Ondo Govt committed to resolving issues confronting RUGIPO —Governing Council

…..Suspends process of Appointing new Rector, other Principal officers

Following recent protest by workers of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, RUGIPO, the Chairman of the institution’s Governing Council, Dr Olubunmi Omoniyi, has assured stakeholders that the council is lobbying the Ondo State Government on how the 10months salaries owed the workers can be offset.

Omoniyi also confirmed that processes of appointing a substantive Rector and other principal officers for the school have been suspended temporarily.

Addressing newsmen at the weekend in Akure, the Councils Chairman advised trade unions at the polytechnic to join hands with the governing council to effect genuine reforms that would enable the institution generate revenues to complement monthly subvention to meet various financial obligations including salary payment.

Omoniyi, flanked by a member of the Council, Hon. Olumuyiwa Asagunla, said the suspension of the process is temporary to enable the school’s council and the state government to address various issues confronting the institution especially accumulated salaries arrears.

She blamed the unrest by the poly’s workers on unpaid salaries owed by the previous administration since 2014 and move to transform the school to a university.

“The 12 council came on board in August 2022 with our Chairman Barr. Banji Alabi. After the visitation panels to the institution, the results were submitted to His Excellency, Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN CON. After our inauguration on March 7th 2023, the government chose me to lead the council. We reconvened in September 2023.

“By the time we reconvened in September 2023, we had 13 months arrears unpaid to the staff in RUGIPO. With our goodwill, meeting people here and there in government, 3 months were paid to them at once and that was why the 13 months was reduced to 10.

“When we came on board, we discovered that all the principal officers on the ground, their tenure will expire October 9 2023. We swung into action and we put an advert which lasted for six weeks in (the Newspapers), during the process of our advertisement, we appointed acting principal officers.

“Our Council chose some people to do the screening which was done and a total of N3.1 million was approved by the Acting Rector for logistics for consultants from the Federal and State polytechnics (to carry out the appointment of substantive principal officer). To our dismay, we heard a lot of rumours that it was N24 million, some said N50 million. We have records where the 3.1 million was approved. How can we approve N24 or 50 million naira for appointment process when the institution can even generate up to N5million.

“Before the scheduled date, I started receiving a lot of petitions from all over the country with fabricated and malicious stories about me and the council members.

“This 12th Governing Council, we met again to discuss how we are going to conduct the principal officers’ interview exercise amidst several petitions and allegations flying around.

“When the Union met with me in November, I told them that I had been able to go round lobbying for 3months salaries to be paid. I made them realised that the present government is not owing them. This salaries were accumulated since 2014 under previous administration. There was a time they (previous management/governing council) also borrowed N850million to pay salary at the polytechnic, which other institutions in the state did not borrow from the bank. All these things have generated a lot of unrest in the institution.

“Other institutions when they get their subvention, augment it with their IGR but for this very institution (RUGIPO), we don’t have IGR and the ways of generating IGR is not forthcoming from any of them.

“At the meeting with members of the Council, they asked how we are going to get 10-month salaries paid, I told them we would beg the government to pay because presently they have exhausted their subvention (for 2023). Instead of 12 months, they have gotten 14 months of subvention. And we were informed that they cannot get additional ones. I said we would beg so that government can assist us to defray this (salary) debt and that is the situation on ground.

“To my dismay, I heard they went on rampage with NASU chanting my name and that I am sitting on their money. I don’t know how a Council Chairman will sit on salaries not to be paid. As I am speaking with you, I don’t have any record of accounts of the institution or any member of my council doesn’t know anything about their account records.

“Apart from our sitting allowance which had been budgeted for. We have never collected a dime from any quarter at the institution. All efforts to get the polytechnic to generate IGR are being frustrated (by the system.)

“The (state) government have intervened and they asked us to put the interview on hold and we have done that. I think the matter should be put to rest for a while.

“I think if they want to go on rampage, they should inform me and dialogue to see what we can do about it if they have not been masterminded by some people who do not want the interview (of appointing new principal officers) to be held, so that we would not have substantive principal officers,” Omoniyi said.

Also speaking, a Council member, Hon. Olumuyiwa Asagunla advocated the implementation of automated fee payments, digital result uploads, and increased internally generated revenue to enhance the institution’s standards.

Asagunla urged support for the council’s efforts to elevate the polytechnic into a 21st Century institution as projected by the state government within the next six years.

Asagunla said, “The immediate past Rector and 11th Council was pressurised by the 3 UNIONS to borrow N850M from a Commercial Bank with the repaid pack with huge interest. With the Acting Council Chairman and other council members’ goodwill, we were able to lobby the state government to pay back the N850M to RUGIPO 2months ago.

“We also lobbied the executive and Legislative arm of government to increase the running grants accrued to RUGIPO by 60% just last month. These are some of the 12th Council achievements within the past 4months we are in charge, and we ain’t resting on our oars.The UNIONS should understand that no meaningful development can be achieved in a rancorous situation,” Asagunla said.

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