Federal Polytechnic Ado-Ekiti Authorities, Workers on the War path

Filed in School News | By Emmanuel Worthwhile | Last Modified On

The ongoing crisis rocking the Federal
Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, began last September
with the workers demanding a probe of the
financial records of the institution and
accusing the Rector, Mrs. Theresa Akande,
of high handedness.

Six months after, there seems to be no end
to the crisis, with members of staff and the
authorities still beating the drums of war.
While the workers, through their unions,
are demanding the sacking of the rector,
she says their action is aimed at tainting her
records.

Earlier during a protest staged under the
umbrella of the Academic Staff Union of
Polytechnics, Senior Staff Association of
Nigerian Polytechnics and Non-Academic
Staff Union, the workers also demanded the
dissolution of the school’s Governing
Council over what they described as the
“inability of the team to provide quality
leadership.”

They made the call while declaring a strike
over the non-payment of their Consolidated
Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure 15,
reportedly approved on October 2, 2013 by
the Federal Government for federal
polytechnics, among other demands.

The aggrieved workers carried placards with
different inscriptions, such as “Akande, pay
us our money,” “Federal poly is a one-man
show,” “N16m for one overseas trip,” “Do we
have a Governing Council? ICPC, EFCC come
to our aid.”

The leaders of the unions – Dr. Ayeni
Oluwole (SSANIP), Tunji Owoeye (ASUP),
Adekunle Adeniyi (NASU) and the National
Secretary of SSANIP, Mr. Monday Jegede,
who accused the management of non-
remittance of N250m deducted from
workers’ salaries into the staff cooperatives
– equally vowed that they would not hold
any dialogue with the management until all
their demands have been met.

Owoeye said, “We will not have anything to
do with the management because it has
committed illegality and must face the
wrath of the law.
“It is illegal to reduce workers’ salary
without recourse to the law. They have to
look into this and pay us in full. There is the
need to fulfil this condition before we can
discuss with the management.”

Jegede, who also warned that workers
would not to resume work, noted that
sanction awaits any worker who betrays
them.

However, the management of the
institution claimed that the stopping of the
CONTISS 15 payment was due to a directive
from the Federal Government. It also said
that the call for the sacking of the rector
and the Governing Council was ill motivated
The polytechnic’s Deputy Registrar,
Information and Protocol, Mr. Adeyemi
Adejolu, while dismissing the allegations,
said the protest was to tarnish the image of
the rector and members of the Governing
Council.

Adejolu said, “This time around, the Federal
Government is saying that any rector that
has paid CONTISS 15 should refund it, while
whoever has not paid should stop it. So, it is
a directive from the government.

“The monthly salary of the polytechnic is
over N230m, while the government is
releasing just N178m.”

He said rather than go to the bank to
borrow money, the management
negotiated and agreed with the leaders of
the cooperatives to delay the check-off
dues.

He added, “I don’t know the exact amount
the cooperative is being owed but I am sure
it is not up to N250m the workers alleged.
The management of the polytechnic finds
the protest very disturbing and anti-
progress.

“Some of the issues raised by the protesting
unions had been discussed and amicably
resolved, while other issues were being
critically considered at the level of the
polytechnic, the National Assembly and
other relevant agencies of the Federal
Government.

“On the alleged demotion of some
members of staff or reduction in their
salaries, the issue arose due to a directive
mandating federal polytechnics to halt
forthwith the implementation of the second
phase of CONTISS 15 payment. This was
because it was neither budgeted for nor its
attendant allowances cash-backed in the
2014 personnel grant received by the
institution.”

But the explanation given by the authorities
did not satisfy the workers. Little wonder,
last January 5, they not only shut the
school, they also urged the Federal
Government to sack the rector.

They accused her of not remitting about
N350m cooperative’s funds as well as
engaging in illegal pension deductions,
especially those of contract staff in
disregard to the Polytechnic Financial
Regulations.

Besides, for Owoeye and Adeniyi, the rector
also engaged in arbitrary promotion of
workers.

While Adeniyi accused the rector of
elevating some workers based on her
relationship with them, Owoeye urged the
Minister of Education, Alhaji Ibrahim
Shekarau, to direct Akande to step aside
pending the completion of investigations.
The rector, again, through Adejolu,
dismissed the allegations, accusing the
union leaders of having a hidden agenda.

According to her, they should await the
outcome of the probe they jointly called for
before resorting to protest.
Akande said, “Why can’t they wait for the
outcome of Federal Government’s
intervention in this matter? They had
petitioned the EFCC and ICPC and the anti-
graft bodies are intervening. I expect that
they await the outcome if they are not
pursuing a selfish agenda.”

The rector, who said her administration had
been transparent in all its financial dealings,
accused the workers of not following due
process before embarking on the indefinite
strike.

As the battle rages, the National Association
of Nigerian Students, Ekiti State chapter,
has called on Nigerians to prevail on the
trade unions to call off their strike.

In a statement dated January 13 and signed
by its Chairman, Mr. Adetunji Bankole, the
association described the call for the
sacking of the rector as “ill motivated.”
Bankole said, “Our recent investigation at
the Federal Ministry of Education; National
Board for Technical Education, and about
eight different polytechnics showed that the
stoppage of CONTISS 15 the striking trade
unions are fighting for was a directive from
the Federal Government and not a decision
of the rector.

“We have spoken to student leaders of
different polytechnics and have realised
that no polytechnic in Nigeria is still paying
CONTISS 15. Then why should the striking
staff waste students’ time and resources?
Why can’t they face the Federal
Government and stop tarnishing the image
of the rector.”

“We also advised all those clamouring for
the rector to resign due to the Ekiti Agenda
to kindly resist from such an act and stop
politicising the institution on ethnic basis,
as it is a federal institution. Presently, there
are so many federal institutions in other
states that have Ekiti indigenes as their
heads. So, what are the trade unions talking
about?”

But ‘Tell that to the marines’ seems to be
the reaction of the ASUP members in the
school. The lecturers, who met last Monday,
resolved to continue with the industrial
action.

The development not only forced the
authorities to shut the institution the
following day, it also provoked a protest
from the students.

The rector, who, in a statement, said the
closure was “a mid-semester break for its
full time programme,” directed all full time
students to return home and await further
instructions.

Reacting to the closure, the NANS South
West Coordinator, Sunday Ashefon, made a
U-turn, demanding the removal of the
rector over her failure to reconcile with the
aggrieved unions.

He further claimed that the tuition in
school was outrageous, just as it lacks the
necessities for conducive learning.
The authorities of the school, he also
alleged, owed the Benin Electricity
Distribution Company about N2.5m
electricity bills, a development that have
thrown the hostels into darkness.

Also, the Vice-Chairman of NANS in the
state, Oluwapelumi Ogunmekun, accused
the management and union of playing
games with the destiny of the students.

According to Ogunmekun, the Student
Union Government of the polytechnic has
been compromised by the management;
hence, the invitation to NANS to “fight on
behalf of the students.”

But the polytechnic SUG President, Oladapo
Ajibola, denied the allegation, saying he was
part of the protest to ensure the resolution
of the industrial action in the school.

He explained that the students had been on
the campus since January 4 without any
academic activity going on, saying the
student union would have another meeting
with the management to find a way out of
the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Rector (Academics),
Afolabi Bamidele, has promised that the
management was working to resolve the
crisis in the school.

Bamidele said, “We are having a headway
with the unions but one of them had a
congress on Monday and voted that the
strike should continue and we now feel that
the students should go home so that they
won’t be staying in the school doing
nothing.

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Emmanuel Worthwhile

Emmanuel Worthwhile is the founder and editor of NGSchoolz. He loves to share education news from various sources to keep readers informed. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Facebook and Google +

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