrahim Issah, and copy of which was made available to The DEFENDER on Wednesday
The foundation faulted the interview process, which it claimed that “One of the interviewed candidates was one Engr. Dr. Baba Aliyu Haruna, who is from the same place as the outgoing Rector.”
According to the petition, “The outgoing Rector is ethically not qualified to chair the committee for the selection of his successor in the first place, the presence of Mallam Jibril Aliyu Haruna of the social science department of the institution, who happens to be the senior brother to Engr. Baba Aliyu Haruna on the interview panel makes mockery of the neutrality expected of the committee.”
Read the petition below:
PETITION FOR THE DISQUALIFICATION OF ENGR. DR. BABA ALIYU HARUNA FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE APPOINTMENT OF A NEW RECTOR FOR THE FEDERAL POLYTECHNIC, BIDA, NIGER STATE.
A PETITION BY THE GREAT LIGHT EDUCATION FOUNDATION (GLEF)
MALLAM ADAMU ADAMU
HON. MINISTER OF EDUCATION, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
DATED: 03 MAY, 2023
We are a globally recognized education sector stakeholder, working to ensure best practices in the management, delivery and financing of education in public tertiary institutions in Nigeria. In line with our mission, we monitor the governance and leadership recruitment processes in public institutions, because we believe that when the processes that produce the headship of an institution is faulty, such cannot deliver an effective administration that will ensure optimum service delivery to students and generally enhance the quality and performance of our public sector education.
We, the undersigned, would like to bring your attention to the ongoing issues and emerging problems, including the underground manipulations, involved in the process of the appointment of a new substantive Rector for the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State. The issues and concerns are as follows:
1. The Federal Polytechnic, Bida, is in the process of recruiting a new Rector as the tenure of the incumbent Rector, Dr. Abubakar Abdul Dzukogi draws to a close. And in line with Section 8 sub section 3 of the Federal Polytechnic (Amendment) Act 2019, a committee was constituted to consider, vet and recommend, through the Council of the Polytechnic, three suitably qualified candidates to the President for his consideration.
2. Following from the above, the committee conducted two interview sessions for all shortlisted candidates who applied for the position between Thursday, 23rd March, 2023 and Friday, 24th March, 2023. One of the interviewed candidates was one Engr. Dr. Baba Aliyu Haruna, who is from the same place as the outgoing Rector.
3. While the outgoing Rector is ethically not qualified to chair the committee for the selection of his successor in the first place, the presence of Mallam Jibril Aliyu Haruna of the social science department of the institution, who happens to be the senior brother to Engr. Baba Aliyu Haruna on the interview panel makes mockery of the neutrality expected of the committee.
The fact that Engr. Baba Aliyu Haruna, who happens to be a younger brother of a member of the interview panel, was later declared as having the highest score and placed first among the other candidates speaks volume of the shadiness and the lack of credibility that characterized the entire process.
4. We note that Mr. Kawu Hassan Abubakar of the department of accountancy and member of the interview panel drew the attention of the outgoing Rector and chairman of the panel, Dr. Abubakar Abdul Dzukogi to the impropriety of having Mallam Jibril Aliyu Haruna of the social science department of the same institution sit as a member of the interview panel that would screen his biological brother; but the Rector waved aside this genuine concern without offering any acceptable rationale or justification; although our findings suggest that the chairman of the interview panel and the outgoing Rector, Dr. Abubakar Abdul Dzukogi is being blackmailed by Engr. Dr. Baba Aliyu Haruna to do his bidding by using some financial documents at his disposal.
The documents in question were the same ones he used when he faced an investigation committee sometime in 2016 after his removal as the Director for Continuing education for financial misconduct, with a claim that outgoing Rector was involved in whatever financial impropriety he committed.
5. Still holding the outgoing Rector by the jugular using blackmail, Engr. Dr. Haruna Baba Aliyu has continued to threaten that he has evidence of the involvement of the outgoing rector in the financial mismanagement he committed while he held sway as the Director of continuing education.
Following his removal as Director in 2016, on the recommendation of the investigation committee, Engr. Dr. Haruna Baba Aliyu insisted to the Rector that he must be reinstated, otherwise he would blow the whistle in the financial mess he claimed the Rector was involved in with him. Pleading with him to show understanding in order to avoid the outcry his reinstatement will cause within the institution; the Rector was able to prevail on Engr. Dr. Haruna Baba Aliyu to accept another appointment, hence he was on the 29th December, 2016 reapportionment as a Director, this time placed in charge of the directorate of Linkages and collaboration.
6. Not done, Engr. Dr. Haruna Baba Aliyu is now employing the same blackmail strategy that has worked so well for him in the past to further armtwist the outgoing Rector to support his ambition to be the next Rector of the polytechnic, and as result forcing him to circumvent process,
including turning a blind eye to the inappropriate composition of the interview panel and subsequently manipulating the scores of the interview to favour the said Engr. Dr. Haruna Baba Aliyu.
1. As an important stakeholder in the education sector, we believe that transparency and integrity are integral character required of a leader of any self-respecting institution of learning. But considering his antecedents and history, Engr. Dr. Baba Aliyu Haruna does not possess the required decency and discipline to occupy a sensitive position as the Rector of a polytechnic.
2. The same Engr. Dr, Baba Aliyu Haruna was on record to have tainted the reputation of the polytechnic while he served as the Director of the directorate of continuing education of Bida Polytechnic. The appointment, made on 23rd June, 2015 was supposed to last for two years (please see
attachment), but due to the mismanagement of funds and several other acts of financial mismanagement he committed at the time, he was removed before the expiration of his tenure as a result of the indictment by the committee set up to investigate him. However, because he smartly indicted the Rector during his appearance before the investigation committee, the report was buried and, instead of him facing any disciplinary action; Engr. Dr. Baba Aliyu Haruna was instead reappointed as a Director in charge of linkages and collaboration effective January 2017, the very year his first appointment was originally scheduled to end. This claim can be independently verified.
3. Aside his record of financial indiscipline, it is also possible that Engr. Dr. Baba Aliyu Haruna lied and provided false and misleading information regarding his actual age, a situation that makes his candidacy for the Rectorship position highly questionable. It beggars belief that someone who has been a Chief Lecturer for over ten years would claim to be born in 1967!
4. Also, with the presence of his elder brother on the interview panel, an undue advantage was conferred on Engr. Dr. Baba Aliyu Haruna to the detriment of other contenders for the same position. A lack of level playing field is therefore a violation of the rights of the other candidates to a free, fair and equitable process in the appointment of a new Rector for Bida Polytechnic.
It is our conclusion that an unfair process, which characterized the obviously predetermined outcome of the interview panel, cannot deliver an acceptable outcome.
1. Consequent on the above issues and concerns raised, which have already began to generate anxiety within the institution, we plead with the Honourable Minister to immediately constitute a panel of enquiry to determine the faulty nature or otherwise of the interview upon which the recommendation of the candidates for the Rectorship of Bida Polytechnic was based.
2. We request that having confirmed the presence of a senior brother to Engr. Dr. Baba Aliyu Haruna on the interview panel; the younger brother who is the obvious beneficiary of the favoritism displayed by the panel be disqualified and barred from being considered for the Rectorship. The two other persons, especially one with the second highest score in the interview conducted, should instead be considered and appointed.
3. We plead that you use your good office to ensure that the process of appointing the next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Bida Polytechnic is devoid of bias and irregularities. As an institution founded on the principles of equity and excellence; the appointment of the Rector must be based solely on merit, character and competence.
To proceed with the appointment of Engr. Dr. Aliyu Baba Haruna, despite the glaring undue advantage conferred on him by the interview panel and his personal baggage as someone lacking in financial integrity and morals; would be to create avoidable crisis in the Federal Polytechnic, Bida. This would not only be a hindrance to your ongoing efforts to reposition education at the tertiary level, it would also dampen the morale of staff members who already are very familiar with the issues surrounding the ongoing process to appoint a new Rector for the Polytechnic. It is important that you intervene in this matter in order to restore sanity within the institution and reassure all stakeholders that no form of illegality, abuse of process and manipulation would be allowed under your watch.