By Adewale Eyelade, March 19, 2021, News/Comments
LAGOS-Reacting to the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics, (SSANIP), Yaba College of Technology Chapter, Yaba, Lagos on the alleged shortchanging of the Association supposedly appointment (believed) into the college’s juicy position, as published by the Nationnewslead during the week is the College’s Rector, Engr. Femi Omokungbe, who spoke with Afrikanwatch Network yesterday in a telephone conversation and said, that, the association ought to have known better on the rules and regulations regarding appointments of its members into positions in the College, and noted, that, they cannot use the press to get what does not exist, as long as the EXTAN Circular and the Polytechnic Act is concerned .
It could be recalled that Nationnewslead had reported that SSANIP has accused the College Management of giving positions meant for non-teaching staff to teaching staff, which according to them is a breach of trust, and went further to give the Rector, two weeks ultimatum to address the matter or face industrial action. According to the news outfit, members of the association had held a congress in the College last week Thursday, and listed the positions for which their members have been denied, such as Director, CITM, Director, Works and Services, Director, Physical Planning Unit, Director, Consult and the Head of Fire Services. This was contained in press release signed by the Association Chairman, Kayode Adekunle Samuel and the Secretary, Mr. Odundayo Kolawole. The duo stressed that a number of Federal Polytechnics had complied with the subsisting rules , extant rules on filling such positions, which, Ado-Ekiti, Bauchi, Offa, Mubi, Bida among others.
Engr. Omokungbe, who responded to the matter stressed that, he is highly disappointed that SSANIP could rush to the press and make unfounded allegations without understanding the consequence, that leaders should be more articulate in their responsibility rather than mere allegations.
“I am disappointed in both the publisher of that news and SSANIP, because the press should have come back to find a balance and to hear from the College management but they did not do so. Let me go straight away to the issue. The tools that are available to all Rectors to run Polytechnics is the Polytechnic Act and Extant circulars. Thus, all these stories about the submission of posts or whatever-I want the press to ask the Union to show them where it is written in the Polytechnic act, and if there is any Extant circular that shows their demands”
Talking about the scheme of service as argued by the Association, the Rector hinted that the scheme of service SSANIP was talking about is not relevant or obtainable under the law because Colleges’ Council have now be vested with the power to appoint and act on behalf of the government.
“The government have invested their power in the Councils in each Institution both in appointment, discipline and exit of staff. And so, if all these appointments are approved by the Council, I see no reason why anybody would now say, that those appointments belong to a particular group or not. That is what the law say-The Polytechnic act. As long as those appointments were approved by the Council, the College did not breach any law. Now, Federal Polytechnic, Ede, or any other polytechnic on their initiative or prerogative of their Council can decide to pick anybody maybe from ASUP or NASU to any position. And in any case, those positions we are talking about are appoint-able positions-It is not as if they are supposed to move to level 8, and we pushed somebody there. These are appoint-able positions that are supposed to be advertised and will be appointed by the Council. The council represents the government, and anything they do is government’s position” he added
Asked whether the union is not aware of this, Omokungbe noted however, that the Association’s leadership system is the problem and, maybe have not read the Polytechnic act. “Whether the Union leadership have really taken time to study the Polytechnic act or not is another thing”
Speaking also on how he intend to resolve the issue with the Association, the Rector hinted : “I have always believed in one thing, because I am not interested in any press war, the government that put us here will not be happy if we do the wrong thing, the government may query us . So, if am doing the right thing, I don’t think I will wage media war with anybody. I think Leaders should be more articulate. You don’t just go to the congress for once, and say, you are having an industrial dispute, no.” Now, they wrote to us, and we had a meeting with them and I explained all these to them. I think some people somewhere are pushing them and if there is need to educate them proper on this issue, we will again” But from the look of things, it seems the association leadership is not vast with the polytechnic act and I am ready to discuss it more with them”
Meanwhile in a way to reach a compromise, the Rector had also advised the association to be cautious on the issue otherwise the College will deal with the issue administratively, and it would not be too good. “I have served under four Rectors in this college, and that is how the way the structure had been. So, I have not violated any law as, facts and records are there for Council meetings approving those positions”.
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