All is not well at the Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi-Uku over alleged ‘undue interference’ in the recruitment exercise of a chief librarian in the institution.
BIGPEN Online was told that the chairman of the council, Dr Festus Okubor is trying to manipulate the recommendation of a recruitment committee set up for the purpose to favour his preferred candidate who was allegedly ‘disqualified haven not met the criteria for the position’.
Sources at the institution who didn’t want their names mentioned alleged that Okubor was trying to weigh in his position to railroad the committee headed by Dr. J.U Akajakpor to pick his preferred candidate.
The institution had in May 27, 2019 advertised for the position with criteria, amongst others, stating applicants must possess the required academic qualification, and cognate work experience of 15 years in an academic environment.
The source said that among the eight applicants shortlisted for the screening, the committee approved three applicants, Mr. Aniogbolu A. Chukwudi, Dr. D.O Akparobor and Mr. Akpokurerie Azino Oscar for consideration.
While Ogochukwu T. Emiri (Ph.D), Dr. Alex Obuh, Rev. Marvelous N.B Nwajei, Ehiwuogwu E. Mercy, and Irivwieri J. W, were purportedly screened out, our source claimed.
Although BIGPEN Online couldn’t independently verified this information, sources claimed that for reason yet to be fathom, the chairman of the governing council preferred one of the applicant, Mr. Obuh who was reportedly screened out by the committee for the position of chief liberain and is set to impose him on the management.
The said Obuh is said to have 11 instead of 15 year work experience as required for the job and also had no NYSC certificate but had 15 journals publications, 5 chapters contribution in a textbook and presented 6 conferences papers to his creidt.
According to sources, the Academic Staff Union of the Polytechnic as well as non-academic staff union are not happy with the development which they claimed is against the laid down guideline for the recruitment.
Reacting to the allegation, the institution Public Relation Officer, Mr. Billy Onotue, said that the committee would only follow the laid down requirement for the recruitment exercise as it is a very sensitive position, though “there are bound to be some political manoeuvring due to vested interest”, he added.
He also, with another senior officer of the institution who don’t want to be named, said its the right of the Governing Council to engage such officer, but with laid down rule.
When contacted, Dr Okubor, in a telephone conversation told BIGPEN Online that it was uncharitable for anyone to alleged his “interference” when recruitment for the institution is the right of the governing council which he oversees as chairman of council.
He said that his council has not gone wrong in the recruitment process as enshrined in the institution constitution, maintaining that at the end of each process by the selection board, (not committee as claimed), only one person is to be recommended to the council for employment.
According to him, the council under his leadership, following this guidelines had recruited senior management staff for the institution in time past including the Rector, Bursar, Registrar and others and at no time had he exert personal influence over decisions of the recruitment board.
Dr Okubor explained that at each recruitment exercise, he set up a recruitment selection board which he also chaired alongside senior management staff including the Rector as members as the case may be, stating that while the selection board go about it duties of screening all applicants, the council also do it underground background check, including security check on the applicants.
He said that the recommendation of the selection board has not been formally announced because the council would also sit over it to approve or disapprove the one person to be recommendated by the selection board.
Okubor, a former Chief of Staff to Delta State Government who now sits over the institution governing council, however attributed the ‘messy crisis’ over the position to the rising profile of the institution, saying that Ogwashi-Uku Polytechnic which recently secured 23 out of 27 scholarship that came to Delta is the toast of the moment.