Saturday, April 20, 2019 3:03 pm
…Provost Under Attack
The Provost, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Dr. S.A Akintunde, has an industrial crisis in his hands, no thanks to allegation of employment scam placed at his doorstep by the staff.
In February, 2019, the Management of Adeyemi College of Education employed 100 people comprising 82 academic staff and 12 non-academic staff. The employment caught all the Deans and Heads of Departments in the College unawares as they were not part of the process that led to the recruitment. The Deans unanimously resolved and rejected these appointments because they breached due process and conventions of the recruitment of academic staff.
The laid down rules and regulations stipulated that before any institution employs ,it must first meet the following three conditions:
(a) There must be genuine vacancies in the Departments. These vacancies will be declared by the Heads of Departments through the Deans.
(b) There must be approval from the appropriate authorities to recruit. In the case of the Colleges of Education, there must be approval from the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Federal Ministry of Education, Head of Service and Budget Office
(c) The College must have the capacity to pay the new staff. Having met the above conditions, the College must follow due process as stated below:
1. The employment vacancies will be generated by the Heads of the Departments through the Deans to the Provost.
2. The Provost will direct the Registrar to advertise such positions.
3. Applications submitted will be collated by the Registry and sent to the Departments for shortlisting.
4. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend interview. Those that passed the interview will be offered employment on probational basis for two years subject to confirmation.
The law also allows the Provost to employ people on temporary basis pending the time such applicants will be invited for interview. This privilege given to the provost has been grossly abused by Provosts in Colleges of Education and especially in the last recruitment carried out by the Management of Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo. The Provost, by law, is allowed to recruit staff temporarily in times of exigency when it is practically impossible to follow through the long process of recruitment because the services of such staff are needed urgently to fill vacancies that occurred as a result of death, transfer, deployment, political appointment, sickness, dismissal etc. The delegation of recruitment function to Provost has become a problem because it lacks control and gives room to Provosts to recruit without adherence to laid down policies and procedure. The power of the Provost to recruit temporary staff in times of exigency is not for him to carry out massive employment of 100 staff without following due process.
The latest employment that was carried out in the College was a complete breach of laid down rules and regulation. It has now become a tradition that whenever Provosts of Adeyemi College of Education are about to complete their terms in office, they use the last three months to recruit all manners of people as a compensation to people who assisted them during their tenure. In 2014, the former Provost of the College, Professor Adeyemi Idowu, recruited over 40 people within the last three months of his tenure without following due process. The immediate past provost of the College, Professor Olukoya Ogen, left the College on the 16th of October, 2016.
He was the one that carried out the latest recruitment but he was clever enough not to release the list before he left office because of the criticism that would follow it; he however handed it over to his godson, the present Provost, who was his Deputy while in office to release the list. Professor Ogen has denied knowledge of the names in the list; he accused the Council Chairman of ‘flooding’ the list with people from his state. That is the ridiculous level to which the recruitment of academic staff is subjected to in Adeyemi Colleges of Education. Recruitment of academic staff is a serious business that must meet the needs of the Departments and the candidates must be subjected to thorough scrutiny through competitive interview to ensure they are fit for the positions.
The conditions of employment place a lot of premium on the interview method for selection especially for academic staff. The just recruitment exercise carried out in Adeyemi College of Education Ondo in February, 2019 falls short of all conditions governing the recruitment of academic staff as 82 academic staff were recruited without following due process: No request for vacancies by the Deans and Heads of Departments, no advertisement, no interview. The Governing Council Chairman and the Provost used their discretionary power to recruit without following the due process.
The Heads of Departments only got to see the newly recruited staff when they reported for duty with their letters of employment. Most of the people recruited were not qualified to teach in a College of Education system which requires teaching qualification as a condition for teaching; most of them were recruited into the Departments and units that did not need them and where they are not qualified. For instance, six lecturers were employed to lecture in the Department of Home Economics, the Department rejected them because they were not qualified to teach the vacant courses in the Department, the Registrar quickly changed their letters of employment and sent them to the Departments of General Studies and Adult and Non-Formal Education.
They were not also qualified to teach in those Departments but the Management insisted the HODs must accept them. One of the new employees, read Food Technology and was sent to the Department of Adult and Non-Formal Education, the Head of the Department was forced to accept him even when he was not qualified to be in the Department. In the Department of Agricultural Sciences, two senior lecturers left the service of the College and they were in the Agricultural Engineering unit, the Department was in need of lecturers in Agricultural Engineering but five lecturers were sent to them all in Agricultural Extension/ Animal Science.
These units are now over staffed and with the new recruitment; most of the lecturers have become redundant. One of the new lecturers who read English Education was sent to the Department of English, the Department rejected him and the Registrar sent her the Department of Primary Education Studies (PES) and the Department also rejected him. There is a particular employee who read Mass Communication and was sent to the School of Education to teach Educational Technology, the Department does not know which of the courses to be given to him to teach. The Department of Geography was given five lecturers that are not needed in the Department. This is the situation in all the Departments as the employment was done arbitrarily.
Those recruited are children or wards of some senior officials of the Ministry of Education, Budget office, Head of Service, National Commission for Colleges of Education and Federal Character Commission; these senior officers assisted the Provost to carry out the recruitment exercise without following due process. The Deans and the Heads of the Departments are being intimidated to keep quite over the matter.
In trying to justify this behind the door employment, the Management claimed it sought and got waiver from the above stated offices not to advertise the positions but to do discrete recruitment. The academic staff union, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has joined forces with the Deans to resist the imposition of these unqualified candidates on the Departments. The Union in the letter it wrote to the Management dated, 11th March, 2019 asked the Management to reverse all the appointments in the interest of industrial peace.
The Union asked the Management to place advertisement in the newspapers asking for interested qualified candidates to apply for the advertised positions. The Union has threatened industrial action in case the Management refuses to reverse all the appointments. The Union noted that employment into academic should not be used to compensate political associates and government bureaucrats rather it should be for those who are qualified and have passion for teaching. Qualified candidates from poor backgrounds who do not know people in high places in Abuja but are qualified should be allowed to apply and compete for the advertised positions.
The Management is at present struggling to pay salary of staff. The Management of the College owes salary arrears of N186m that were deducted from staff salaries and ought to have been paid to staff multipurpose cooperative societies. The College still owes promotion and other allowances, yet the Management went ahead to recruit 100 staff without ability to pay and without following the laid down rules and regulations. The newly recruited staff will add N22m to the current wage bill of the College.
TheNEWS sent a message to the Provost, Dr. S.A Akintunde and Registrar, Mrs O.O. Fakorede for their reaction on 10 April. The medium waited for 10 days without receiving any response. In fact, a source at the institution had warned: “Though, you do not expect these people to give you the correct response, they will avoid any question that will implicate them.”