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12 Months Salary Arrears: Again, RUGIPO Workers Cry For Help

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It is an unfettered reality that Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo is an Institution whose impact on societal growth and development have no bounds ever since its establishment.

It is the only Polytechnic owned by Ondo State and thereby deserves good care and attention of all the good people of the State, especially those with the necessary wherewithal, such as, Captains of Industries, Philanthropists, Religious Leaders, Traditional Rulers, Political Kingpins, should tell the Visitor to do the needful, as the Institution is at the brink of extinction. He should not allow this Institution to be shut down administratively, just like Abia State Polytechnic, which had been disaccredited of all its programmes and courses, due to non-payment of salaries as and when due.

The generation yet unborn will continue to give MR GOVERNOR plaudits, if the rancorous issues in this Polytechnic are not negligibly handled by him. Kudos to our heroes past!

To be factual, some States within Southwest Zone of this Country, like Osun, Oyo, Ogun to mention but a few, have more than three or four State Polytechnics and they are not dysfunctional, considering the expected standard of Polytechnics across the Nation.

Away from this, it must be iteratively parroted that, the entire workforce of the Institution has been facing gamut of pains and sufferings for a couple of years ago.

Sadly enough, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic workers are the only public servants in the history of Ondo State, who had ever been owed this mammoth sum of money; twelve (12) months salary arrears. This is so barbaric and cruel.

Arguably, some people in the corridors of power and their bootlickers, who relish mammonism and subterfuge in lieu of the principle of utilitarianism and altruism alibied the challenges which the Polytechnic workers are facing, to global economic downturn and other tenuous alibis, such as dwindlement of the Institution and State IGR.

Some burning questions here are; Can this position be indubitably proved? Are RUGIPO workers on a par with other State workers in term of salary payments, despite the fact that, we are under the same economic condition? Or are we not working for the same employer? What are the binding constraints for this hiatus? Who are those responsible for unbinding these constraints? Are they living up to their responsibilities (Oaths of office)? Why is it that Government is unwilling to maintain Treasury Single Account (TSA) and be paying RUGIPO workers directly? This is to curtail the excesses of Management, if really Government is not comfortable with the financial management of the Institution. Are they not reneging on their promises, especially education-related ones? Are the workers who are working assiduously, even with pains and agonies, to attain the goal congruence of the Institution take a rap for non-payment of their salaries as and when due?


Martin Luther King Jr. has this to say that, LIFE’S MOST PERSISTENT AND URGENT QUESTION IS; WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR OTHERS?

In fact, open-hearted and plausible riposte to these questions would go a long way towards putting the Institution in proper shape. Those who hold tenaciously to their erroneous beliefs about the actual wellspring of RUGIPO’s mire are completely living under the rock.

It is not an unarmed truth that, RUGIPO is supposed to be usually audited, (financial audit and staff audit) within the space of three (3) years instead of annual audit.

The question now is, when last was the audit exercise carried out in the Institution? Who is the chief manipulator or puppeteer in the system and who is deceiving who?

Please, we should not allow this Institution to collapse in the interest of the students, staff, hosting communities, generation yet unborn and Ondo State in general.

The distillate of this bulletin is to make a clarion call to the Visitor to this Institution and other well-meaning citizens of the State, both within and in diaspora, to really distil the import of the only Polytechnic in the State and swiftly rescue it from its age-long mess. In the real sense, it needs to be adequately tweaked, revamped and reinvigorated.

The jiggery-pokery of the doyen of the Institution and immediate past Governing Council, which actually exacerbated the economic somersault of the Institution should not be cast aside.

Without more ado, a lot of obnoxious policies formulated and implemented in the Institution, which are capable of besmirching the hard earned good image of the current Akeredolu-led administration should be well rejigged. For the sake of clarity, some of these policies are:

  1. SHUTTING DOWN OF RUGIPO STAFF SCHOOLS (both primary and Secondary Schools) and unceremonious dismissal of its Staff in dispense with any pecuniary consideration.

The Council and Management utterly deceived the general public that, the Staff Schools were to be privatized for optimal performance. This was adduced for closing it down permanently.

Amazingly, a number of private investors have shown interest in the acquisition of these schools, yet they are not willing to do so, just because they want one of their cronies to actually acquire the Schools.

They envisaged the hue and cry of the public, which hamstrung them from giving the Schools to their cronies up till now. To make the matter worse, the facilities of the Schools are fast depreciating.

  1. UNJUST DEMOTION OF STAFF.

The Governing Council led by Banji Alabi Esq. and Management led by Gani Adebola Ogundahunsi maliciously demoted some senior staff of the Institution on no just cause. To our dismay, they decidedly and fraudulently promoted their kith and kin over and above their contemporaries and seniors in the Institution.

This was challenged in the competent Law Court and this action was invariably declared illegal, null and void and Management was ordered to restore the affected Officers to their former positions with their full entitlements. But they obstinately refused to carry out the Court order.

They totally defied the competence of the Court, despite the fact that, it is the final arbiter of Justice. These people even failed to reverence the Visitor to the Institution, who happen to be a senior member of sacred chamber.

  1. ARBITRARY DELAY IN CONDUCTING PROMOTION OF STAFF.

Dismayingly, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 promotion exercises are still left undone.

  1. WASTING OF THE INTERNALLY GENERATED REVENUE OF THE INSTITUTION ON VARIOUS NEEDLESS COURT CASES, DESPITE THE VERDICTS GIVEN BY THE COMPETENT COURT.

Presently, the Institution is facing six (6) different cases in the Law Court at the same time over avoidable rancours and animosities.

All these are in vogue in the Institution because of administrative recklessness, managerial ineptitude and moral turpitude.

  1. NON REMITTANCE OF DEDUCTIONS OF VARIOUS COOPERATE SOCIETIES IN THE INSTITUTION.
    The current Management absolutely failed to remit the age-long deductions of Cooperative Societies, which are part of our salaries, in the Institution, yet squandering money on frivolities. It is not an overstatement that, Management is owing these Societies a whopping sum of Four Hundred and Thirty Million Naira (#430,000,000) Only. This is very appalling and grotesque.

6. USURPATION OF NON-TEACHING POSITIONS BY TEACHING STAFF OF THE INSTITUTION, WHO ARE CRONIES OF THE RECTOR.

Can you imagine Chief Lecturers serving dual purposes, both as administrative Directors and Lecturers at the same time? This is an anathema to the Scheme of Service, Career Structure, NBTE Guidelines and Public Service Rule.

Stone-heartedly, Mr Rector rebuffed the correction of this error, having done the fact-finding for the past three (3) months.

  1. NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE NBTE REGULATIONS, HARMONIZATIONS ACT, 2013, BUT DOMESTICATED IN 2018 BY AKEREDOLU-LED ADMINISTRATION.

Astonishingly, Mr Rector is well over 65 years, even by his doctored age, as evidenced by his younger brothers, who had retired from the service of the Institution for the past three (3) years.

The Polytechnic Act, 2019, (as amended), which spelt out the tenure of the Principal Officers to be Five (5) years single term. The then Council Chairman appointed him as the Rector of the Institution for Four (4) years single tenure relying on the obsolete and antediluvian law of Ondo State. This was purportedly done just to make Gani Ogundahunsi his stooge and groveler.

Sad to say, the firm promise made by the past Governing Council, upon assumption of office, to turn the Institution to a silicon valley was totally a woolgathering.

All his achievements here were to stop Mr Governor along Akure-Benin road for the laying of students’ village foundation, which was supposed to be 16,000 bed space capacity. In fact, the land meant for this purpose had now been cultivated by Ibiras for cassava and Maize farming.

Also, his promise, in conjunction with Alumni Association of the Institution, to build mega hospital in the Institution to serve as referral hospital to Owo and its environs was a mere daydream.

Sadly speaking, the huge amount of money realised at the funds raising ceremony for this project was no where to be found till now.

The last but not the least of his achievements was the unbridled proliferation of staff strength of the Institution, without considering the ability of the Institution to sustain his action, mainly in term of financial backing.

All employments/appointments made by Banji Alabi-led Council and Ogundahunsi administration were bereft of both Internal and external advert, shortlisting and invitation for interview and written and oral interview. This is antithetical to the public service rule.

It is now a palpable fact that, the Institution needs total overhauling, or else we would only be chasing shadow and building castle in the air.

The seeming intractable hardship which the entire workers of the Institution are confronting in the wake of twelve (12) months salary arrears, that is, December 2016, January 2017, July 2021 to April 2022, impelled workers to embark on the ongoing INDEFINITE STRIKE ACTION on 4th April, 2022.

The decision to go on this Industrial action was finally reached after all consultations and patience had been exhausted, without any foreseeable hope.

Dishearteningly, some of these workers have died, some are still between life and death in various hospitals, while the remaining active workers have been completely impoverished, but only trying to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

We are therefore using this medium to inform the general public that the strike action embarked upon by the workers of RUGIPO still lingers, until considerable number of months of salary arrears are paid.

It is quite of much concern that, the leap service given by both Management and Government to this Five (5) weeks old strike action, necessitated by twelve (12) months’ salary arrears owed the workers of the Institution, is least expected. The ripple effect of this kind of struggle on all the stakeholders (students, parents and host communities) of the Institution cannot be overemphasized. We therefore wish to reiterate that workers salaries are their legitimate rights. This suffering is nearer to servility and dehumanization. Something urgent must be done in the interest of all.

“TO DENY PEOPLE THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS IS TO CHALLENGE THEIR VERY HUMANITY”. – Nelson Mandela.

E-SIGNED:
RUGIPO UNIONS’ LEADERS

PS: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily that of the Publishers of Precision Online Newspaper.

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