Ondo Polytechnic Lecturers, Management Clash over Alleged Corruption

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James Sowole in Akure

Alleging high handedness, corruption and acts contrary to laid down rules, lecturers under the umbrella of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) at the weekend asked Ondo State Government to remove the Chairman of Governing Council of the state-owned Rufus Giwa Polytechnic in Owo (RUGIPO), Mr. Banji Alabi.

RUGIPO ASUP Chairman, Mr. Oluwadare Ijawoye, yesterday said the call became necessary to save the institution from total collapse, adding that the institution was already on a life support.

Ijawoye, who was supported by other ASUP executives at a news conference in Akure, accused the management of the institution of victimising union’s executives by illegally suspending them over unfounded allegations.

The chairman specifically said removal of Alabi and replacing him with somebody with academic background remains the only thing that could save the institution from its state of comatose.

According to him, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) had written to the management that the polytechnic would soon lose its accreditation of many courses due to lack of facilities and failure to meet other requirements.

ASUP called on the state government to beam searchlight on financial activities of the school, alleging several cases of corruption involving Alabi and other principal officers of the institution.

“Government should carry out investigation into how over N68,000,000.00 of public fund was recently approved by RUGlPO‘s leadership (contrary to the extant law of Ondo State) and used for the alleged purchase of about five cars, most of which are said to be second hand cars.

“Government should find out the reason or reasons behind the non-availability within the premises of RUGIPO the official car meant for the office of the Chairman of Council, in respect of which a huge sum of N28,000,000. 00 has been paid into his personal bank account several months ago.

“The bone of contention between the ASUP and management started when the Ondo State Government released a sum of N1.7 billion to the institution to clear some backlog of salary arrears.

“The union accused the management of the institution of removing a whooping sum of N500 million without recourse to the purpose for which the fund was released. The management initially claimed that the withheld fund was to be used to fund capital projects within the institution and till date, no project has been initiated nor commissioned by the council from the deducted fund.

“ASUP requests from the proprietor of RUGIPO – the Government of Ondo State under the purposeful leadership of His Excellency, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, to allow RUGIPO to get out of its current life support condition, as soon as possible, the current Chairman of the Governing Council, Mr. Banji Alabi, should be changed and replaced with a seasoned and experienced academic who will not only understand the workings of a tertiary institution of learning, such as RUGIPO, but will additionally possess the requisite temperament for such exalted position,” Ijawoye alleged.

Reacting to the development, the RUGIPO Director of Public Relations and Protocol, Mr. Samuel Ojo, dismissed the allegations.

Ojo debunked the alarm raised by the ASUP that the school would soon lose accreditation of its courses, describing it as unfounded and that everything was being done by the management to maintain the institution’s standard.

He noted that there was no warning from the NBTE that it would de-accredit all its programmes, adding that Ijawoye had been suspended for alleged gross misconducts, insisting that contracts and spending at the institution always followed due process and extant rules.