The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has risen from its Zonal Executive Council (ZEC) meeting in Kaduna, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately remove Dr Abdul Abubakar Dzukogi from office as the administrator of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida.
It said the appointment of Dr Dzukogi as the Polytechnic’s Sole Administrator is illegal, as it has no place in the law establishing polytechnics in Nigeria.
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ASUP Zone-A Coordinator, Dr Kasim Ibrahim, argued that Dr Dzukogi retired from the service of the Polytechnic in June 2020 and had also clocked the retirement age of 65 years, as such, he ought to have exited the system.
Reading the communiqué to journalists at the end of the meeting, the ASUP Coordinator said: “For the umpteenth time, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) Zone-A is forced to express its displeasure over the reappointment of the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic Bida, Dr Abdul Abubakar Dzukogi for a four year tenure even when it was clear that he had less than four years to proceed on retirement.
“We consider this not only as an aberration of the law but an error of commitment perpetrated against the spirit and provision of the Polytechnic Act, 2019 as amended Section 8, sub-section 2 of the Act stipulates that: ‘qualifications of the persons who may apply for the post, which shall be a Chief Lecturer in the Polytechnic sector with at least five years experience on that position, among other criteria.”
“Section 14, sub-section 4 which provides for retirement clearly states that: ‘Notwithstanding, anything to the contrary contained in the Pensions Reform Act, the compulsory retirement age of staff of the Polytechnics shall be 65 years’ and section 16 subsection 4 in unambiguous terms states that ‘there shall be no Sole Administration in any Polytechnic in Nigeria’.”
“Regrettably, the Ministry of Education argues and presents the superiority of a Circular with reference number: HCSF/EMS/EIR/B.636994/IV/T2/96 in 2009 signed by Office of the Head of Service of the Federation claimed to be superior over the Federal Polytechnic Act, 2019 as amended and passed into LAW by National Assembly Members and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
“It is unimaginable that a Circular written by individuals for a reason best known to them can replace a Law of the Land.
“This act can be described as a clear manifestation of a situation where the interest of individuals supersedes general interest of Nigerians and Nigeria as against the campaign mantra of the current administration’s willingness and commitment to adherence to the rule of law.
“By virtue of the fact that Dr Abdul Abubakar Dzukogi retired from the services of the Polytechnic on 9th June 2020 via a letter dated 10 June 2020, following a purported directive to that effect by the Federal Ministry of Education to enable him to continue in office to serve out the remaining part of his tenure, an action that is totally alien to the law.
“By his retirement, Dr Abdul Abubakar Dzukogi ceases to be a staff of the Polytechnic and could not occupy a position stipulated by Law for a Chief Lecturer in the Polytechnic.
“Secondly, Dr A. A Dzukogi had already clocked 65 years of age on 15th February 2021, by which he ought to have exited the system just as the Executive Secretary of NBTE, Mr Expenyong E. Expenyong, and many Rectors as well as Chief Lecturers honourably did in the recent past on the attainment of 65 years retirement age, but something is playing amongst the Officials of the Ministry that approved his stay in Office in spite of this obvious breach.
“Consequently, the Union hereby humbly demands that the President, who is a visitor to the Polytechnic, and well-meaning Nigerians should intervene by compelling the appointing authorities to in the interest of peace and industrial harmony, reverse this stern anomaly and non-warrantable condo”, it stated.
It also called on the Head of Service of the Federation to rise in defence of Civil Service rules that is “being jeopardized by this singular action of the Federal Ministry of Education”.
The body demanded that concerned authorities should as a matter of necessity direct Dr Dzukogi to immediately vacate the Office of the Rector and an Acting Rector appointed, insisting that the staying of the former is illegal and contravenes the extant law.
“A machinery should be put in place for the appointment of a Substantive Rector for the Federal Polytechnic Bida in accordance to provisions of the Federal Polytechnic Act 2019, as amended, as our Union shall not rest on its oars until the law takes its course,” it added.