Dr. Akpoebi Adesi is the Registrar of the Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education, Sagbama, Bayelsa State. He speaks with PAULINE ONYIBE about the leadership crisis rocking the state-owned college.
You are being accused of attacking the Provost because you are a brother to the state governor. How will you react to this?
That is very callous. That is the very mischievous. That is the most callous statement anybody could have made because I had never in anyway abused my relationship with the governor with regards to my official conduct. I have not in a way done that. I have only been frustrated by the maladministration of the Provost in terms of how he was running the institution like a Sole Administrator.
You should know that in a college or any institution of this nature, there are laid down rules and regulation, for all to follow. Every officer knows where his or her duties begin and end. As the Chief Administrator of the college, it is my responsibility to undertake official correspondences, signing of letters and promotion letters, and what have you.
Haven’t you been doing that all along, or were you disallowed?
Yes. I was doing that until lately when the provost decided to usurp most of those functions, such as writing of letters and memos to non-teaching staff, appointment letters to staff and letters relieving some workers of their appointments, and redeploying people at will without recourse to the registrar or to other management staff.
For instance, it is the duty of the Registrar to redeploy any member of staff of the college, especially non-teaching staff. Hence, because of the differences we had in terms of financial management of the institution, in which the Chief Internal Auditor raised some issues about it, the provost decided to redeploy him to the Bursary. This is simple, as a financial expertise, the Chief Internal Auditor, should be in the know of every financial matter in the college.
Are you not in the picture of all the financial activities of what comes in and goes out as the registrar of the institution?
Of course, I am not and even if I were to know, it is the duty of the Chief Internal Auditor to be in charge of internal control of the college financial transactions. And, now that man is being shielded from knowing this. With this you can better imagine what is happening within the system.
What would you say are the duties of the bursar in the system?
Let me add this; the bursar is in charge of financial dealings and all that of the college. And, once any transaction or financial dealings were carried out, it is the duty of the chief internal auditor to take responsibility of all records of financial dealings. This is done so as to have internal checks and control mechanism.
Now, where the Chief Internal Auditor is trying to carry out his normal or official duties, and he is complaining of not being allowed to do so, in terms getting the financial reports of the college, you can imagine such frustrations. For someone, who could not get all he needed on the financial dealings of the college to approach the Chief Executive to complain, but rather than to call the bursar to order, the provost took the complaints of the Chief Internal Auditor as an attack or affront on his person.
Did you at any point bring these issues up with him or you are using your relationship with the state government to humiliate him?
No. I have told you that he was encroaching on other officers’ duties. And, also I have mentioned the fact that as the Registrar, it is my duty to oversee and prepare correspondences within and outside the system, but which had been hijacked by the Provost. For instance, the governor does not sign documents such as letters of appointment.
It is the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) that issues letters of appointment and other documents. The governor may announce that the government is making so and so appointment, it is the duty of the SSG to carry out the process by writing the appointment letters. That is how the system works. But, there will definitely be problem when as a chief executive of an institution, he begins to issue out letters of appointment and sign the letters
But, the college has is rules and regulations, or code of duty, guiding the functions of every unit of the college?
Yes, the fact remains that we have a law governing the institution. That is the 2010 Law as amended in 2012, which spelt out every officer’s duties. There is also the condition of service, but which we are yet to perfect. The one we are using is the one designed by the National Commission for Colleges of Education, the regulatory agency for colleges of education in the country. In this one, every officer’s duties are well spelt out, but the rules are not being following by the Provost.
That is exactly what I am telling you. It is unfortunate that the provost was bent on imposing himself on every other officer including the Registrar for that matter.
At what stage did you notice this?
I had noticed it for quite a while. I was appointed only two years ago, before then he was having problems with my predecessor. It was he that facilitated the removal of the former registrar based on these kinds of infractions and official misconduct. He is trying to claim that he was always right. That is the problem.
Did you inform him of all these allegations before addressing to the press?
Yes. For instance, I did during the redeployment of the Chief Internal Auditor to the Bursary. I told him that his action was not right because internal auditing is a profession on its own. The Auditor, a career man and while performing his duty along that line he only discovered a lot of financial discrepancies in the record and communicated same to the Provost, as expected.