Osun education: Immediate task before Adeleke

THERE is so much euphoria in the air as the new governor of Osun, Ademola Adeleke, will be sworn-in in a matter of days. But beyond the euphoria, lots of repairs need to be done, suggesting that Adeleke will need to hit the ground running. Of particular interest is the alleged disruption of leadership of virtually all the tertiary institutions in the state. The appointment of the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the five polytechnics in the state has allegedly been done without due process, in most cases hurriedly and in the twilight of the administration leaving in a couple of days. Granted that the plan of the government to convert the College of Education, Ilesa, to a university is desirable, but such a laudable move should never be carried out in such a way as to disrupt the ascension order, cause animosity and plant chaos in the institutions. For example, I have seen a letter dated November 15th by the Osun State chapter of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), College of Education, Ilesa and addressed to outgoing Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. A portion of the letter read: “We commend the government for the efforts on the establishment of the University of Ilesa. We wish to reiterate our support for the establishment as it is a long-time desire of our union, the immediate Ijesa community and the entire good people of the state.  Our union is, therefore, resolved to contribute our own quota towards making the university a pride among its peers.

“However, we use this medium to opine that Your Excellency considers the recommendation of the Implementation Committee on the appointment of the principal officers dispassionately, based on the following: One, the conversion of the college to a university leans largely on the excellent academic performance of the existing staff. It is, however, surprising and disheartening that the Implementation Committee chose to ignore the entire existing principal officers in its recommendations. This is in sharp contrast to the implementation of similar conversions in Lagos and Ekiti states where the existing colleges of education management members were enabled to act as principal officers of the emerging universities with the view to ensuring seamless transitions. It is, perhaps, apparent that the Implementation Committee members came to vest their cronies on UNILESA. How would one explain that two of the principal officers are from the Public Health Department of the University of Ibadan? We wish to say in clear terms that appointing entirely new persons as management members of a university being established from a college of education would eventually become counterproductive for the smooth transition to the emerging university. Two, it is important to draw the attention of Your Excellency to the fact that the University of Ilesa Establishment Law vests the power to appoint its principal officers in the hands of the Governing Council, not the Implementation Committee. Three, our union, in its roles towards ensuring a hitch-free transmutation process, raised some serious and germane transitional issues before the Implementation Committee and called for negotiations, but it was rebuffed on the guise that the committee only has an advisory role. Our union, therefore, wonders how a committee that cannot negotiate with us would now have the power to recommend principal officers for UNILESA to govern, much against the provision of the law…”

This problem of alleged interference and perceived cronyism is not limited to the proposed university. In fact, the mode of appointment of the rector of the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, has been criticised. How would one explain appointment of a rector without advertisement of the position, just by fiat? There are allegations that the immediate-past rector of the institution was appointed in the same manner, without following provisions of the Polytechnic’s Act. The law stipulates that principal officers’ positions must be advertised but not handpicked on seniority in the Institution. For instance, anybody who is a Chief Lecturer, who had served either as Head of Department or Dean of a Faculty before is qualified to apply. Such advertisement or appointment is not also limited to the Institution, the advertisement should be for both internal or external applicants. After which there would be screenings, shortlisting and oral interviews which would give room for the best to be chosen without any bias after the interview conducted by seasoned administrators. These and many other requisites are sacrosanct in the appointment of a rector and other Principal Officers in a polytechnic. In this case, the appointee had neither been a Head of Department nor a Dean, and no aspect of the Polytechnics Law says the most senior staff must be appointed as Rector.


When former Governor Bisi Akande was there, the rector, Professor Benjamin Adeleke, was appointed through due process. Under former Governor Olagusoye Oyinlola, Chief Timothy Ibitoye emerged rector through due process. Then came Dr. Jacob Agboola; he also emerged the rector through due process. The position was advertised in three dailies, 11 people applied. It was thrown open for the best qualified to emerge. Even in the time of former Governor Rauf Aregbesola, as controversial as the administration was, due process was always followed before appointment of leadership of the four higher institutions. While the extant rule says the appointee might be in office in acting capacity for six months before final confirmation, the incumbent rector of Osun Poly was allegedly in acting capacity for only three months before he was appointed as substantive rector.

At the Osun State College of Technology (OSCOTECH), Esa-Oke, when the CEO’s five-year tenure ended, Governor Oyetola gave him another five-year appointment. Meanwhile, the rector is now 63 years old, while the retirement age is 65 years. In that institution, top management positions like Director of Works,  Registrar and Bursar were allegedly filled with fiat. That is why ASUP is asking for due process to be followed. It is only in Ila-Orangun that the Provost and Registrar were acknowledged to have emerged following due process. As of now, the incoming governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is the only hope of salvaging the educational sector in Osun State; and he should not let the people down. Crisis looms if the appointments are not revisited and due process followed.

  • Akinyemi, a public affairs commentator, writes in from Osun State


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