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Rectorship Crisis In Auchi Polytechnic - Education - Nairaland

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Rectorship Crisis In Auchi Polytechnic by Amiano(m): 9:50pm On Sep 22, 2017


Events in Auchi Polytechnic since February 2016 when Dr (Mrs) Philip O. Idogho bowed out of the institution as rector after eight very eventful and successful years leave no one in doubt that the institution has tumbled from grace to grass. Its shiny, bright and brittle image built during the past eight years has been shattered and might prove difficult to mend in the near future. Perhaps this is why the authorities of the institution decided to re-advertise the vacant position in The Guardian of August 25, 2017, p.45. We have, therefore, set out, as concerned stakeholders and insiders in the institution, to chronicle the sad and ugly events in the school since the exit of the last rector and to state that the recent advertisement if anything at all, provides a clear case study in absurdities which has further dealt a dangerous blow on the bruised and battered image of Auchi Polytechnic. It is our candid opinion that it ought not to be produced at all in the first place as it is rather a test of the patience of the disciplined workforce of the place/polytechnic. It sends out bad signals that merit consideration is no longer relevant in the affairs of Auchi Polytechnic that until recently has been known as a foremost centre of excellence both in academics and other fields of human endeavour. Above all, it reminds people of the ugly June 12, 1993 annulment of the freest and fairest election ever in the history of Nigeria. May we expatiate.


As soon as the rectorship position was declared vacant vide an advertisement in Daily Trust of November 18, 2015, a machinery was set up in motion to ensure that all processes were followed in the appointment of a substantive rector. These processes include the constitution of a search team, screening committee, conduct of an interview for duly screened candidates. This is as it is in all Federal Polytechnics. When screening was done and qualified candidates were shortlisted, interview was eagerly being awaited when suddenly the shortlisted candidates were informed that owing to a petition by a deficient applicant who was not shortlisted, an interview could not hold. That applicant happens to be Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah. No one knew the grounds of his petition immediately.
Perhaps in order to ensure a thorough and transparent exercise in the appointment of a substantive Rector, the Federal Government decided to invite all applicants for interview at Abuja instead of the institution where the vacancy exists as has always been the case. A high-powered panel of interviewers comprising Nigerians of proven integrity was consequently put in place. This comprised:

1. Dr. Folasade Esan – Permanent Secretary – Chairman
2. Dr. Masa’ Ud Kazuaure, E/S, NBTE – Member
3. Director, Tertiary Education, FME – Member
4. Rep. Federal Character Commission – Member
5. Two serving Rectors – Members
6. Mr. V. Okhani, Rep. Acad. Board, Auchi Polytechnic – Member 7. Barrister Austin Ainabor, Rep. Acad. Board Auchi Polytechnic “
8. Dr. (Mrs.) M. Aashikpelokhai, Registrar, Auchi Poly – Secretary

These eminent men and women eventually conducted an interview on 13th July, 2016 with every worker in the Polytechnic hoping that within three months, at the most, a substantive Rector would be announced for the institution the way it was done for Federal Polytechnics at Offa, Kwara State; Ekowe in Bayelsa State and Kazaure in Jigawa State. May we point out here that a total of twenty-four applicants were interviewed on that day including a Lecturer III who had not even spent up to five years in the system. This, we learnt was to prevent any other room for frivolous petition again.

After the interview, as is customary, names of the first three successful candidates are usually forwarded to the appropriate quarters which then makes a selection from the list. This, we also learnt, was duly complied with.


To the amazement of everyone in Auchi Polytechnic, on March 20, 2017, Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah, one of the applicants who was not initially shortlisted, but who attended the interview, was given a letter of appointment as Acting Rector with effect from February 20, 2017. This was a surprise to all and sundry. It was more so because there was an Acting Rector who had not been found wanting and information available in the public dormain then, soon after the interview, was that Dr. Sanusi Momodh Jimah was not among the first three successful candidates. Another cause for concern about the appointment was that contrary to all known procedures, the appointment letter was signed by the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) who was a member of the interview panel. Besides, a deputy rector (Admin) was in place to act or take over if the former acting rector was found wanting. It must be pointed out here that in the affairs of polytechnics in Nigeria, the NBTE does not dabble into appointments and discipline of staff, but is concerned with regulating academic standards. Auchi Polytechnic happens to be the first polytechnic in Nigeria where the Executive Secretary, NBTE issues an appointment letter to an Acting Rector to replace another Acting Rector. This appears to us rather absurd.


As soon as Engr. Jafaru Buraimoh assumed duty as Acting Rector in February 2016, in what appeared to be a well-organized and sponsored protest, the three workers’ unions on campus came together to form a Joint Action Congress (JAC) and threw the school into chaos. In an unprecedented manner, they went on the rampage and wantonly destroyed properties of the Polytechnic and individuals. We were to learn later that the actions of the three unions were in protest against the “incompetence of Engr. Jafaru Buraimoh and the management of the Polytechnic”. Among their 24-point demand were:

Appointment of a substantive Rector; Removal of the Registrar and the Bursar of the Polytechnic, Implementation of CONTISS 15 migration of those below CONTISS 11; Payment of deducted but unremitted check-offs for staff welfare schemes and Unions’ dues amounting to more than N1billion.

As the destructions that accompanied the protest were massive and unprecedented in the history of trade unions’ disputes which always end up at the worst in picketing, the police came in and some arrests were promptly made. After diligent investigation, some culprits were charged to court on criminal charges in December 2016. In January 2017 when Engr. Jafaru Buraimoh was to serve the culprits letters of interdiction in accordance with civil and public service regulations, the unions closed down the school and would not allow anybody including deans and heads of department into the campus. This situation persisted until March 2017 when the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) appointed Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah as another acting Rector to replace Engr. Jafaru Buraimoh who had neither been queried nor found wanting in any way. This is a clear case of absurdity which will shock any right-thinking Nigerian. This is because the result of the interview for the appointment of a substantive rector was still and is still being awaited.


As soon as Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah was given a letter of appointment as Acting Rector in March (but backdated to February 20, 2017), the three unions called off their strike and returned to work immediately. It was like the fire brigade attacking a fire. Against peoples’ expectation that the perpetrators of criminal activities who were charged to court would be served their pending letters of interdiction, Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah proceeded to compensate them with appointments as deans, directors or heads of department. People then began to rationalize that this might actually be the man behind the mask. In fact, his actions and inactions since assumption of duty as Acting Rector in March have proved clearly that he has been the sponsor and mastermind of the protests of last year for his selfish and ethnic interests, never before witnessed in any federal institution. Let us expatiate.

On assumption of duty in March, he appointed Dr. Victor Dibua the Chairman of a screening committee to fish out the ghost workers allegedly employed by Dr. (Mrs.) Philipa Idogho, the immediate past Rector. For two weeks Dr. Dibua subjected the entire populace to a show of presentation of credentials after spending hours queuing up. To the disgust of all, the only ghosts found were Dr. Victor Dibua (Chairman) himself and Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah. No other ghost was detected and nothing happened to those detected.

After the futile exercise, the acting Rector proceeded to dissolve the entire management of the School of Evening Studies (SES) without caring whether the officers had completed their stipulated tenures or not. In their places, he appointed Dr. Shaibu Alasa as dean and Mr. Abdulganiyu Braimah as his assistant – persons facing criminal charges in a court of law here in Auchi. Not only that, Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah went ahead to lay off all academic staff of the Polytechnic who hitherto were teaching in the evening programme and replaced them with outsiders. When challenged on this, he boasted that as no one can challenge the NBTE that breached all regulations to appoint him an acting Rector from the applicants to replace an acting Rector Engr. Jafaru Buraimoh, no one can challenge him as he was free to run the institution the way he likes. Not wanting to be seen as too high-handed, he decided to recall very few of the academic staff to be teaching in the School of Evening Studies (SES) while the bulk of the handlers of the courses in the programme are outsiders with little or no experience. We were later to learn that these outsiders were the ones who were drafted in to escalate the protests of last year and that the appointments were what was promised them. Is it not absurd that whereas one of the criteria for mounting a part-time programme is that the academic staff on ground must be sufficient to cope with the demands of the programme before hiring outsiders, if at all, today outsiders are being hired while regular academic staff are being laid off?
Most painful of all is the crude directive to the now management of the School of Evening Studies (SES) not to pay all outstanding allowances – teaching, marking, invigilation – owed to lecturers and other staff of SES who he laid off.

In an apparent display of ignorance of rules and regulations governing institutions of higher learning, Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah has turned Auchi Polytechnic to a private community institution. He claims that he derives his powers and authority from the palace and nowhere else. Queries and panels at the flimsiest excuse are now the order of the day. It will surprise many to learn that the queries issued in Auchi Polytechnic since March 2017 far outnumber those issued from 2008 to 2016, if any was issued at all. From the Department of Electrical/Electronics Engineering to the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Departments of Languages, Statistics, queries are issued on a weekly basis to chief lecturers who Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah perceives as enemies who must be rubbished. Not even during the reign of Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada of Uganda in 1980s were things as horrible. It is simply absurd.

Up to this moment of writing, all allegations of financial impropriety leveled against the outgone Rector by the three workers unions on campus, on the instigation of Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah, the man behind the mask, still remain unproved in spite of the numerous panels that the acting Rector has constituted and reconstituted. Rather strangely, it is the acting Rector who had to return hurriedly, a 250 KVA generator which he removed and converted to personal use on his assumption of office. Following the dust that the unlawful removal raised, he was forced to return it to where he had earlier removed it after having it vandalized.

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) of this Chapter is Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah’s contraption. The case is pending at the Industrial Court in Abuja. The chairman of the group Egnr Justin Momodu is appointed the Director of SIWES and the Secretary Abdulganiyu Braimah is appointed Assistant Dean of the School of Evening Studies, all in the bid to ensure that they do his bidding. Even the chairman of the Senior Staff Association Nigeria Polytechnics, (SSANIP) Auchi Chapter, Mr. Godwin Ikhide is seconded to the Central Stores from Polymer Department as compensation for his role in the crisis of last year.

Dr Sanusi Momodu Jimah boasts that he has conquered Auchi Polytechnic since he has the unions, the palace, the towns’ folks and even market men and women in the town behind him. True to this, he arrests people arbitrarily. The case of Godwin Oyathelemi arrested and taken to the State CID Benin is still fresh. People dare not be seen gathered in twos and threes today on campus or they will be arrested and arraigned before the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee (SSDC), which promptly tries and recommends their sack to the Council. Some cases are currently awaiting the Council’s ratification


As if the absurdities bedeviling Auchi Polytechnic since February 2016 were not enough, an advertisement for the vacant position of Rector came out in The Guardian of Friday, August 25, 2017. Absurdities of this magnitude did not prevail in Rome when Shakespeare wrote in his Julius Caesar that “Caesar were no wolf had Romans not turned sheep”. Really, had Auchi Polytechnic’s law-abiding nature and preference for orderliness and rule of law not been mistaken for docility, the NBTE would not have dared to appoint an acting Rector to replace an acting one when the result of a properly organized interview is still being awaited. And because NBTE did what it did, damming the consequences, and nothing happened, a worse scenario has now been re-enacted: readvertising the vacant position of Rector in Auchi Polytechnic earlier advertised in 2015. Many questions rush to the mind here which beg for answers:
(i) What has happened to the interview that was conducted in 2016, following the response to the advertisement of November 18, 2015 in Daily Trust?

(ii) Have the panelists that conducted the attendant interview been found to be dubious and compromised that their interview which was conducted in a neutral ground is no longer credible? If the panelists were found to have compromised, have they been queried or sanctioned?

(iii) Could the advertisement be at the instance of the Governing Council which we learnt had earlier recommended the confirmation of the Acting Rector as the substantive one against all rules of decorum and academic excellence?

(iv) Where on earth does a Council newly inaugurated and which has not familiarized itself with the institution concern itself with the confirmation of an acting Rector who is one of the applicants to the position but who is not one of the three successful candidates?
v) Does this not suggest that something uncanny and sinister is happening in Auchi Polytechnic, especially with this kind of Council in place?

(vi) Does this advertisement not impugn and cast aspersion on the integrity of the eminent Nigerians that made up the panelist and conducted the interview in a neutral ground.

(vii) Why were results of interviews conducted at the same time for Federal Polytechnics in Offa, Kwara State; Ekowe in Bayelsa State and Kazaure in Jigawa State not withheld the way Auchi Polytechnic’s is being withheld and left at the whims and caprices of a Council whose chairman, against normal practice, is from Edo State?

(viii) Is this the true meaning of the “change” mantra of the present administration when other sinister considerations now seem override merit consideration even in an academic institution like Auchi Polytechnic?

(ix) Is this how the “change will begin” with Auchi Polytechnic, where hands and brains are trained for development?

(x) Does Auchi Polytechnic really deserve to be plunged into avoidable crisis because it enjoyed eight uninterrupted academic sessions unprecedented in the history of any federal polytechnic?

These are some of the pertinent questions which are begging for answers if we are not to believe that the current war against corruption and by extension, for enthronement of excellence in all our daily activities is rather a mockery of intentions, a mere media jamboree and a waste of time and resources.

We sincerely hope another June 12, 1993 episode is not being re-enacted in Auchi Polytechnic.


Auchi Polytechnic has been reputed to be an institution which cherishes peace and harmony that are necessary for conducive academic pursuits. This is why in the past eight years under the past Rector, there were no ugly incidents like strikes and disruption of academic calendars. The actions and inactions of Dr. Sanusi Momodu Jimah as acting Rector since March 2017 seem to declare loudly that it is folly to tow the line of peace and harmony. He is taunting the entire workforce.

The Governing Council which has not bothered to familiarize itself with staff, but is concerned with recommending for confirmation the acting Rector (a move which it has discovered is unpopular and unacademic) and going ahead to advertise the already advertised and closed position of the Rector of the Polytechnic, is not helping matters at all. We are not aware that the Council has constituted any of its committees such as A & PC, F & GPC, etc. Nor has it deemed it necessary to meet and interface with any of the interest/pressure groups on campus. It is taking the patience and maturity of the silent majority of the workers for stupidity. This is rather absurd!

Not minding this curious stance of the Council and while believing in the dictum that “it is better to jaw jaw than to war war”, we have decided to tow this mature line of reasoning by bringing these absurdities to your notice with the hope that you could look into them dispassionately and prevent Auchi Polytechnic from boiling over.


As we do not want to be initiated by our management’s and Council’s actions or inactions in Auchi Polytechnic into the notorious cult of the riotous who believe that only violence can be used to achieve desired aims, we, therefore, pray that:

(1) There should be an immediate withdrawal of the embarrassing advertisement of the vacant position of Rector in Auchi Polytechnic in The Guardian of Friday, August 25, 2017 with an apology to the institution.

(3) Release of the result of the interview held on July 13, 2016 and appointment of a substantive Rector from among the three successful candidates in accordance with standard practice the world over

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