By Chioma Godwin
The leadership of the Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCOEN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to redress certain infractions that are quite obvious in the recent Principal Officers appointments in some Colleges of Education.
SSUCOEN, in a letter signed by its National President, Danladi Ali Msheliza, dated 13th April, 2021, addressed to the Minster of Education, praised President Buhari for the approval for the establishment of six (6) new Federal Colleges of Education.
The letter however noted that “90% of those on the list of appointees, do not meet the requirements for appointment as Principal Officers in Colleges of Education, as provided for in the approved Schemes and Conditions of Service (2015 Edition) for Colleges of Education in Nigeria.”
Specifically, the letter listed that Federal Colleges of Education at Iwo, Osun State; Gidan Madi, Sokoto State; Odugbo, Benue State; Jama’are, Bauchi State; Isu, Ebonyi State and Ekiadolor, Edo State, are the institution were the inappropriate appointments were made, whence urging government to ensure that due process is followed and the right thing done.
Furthermore, the letter stated the following as the startling revelations it considers as serious concern and capable of being
counterproductive, and unhealthy to Colleges of Education subsector: “That most of the appointees are either from the Core
Civil Service, Private Sector or other sectors outside Colleges of Education System, which is contrary to theprovisions for
the requirements for the appointment of Principal Officers in Colleges of Education, as contained in the Revised Conditions
of Service for Colleges of Education (2015 Edition), and the Act establishing Federal Colleges of Education.
“That Governing Councils for the new Colleges of Education have been constituted, and it is the Governing Council that have the powers to appoint Principal Officers, as provided for in the Act establishing Federal Colleges of Education and other relevant extant rules and guiding documents. One could not help but wonder why the FME rushed to appointPrincipal Officers for the six (6) newly established Federal Colleges of Education, without recourse to the requirements for the appointment of such important positions, especially that Councils were on ground. Had Council not been constituted, it would have been well understood.
“Appointment of Principal Officers of any College of Education, by any other person or group, other than its Governing Council, amounts to illegality & usurpation of the powers of Council. TheAct establishing Federal Colleges of Education expressly states that “the Council of each College of Education shall appoint a Registrar, Bursar, Librarian to such College,” upon satisfactory performance & subject to meeting the requirements for appointment into such office(s). It is equally the duty of Council to recommend candidates for appointment as Provost, by the President.
“The appointments were mostly based on political considerations, without due and diligent considerations to extant rules, with a view to laying solid foundation for the new Colleges to start off well. Sir, you may wish to note that a house that is built on a faulty foundation does not last long and will crash.”
SSUCOEN therefore told the Mallam Adamu to; “in the interest of industrial harmony and the avoidance of court injunctions,
implore President Muhammadu Buhari and the Honorable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to use their good offices to: Set aside the appointments of the other Provosts and Principal Officers because their appointments did not meet
the requirements for such offices. Doing otherwise will amount to setting bad precedence, abuse of subsisting court judgement and serve as disservice to Nigeria & the College of Education sector in particular.
“Ensure that criteria for the appointment of Principal Officers in Colleges of Education are followed and met by aspiring candidates. Allow the Governing Councils (if they are mobilized) of each of the new Colleges to follow due process & appoint their Principal Officers as enshrined in the law establishing Federal Colleges of Education.
“In an event where the Governing Councils are yet to be mobilized; as an interim arrangement, set-up a Technical Committee with the Director, Tertiary Education, FME, and the Executive Secretary, NCCE, as members to screen those that had indicated interest for the posts and are qualified, with a view to appointing the right persons, in line with the requirements of the Conditions of Service for Colleges of Education.”
Also, the Union stated; “it is clear that the law does not envision appointment of any person outside the College of Education system as Provost, Registrar, Bursar or Librarian; not even a staff of College of Education, below the rank of Chief Lecturer to be appointed as Provost, nor below the rank of Deputy Registrar/Bursar, to be appointed as a Registrar/Bursar. One therefore, wonders how persons who were never Chief Lecturers nor Deputy Registrar/Bursar could be appointed as Provost, or Registrar/Bursar, respectively, for the New Colleges.””
Further explaining why President Buhari and the Minister of Education must redress the infractions, the letter noted: “For avoidance of doubt, the criteria/requirements for the appointment of Principal Officers in Colleges of Education are as follows, among other requirements: (A) Provost: i. Candidates for the post of Provost should possesses a Doctorate degree from a recognized University in a field relevant to at least one programme in the College. He/she should be a registered and active member of a professional Association in the field of Education. The possession of a Professional Teaching Qualification, a minimum of Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) or Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), in addition to registration as a Professional Teacher with TRCN, are mandatory.
“ii. Candidate must possess a minimum of fifteen (15) years Post Qualification teaching/research experience in a College of Education System; and in addition, must have held a senior teaching/research and top administrative post in a College of Education System as evidence of ability to manage both human and material resources. iii. Candidate must not be above the age of fifty-nine (59) years at the time of taking up the appointment. iiii. Candidate must be a Chief Lecturer with at least 5 years cognate experience etc.
“(B) Registrar/Bursar: To be eligible for appointment as College Registrar/Bursar, among other requirements, the candidate must possess the following requirements: i. A good honors degree in any of the Social Sciences or Art subjects from arecognized institutions of higher learning.
“ii. Must possess relevant Master’s degree from a recognized Institution of higher learning with at least 18 years cognate work experience. Possession of a Doctoral degree is an added advantage. iii. Must have been a Deputy Registrar/Deputy Bursaretc.
“(C). COLLEGE LIBRARIAN: To be eligible for appointment as College Librarian, among other requirements, the candidate must possess the following requirements: i. Must possess relevant Master’s Degree from a recognized Institution of higher learning with at least 18 years cognate work experience. Possession of a Doctoral degree is an added advantage. ii. Must have evidence of publications, journals and community service iii. Must have been a Chief Librarian.”