“I LEFT POLYTECHNIC OWO BETTER THAN I MET IT” BY BARR. BANJI ALABI ……A REFUTATIONAL ANALYSIS
By: COM. OJO AKINYEMI
It is not misappropriation of fact to avow that the claim of the quondam Council Chairman of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, which he epitheted thus ‘I LEFT POLYTECHNIC OWO BETTER THAN I MET IT’ was a bald claim and very irksome, repugnant and abhorrible.
There is every need to repugn it, as it is even extremely unthinkable and mind-boggling that this sort of self-aggrandizement could fly at the time, when vast number of Polytechnic workers and other stakeholders are yet struggling to unthink the memorabilia of his false promises and untwine the ominous effects and wreckage of villainous governance of the Institution during his time. *What a chutzpah!*
It is therefore deemed deontic to betone some of his misdeeds and their noxious effects on the workers of the Polytechnic, Owo in particular and other stakeholders in general, for the good people of Ondo State and the general public to be untangled from his utter barbs, delusion, jiggery-pokery and nihilistic jibber-jabber.
It must be bulletined that this aggrandizer overly inflicted social disvalue, moral iniquitousness, financial barrenness, emotional disequilibrium and eventual postmortem destinies on the workforce of the Polytechnic, Owo. These are hereunder bespoken anecdotally.
1. *SHUTDOWN OF RUGIPO STAFF SCHOOLS AND SUMMARY DISMISSAL OF ITS STAFF* It is not incorrect to say that, both the Primary and Secondary Schools of the Polytechnic, Owo had been in existence for ages before their abrupt extinction by the erstwhile Chairman and his minions. These Schools were mainly welfare package for the staff.
The alibi for this portentous action was so tenuous, as it was hinged on low income generation from the Schools and exponential increase in the wage bill of the Institution. Hence, *closure* of the schools and *SACK* of the promising workers in the schools on the 5 August, 2019.
Contrariwise, they employed close to *300* people to the Institution, on the heels of unceremonious dismissal of these innocent Staff. These wicked people refused to reabsorb the staff to the mainstream of the Institution, which was the passionate plea of the Unions on Campus, but they flagrantly averse to that entreats. Of a fact, the agony to which the dismissed staff is subjected up to now is on the high spate and most of them are still dolefully wailing in rueful penury.
Worse still, virtually all the facilities and equipment in the Schools are no longer readily available, while the buildings are seriously in deplorable condition. So, the closure of the Schools lacks an ounce of justification, as no social or economic value it attracted to the Institution but reputation risk. These dismissed staff need to be reconsidered in earnest.
2. *DEMOTION OF A GOOD NUMBER OF STAFF WITHOUT A WHIT OF OFFENCE* It is a wholesale burden of this work to inform the public that, a vast number of staff in the Institution was demoted on no just cause, on the *1 October, 2018* . This was premised on unwholesome policies that are alien and to NBTE Regulation and other related laws governing the Polytechnic system. Another disheartening mishap in the demotion exercise, which they euphemistically termed as READJUSTMENT OF RANKS/SALARY AND NOMENCLATURE was that they promoted their allies over and above their bosses in order to be fit for juicy and oofy responsibilities in the Polytechnic, which they saddled them with, in the wake of innocuous demotion exercise.
This is seriously contesting commonsense and law of the land. I mean, it was totally barbaric and antediluvian.
3. *RUGIPO VENTURES WERE MORIBUND UNDER HIS WATCH* It has now become an existential necessity to reveal that, all the sources of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), such as, Artisan Centre, Bakery, Full-scale Poultry, Block Industry, Fish Ponds, among others, which were so viable and money-spinning before his emergence are now begging for resuscitation and proper attention.
This, in a great deal, contributed to pecuniary sparseness the Institution is facing up to now. The impact of the little sum of money generated under his watch was not felt, just because of poor management and avarice.
It is never a brute fact that, the then Governing Council conveyed meetings at will, as against four (4) statutory meetings annually, as stipulated in the Extant rule of the Institution. Management was usually burdened with the whole expenses incidental to the meetings, ranging from flight tickets, honorariums to hotel bills. In fact, I was not enthused with the invitation of Union leaders to Heritage Hotel in Akure in the year 2021 for a meeting that was supposed to hold at the Governing Council Chamber of the Institution. This really signaled intellectual anomaly and financial mismanagement.
4. *EMPLOYMENT RACKETEERING* It is not a jaundiced observation that, it was only during his reign in the annals of the Institution that over 300 applicants were offered appointments of different categories in dispense with recruitment/selection process and budget provisions. No jot of advertisement, written or oral interviews and induction. What an impunity and administrative recklessness!
5. *SALARY ARREARS ASTRONOMICALLY SKYROCKETED DURING HIS TIME IN RUGIPO* It needs to be chronicled, as it is indubitable that, since inception of the Institution, salary arrears of workers had never experienced this exponential rise. He inherited four (4) months’ salary arrears but bequeathed fourteen (14) months’ salary arrears at the time of his sudden suspension.
6. *INCREASE IN PROMOTION ARREARS* The spate of promotion arrears in the Institution during his time was so bizarre and bogglesome. He intently put halt on promotion exercise without any good reason, even the 2018 promotion that was done in the year 2021 was notional promotion, which was allotrious and unfamiliar to the Institution.
7. *THE ILLUSIONISM OF MEGA HOSPITAL* The doyen of the then Council of the Institution candidly promised to facilitate the erection of 500-bed capacity mega hospital for the Institution and upon which fund-raising launching was organized by *Barr. Banji Alabi and Tope Omolayo* ,( the then National Alumni President of the Polytechnic). Even the amiable Governor of the State came to grace the occasion on 23 March, 2019, at Adekunle Ajasin Auditorium of the Institution. Interestingly, the launching generated over Five Million Naira (#5,000,000.00), aloof from promissory notes from various big wheels, both within and outside the State. In fact, all stakeholders of the Polytechnic were encapsulated in glee and total exhilaration.
To our utter dismay, both the money raised and the planned project invariably became a castle in the air and woolgathering, as ordinary foundation of the building did not gain any attention of this dissimulators. Don’t we consider it aptly fit to put Barr. Banji Alabi through the mangle on how he expended or where he kept the mazuma realized from this launching?
8. *FLAGRANT REFUSAL TO COMPLY WITH BOTH HARMONIZATION ACT 2013 AND POLYTECHNIC ACT 2019 IN THE APPOINTMENT OF THE PRINCIPAL OFFICERS OF THE INSTITUTION*
It is an obvious reality that this man rebuffed compliance and conglutination to both advertisement and interview templates in the appointments of the Principal Officers of the Institution. The AGE-LIMIT of any applicant, which is inexorable part of the requirements, for the position of RECTOR of Polytechnic was intently obliterated from the advertisement, just because of his premeditated plot to appoint his crony.
The immediate past Rector was already 65 years old before his tenure was elongated to enable him complete his four (4) years term. But the dictate of the acts stated above, which was shunned by the doyen of the then Council, is that, no applicant for the position of Rector should be more than 59 years at the time of application and must apply for five (5) years single term. This was done with impunity.
It was the rots in the system birthed by this former Council Chairman, that enabled this Rector to exit the Institution with his gratuity worth over #12m, when so many pensioners of the Institution are still struggling to access theirs, since 13 years ago. This is very odious and detestable.
9. *VICTIMIZATION AND INTIMIDATION OF UNION LEADERS* I make no scruple to aver that, the Leadership of the workers’ Unions of the Institution were thunderingly and excruciatingly suffered, tortured and warked, while delivering the legitimate mandate bestowed on them by the congress, noting that protection of impeccable welfare of members is the major preoccupation of any good leaders.
A case study of Comrade *Rafiu Ijawoye and Arikawe Ade* , (the then Chairman and Secretary of ASUP), that were dismissed without any query or panel. But the Secretary was later reinstated. The major offence these Comrades committed was that, they bemoaned alleged financial impropriety perpetrated by Barrister Banji Alabi,*WHY THIS ACT OF WICKEDNESS AND MAMMONISM?* The desideratum and entreats of the entire workforce of the Institution concerning this nefarious treatment is that Comrade Rafiu Ijawoye be reabsorbed to the system and let the wicked be put to shame. It is therefore our prayer that God almighty will undergird the current Leadership of the Institution to bring this into fruition in no time. AMEN. 10.*MISINFORMATION AND WINDOW DRESSING* Punic faith and window dressing reigned supreme during his time in the Institution. His promise to transmute *RUGIPO to SILICON VALLEY* was a figment of imagination.
He solely busied himself with deceitful flaunting of projects/buildings to the public, especially the traditional rulers of the neighboring towns, who he invited to the Institution for this purpose. When did Polytechnic affairs become part of the Local Government Administration?
It is not disputatious, on this background, to assert that, none of the buildings gaudily flaunted was his initiative but that of TETfund.
Also, the students’ village he promised to use his influence to erect in the Institution was a blind optimism.
The Companies with which he supposedly partnered to execute the project were also accomplices, as no one showed an iota of commitment since they came for FLAGOFF in the first quarter of year 2020. Some of these Companies are BQC Consultants Ltd., BUSH-WOOL ENGINEERS LTD., Bakraz Consult, Akinola Architects.
Simply put, the planned students’ village was a mere duplicity and daydream. Overt subterfuge and skulduggery that permeated his operations in RUGIPO was second to none.
What can he point at, as his major achievement throughout his time in RUGIPO? Was it the increase in Court cases against the Institution, such as, Staff School case, Demotion case, unlawful termination of appointment case and much else, wasting the hard-earned money of the Institution on Court cases, in the face of abysmal rise in salary arrears of workers?. Imagine a lawyer who refused to obey Court judgement. What a foolhardiness!
Beautiful would it have even been for him to give the Institution a throwback and atavism before his suspension.
It is not the case that I want to cut a feather by this refutandum, but I cannot partake in the conspiracy of silence and remain perennially impotent in the face of tyranny, authoritarianism, despotism, oppression, acute sufferings and victimization. Let us continue to befriend the truth and expose the excesses of the evil-doers, especially when they take us as goons, maroons and beetlebrains.
It is not also out of place to exhort all the Union leaders on Campus to retool their strategies towards protecting the *welfare of members* . They should eschew any undue fringe benefits from either Management, Governing Council or Government, as this will optimally enable them to live up to their responsibilities.
*WE MUST DO EVERYTHING TO AVOID THE RECRUDESCENCE OF THE FORMER GOVERNING COUNCIL CHAIRMAN.*
Apropos to the nascent Chairperson of the Governing Council of the Institution, it is not incongruous to avouch that, the entire workforce sees her as a round peg in a round hole and thereby filled with hope that, in no distant time, RUGIPO will have renaissance of good life. This confidence in her is evident in her good deeds within this shortest period, she was appointed as the doyen of the Council. A big ‘THANK YOU’ to Ondo State Government for this laudable appointment.
I therefore wish to most humbly urge her to extend her moral and intellectual training to all staff of the Polytechnic in order for all to have a very formidable crucible for goal congruence and optimal performance.
She should not be esoteric but exoteric in the governance of the Institution and see the forest for the trees and ensure that, all hands are on deck for sustainable development of the Institution.
This piece will remain incomplete if failed to harp on an up-to-the-minute salary arrears owed the entire workforce of the Institution, which was exacerbated by the last Management and Banji Alabi-led Council.
Workers are still under the anguish of 9-month salary arrears (January 2017, March-October 2023). The Chairperson is hereby charged to midwife the means of getting these salary arrears paid in no time, as it is a good voyage towards good living standard and motivation of workers.
RUGIPO is supposed to be an Institution that should be fit as a fiddle but the bad leaders who possess cupidinous and mammonistic proclivity are those dragging it to pot. MAY GOD DELIVER THE INSTITUTION. AMEN.
LONG LIVED NIGERIA LONG LIVED ONDO STATE LONG LIVED RUGIPO
ALUTA CONTINUA, VITORIA ASCERTA!
Written: COM. OJO AKINYEMI, DEPARTMENT OFSOCIAL SCIENCES