Professor Tamunoimi Abbey's Petition To Minister of Education Adamu Adamu

The attention of the Management of the Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas, Bonny, has been drawn to a petition by Professor Tamunoimi Abbey, who, until his recent suspension from office, was the Rector of the Polytechnic. The petition was to the Honourable Minister of Education, Professor Adamu Adamu, and published on social media.

Given the established structure and consolidated operational modus operandi of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, it would have been unnecessary to respond to the content of the said petition but to safeguard the unsuspecting members of the public, we have to make this statement.

It is imperative to state that the Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas, Bonny, under the current administration, is focused on value addition, social impact and capacity building and, in line with this trajectory, is on the way to hosting its first-ever Graduation Ceremony for the award of National Diploma and other certifications and its Inaugural Lecture. These two events, which will be etched on the foundation of broad-based stakeholdership and inclusivity, are aimed at enhancing the institution’s capacity to take its pride of place among the comity of progressive and impact making tertiary institutions in Nigeria and globally. 

It is also important to announce that issues relating to capacity building of staff, knowledge management exposure for students and other critical issues are receiving the urgent attention of the current management. Suffice to say that it is time for the institution to revert to its statutory mandate of building capacity for the Oil and Gas, Maritime and Industrial sectors of the Economy.  

Given this direction assumed by the current administration, the Polytechnic does not wish to be distracted from this course. However, for the purposes of setting the records straight, we wish to clarify that on the issue of the legitimacy of the appointment of the current acting Rector, Mrs Ibifiri Blessing Pollyn, the facts of her appointment and redeployment as Deputy Rector and now acting Rector of the Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas, Bonny are properly consolidated and incontrovertible. She did not appoint herself and anyone who questions the nature of her appointment and the discharge of her duties is obviously questioning the wisdom of the Visitor to the Polytechnic, who is also the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  

On the allegation that the acting Rector started making approvals days after assuming office; it is trite to state that where there is a Chief Executive, whether, in a substantive or acting capacity, there shall be ongoing exigencies related to the day-to-day running of the institution that will require administrative calls or decisions, which may include cash calls. In such circumstances, what is the chief executive supposed to do? 

On the issue of acting Rector’s role in the change of signatories to the institution’s accounts, it is important to note that in the administration of federal tertiary institutions there are established administrative templates for running the system which includes access to financial accounts. Obviously, there shall be ongoing issues such as the day-to-day administration of the institution which include availing or disbursing of funds to obviate such exigencies; how does the chief executive under whose watch such administrative calls fall discharge such responsibilities without access to the financial accounts of the institution? Additionally, it should be noted that the Rector, be it in a substantive or acting capacity, does not make himself or herself a signatory to the institution’s accounts or reserve the power to change such signatories. Acting Rector’s Abuja trip was merely to make her signature available to the relevant authorities to input into the system and nothing more. Any insinuation outside this is mischievous and ill-conceived.  

On the statement that the acting Rector is a “stooge” of the Governing Council, may we state that going by the way Federal tertiary Educational institutions are configured, all officials of the system are answerable to the Visitor of the institutions, be they Federal universities, Polytechnics or colleges of Education, who is also the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Does this make their stooges? In the discharge of their duties, there is a statutory bottom-up reporting system which basically enhances the smooth functioning of the system. This does not make the clerical staff stooges to the managerial staff or the managerial staff to the supervisory authorities or the Rector to the Governing Council.  

We wish to dismiss the allegations of illegal financial dealings as mere farce and of no moment as there is no truth to them. Those knowledgeable about how funds are managed in public institutions in Nigeria are aware that pulling out funds in the magnitude of what has been alleged is not possible, especially, with the operational template of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) being administered by the Federal Government. 

May we also debunk the unfounded and baseless assertion that the Governing Council has hijacked the administrative structure of the institution as this is not reality. At the moment, the acting Rector, who is acting on behalf of the suspended Rector, Mrs Ibifiri Blessing Pollyn, the Registrar, Mrs Altina Boma-George, the Bursar, Mr Mohammed Idris, and the Librarian, Mr Albert O. Elejene, are at their various duty posts working assiduously to ensure the smooth functioning of the institution. Added to this, it is also untrue that any Departmental head was relieved of their duties. The Director of Works, Mr Bright Okata, Director of Procurement, Mr Boniface Emenike, and the Internal auditor, Mr Mieipiribim Pepple, are still at their duty posts. Can one cry more than the bereaved?

The claim that the Polytechnic has been running smoothly and has graduated the first batch of National Diploma students in five programmes is not founded on facts. However, it is important to note that the Polytechnic has not conducted graduation activities for National Diploma students or any certification Programme at all. In conclusion, the general public should note that the current head of Management of the Polytechnic and Acting Rector, Mrs Ibifiri Blessing Pollyn, in one of her Academic Board meetings told members that the Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas, Bonny is not a marketplace but a place where intellectuals study and postulate, invent and advance revolutions; and this she is determined to sustain. 

It is our belief that the Honourable Minister of Education shall soon wade in to review the facts on the ground viz-a-viz the issues raised in the said petition and address them appropriately. Until then, we urge staff, students and our esteemed stakeholders to align with the new vision of jump-starting the institution on the fast lane of progress and development. 

Mrs Gift George-Green 

Ag. Public Relations Officer (PRO) 

Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas, Bonny 

Monday, February 21, 2022

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