Time to depose Ede Poly Rector

There is a way someone in trouble would boast and the discerning would quickly locate his or her source of support. If you examine Wednesday’s tough-talk of scandal-ridden Rector of Federal Polytechnic, Ede in Osun State, Dr. Adekolawole Johnson-Edaogbogun, while responding to his alleged suspension by the Academic Board for alleged misconducts, it is pretty clear his under-the-water drummers are the decision-makers in Abuja and he sounded so confident, no ants could as much crawl on his body. Sad!

Adekolawole’s reign in the institution began on a scandalous note in 2018, sweeping through a multi-million Naira residence-renovation scandal, to his son’s (Goodness) controversial appointment as a lecturer in the institution and further miring in the procedurally-affected firing of a lecturer, Mr. Matthew Omolade for alleged plagiarism, before the latest slew of alleged misconducts, involving accountability, efficiency , productivity, and bed matters in office, though, without traceable bed-mates yet.

Who keeps a man like this as the symbol of an institution that should be well-regarded. If in just about two years of his leadership, Adekolawole has attracted so much odium and opprobrium to his person and of course, the institution-because the pot used in cooking the dog will somehow feature in the narrative-, how bad can, and would get, if left to complete the four-year tenure, with the possibility of a renewal, if he plays his game well at the right quarters, regardless of the damage his kind do to public institutions and the long-term effects of their actions that regularly get a pass from their patrons.

Like others in its category and everywhere in the public service, including spaces where mainly professionalism, competence, hierarchy and manifest pedigree should dictate appointments, rectorship is a political appointment and you don’t appoint your enemy to a federal institution where the appointee is supposed to be the eye of Abuja and must be cool with the corridors of power. So like the man at the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State, Dr Abubakar Dzukogi, who Abuja has asked to continue in office as the Rector when he should have retired, despite loud protestation, Adekolawole’s needle too, has thread at the base. You want to ask why the Visitor is not doing anything about them. What if it is the Visitor’s hand that is there as the street would say.

The perverse culture of everyone holding somebody’s leg to be somewhere in our public life may not be going away soon, but the patrons and backers should know when their surrogates become orange without juice, fit only to be thrown away, even if their “boys” are their main ATMs.

Nothing is wrong in being helped. Don’t we always ask God to send help to us as His children and He won’t come down fixing it physically. He would use men, though that concept of divine help has been monetized and bastardized, despite Him asking such chosen helpers not to expect human reward and He doesn’t expect kickbacks, IOU, and advanced payment of bribe monies to be involved in the assisted lifting. That would mean demeaning Him and His powers, by trying to fraudulently help God. Who can help Him who holds the breath of all?

Even when divinely-helped and lifted, God expects the lifted to stay in purity, be accountable, responsive, responsible, righteous, hardworking, courageous and possess unimpeachable integrity.

Of the allegations trailing the Rector since his assumption of office, his ways can’t be said to be pure for so much smoke to envelope his leadership, though we may say there is no fire yet. Even when pictures of the bed in his inner office are everywhere, he still denied the existence of that comfort- in-odd-place. Who covers such fact. Yes, there could be genuine reasons to have beds in inner-offices without same becoming abattoirs or UNILAG’s infamous “Cold Room”. It would be for Adekolawole to explain why the “strange item” is there, not denying the obvious. That was the same way with his son’s controversial engagement. There was no Governing Council approval and you shooed him in, blaming COVID-19 but kicked omo olomo (another man’s son) Omolade out, also without approval of the Governing Council. As I asked in my piece of May 31 titled “Ede Poly: Where are the Saints?”, why the rush on the two issues, when both could be easily remedied if unavoidably delayed? Earned appointment can be backdated, so is earned sacking. Potentially-lost due is also recoverable, including the lecturer paying back all the earned salaries if found guilty of plagarism, before landing in gaol. It seems Adekolawole is so settled in the culture of illegality and impunity, probably because some other constructed authorities are protecting him against due process.

Nigerians revel in in-your-face, especially when powerful protection is assured. I remember those better-forgotten days at National Hospital, Abuja when a relative had a long association as a patient. No boss, no subordinate, especially in the Admin section where seeking ordinary patient’s file, was seeking heaven since John the Baptist. I later learnt nearly everyone came on someone’s list; from National Assembly, Villa, just name them. Merit is permanently on holiday here.

But Yoruba have a way of sorting out the kind of mess at EdePoly. Won nba ni wase ni (it is your duty to be dutiful after being helped onto the duty). Yes, applicants can be recommended but the system must ensure that the best in quality are picked, not the ones with the most-loaded complimentary cards, recommending them. Even after qualifying, it must be strict duty of the favoured one, to stay true to the rules of engagement and the supporting patrons who act as crooked backbone for office holders, must see sense in their anointed, doing it right, except their greed is always eclipsing common good. Adekolawole isn’t good news for the institution again. He has become a poor advertisement for whatever good his employer in Abuja wants out of the institution. Yes, his godfathers would be all over the place, especially in the Ministry of Education in Abuja, but Ecclesiastes 3 is clear about seasons of life. It is time to let Adekolawole seek his fortune elsewhere. Yes, the laws guiding the institution empower strictly the Board to carry out sanctions like suspension but since one isn’t in place, instead of the other members of the Academic Board which he chairs, being forced by the circumstances of his “guilt” to engage in the “illegality”, of suspending him, Education Minister Adamu Adamu should act now. Except, he is base of Adekolawole’s rock.

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