Polytechnic lecturers urge Tinubu to prioritise education

THE Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has called on the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu to prioritise education and avoid unnecessary industrial disputes in the sector.

ASUP President Anderson Ezeibe made this plea in an exclusive interview with The ICIR on Tuesday, May 9.

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics embarked on a series of industrial actions in the last eight years as the Federal Government failed to meet their demands. Checks by The ICIR show that ASUP went on strike in 2017, 2018/19, 2021, 2022.

According to a report by The Punch, ASUP downed tools for 147 days between January 2017 and December 2021. This figure has, however, increased as the union also embarked on strike in 2022.

Meanwhile, in the interview with The ICIR, the ASUP leader urged the incoming President to address the needs of the lecturers.

“The incoming administration should prioritise education to avoid unnecessary industrial disputes. For our sector, a new compensation package should be released through the conclusion of the renegotiation process.

“Equally, the conclusion of the review of the scheme and conditions of service must be actualised.”

The President Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2015 implemented the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPIS) as administrative measures aimed at curbing corruption within Nigeria’s public service. The initiatives, according to the Federal Government, were specifically designed to enhance accountability in the management of public finances.

The implementation of the initiatives was the subject of disputes between the Federal Government and lecturers and ASUP had called on Buhari to address the problems and irregularities associated with the implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

Speaking further, Ezeibe said ASUP expects a review of the inclusion of Polytechnics in the TSA and IPPIS modules with a view to liberating the sector from the glitches currently being experienced in the payment of salaries and allowances.

“We expect funding to improve significantly, and the alignment of the Nigerian Polytechnics system to global trends and standards by a firm and courageous resolution of the degree question for Polytechnics. 

“We look forward to an administration where laws and regulations will be respected in the sector.”

Also speaking on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the bill seeking to end HND/BSC dichotomy, Ezeibe said the President has continued to relegate the sector by withholding his accent.

“The President has not done well in withholding his accent to the dichotomy bill. By doing so, he has only encouraged the continued relegation of the entire sector including products of the sector to serious discriminatory practices including workplace discrimination. 

“It is a sad commentary for the nation as the colour and designation of certificates continue to determine career progression instead of productivity levels. It’s a shame that this question has been left unanswered by this outgoing administration and it is frustrating for everyone associated with the Nigerian Polytechnic System.”

While speaking on the Federal Government’s continuous abuse of the extent law by appointing university professors to head polytechnics, the ASUP President said unfit persons have caused unimaginable damages to the institutions. He noted that law courts have declared the university professors unfit for the position.

“The courageous ruling of the national industrial court on this matter has actually underlined the position of our union that there’s no alternative to obeying the laws of the land.

“The continued stay in office of the impostors who have been validly declared unfit to administer any Federal Polytechnic in Nigeria is an assault on the rule of law. Therefore, what is going on at the Federal Polytechnics in Ugep, Ohodo, Wannune, Monguno, Shendam, Kano and Delta are jokes funded by tax payers. These unfit persons continue to frolic with scarce resources and at the same time doing unimaginable damages to these institutions in the name of administration. 






     

     

    “The courts have declared the appointments of the first five as a nullity. The courts have declared them unfit to hold the position of Rectors of the affected Polytechnics. Same should apply to Kano and Delta as those appointed do not fit the profile established by law to be so appointed.”

    He further stressed that those associated with the ‘naked display of absurdity’ should be ashamed of themselves.

    “All those associated with this naked display of absurdity should be ashamed of their roles in ridiculing the sector, wasting public funds and generally undermining the mandates for the establishment of the Polytechnics.

    “The illegal occupants of these offices are living on borrowed time as Rectors of the affected Polytechnics and history will always remember them as impostors who played ignoble roles in the underdevelopment of Polytechnics in Nigeria.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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