By Ehi Ekhator, Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Academic Staff Union of Research Institution (ASURI), National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM) branch have raised alarm over the imposition of what they referred as “incompetent and unacceptable” Acting Director-General/CEO, Mr. Yusuf Abdullah Muhammad on the Agency.

NACETEM is an Agency of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology which has its headquarters located within Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. And the Agency provides critical knowledge support on science, technology and innovation (STI)

According to the information gathered by NAIJA CENTER NEWS; after the exit of the former DG/CEO, Dr. Willie Siyanbola, rather than appointing among the many experienced and academically competent officers to replace the vacant position, a priority was placed on seniority. Mr. Yusuf Abdullah Muhammad, an Administrator and a HND holder in Accountancy was nominated by the board to take over a Research Institute that has at least 10 Ph.D. holders and over 30 Master’s Degree holders in its fold.

Dr. O. A. Jesuleye, Chairman, ASURI (NACETEM Branch) who expressed his dissatisfaction and disappointment through a petition addressed to Federal Ministry of Science & Technology,Federal Secretariat, Abuja  over the nomination; said that, the past DG/CEO, holds a Ph.D in Solid State Physics and an Associate Professor, and the first Executive Director of the Agency, Professor S.A Sanni is the first professor of Chemical Engineering in Africa.

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His words “the first Executive Director of the Agency, Professor S.A Sanni, is the first professor of Chemical Engineering in Africa, while his successor, the immediate past DG/CEO, holds a Ph.D. in Solid State Physics and an Associate Professor. The practice in the choice of either an acting or substantive DG/CEO has always been to have a Ph. D. in Technology Management, Sciences, Engineering or Social Sciences and such a person must have been an academic or a researcher with substantial experience. In the deliberations of the Board however, merit was jettisoned on the altar of seniority, perhaps because none of the members is conversant or knowledgeable about the mandates of the Agency and some critical international engagements NACETEM has with reputable institutions which require a professional in Technology Management to be able to see through”

He added that putting an HND holder to handle the magnitude of work in the Agency when the Agency has a Ph.d holder in Technology Management who is a Deputy Director (Research) and has put in 17 years of his life into the service will take NACETEM backward.

The petition written by Dr. O. A. Jesuleye also accused Mr. Yusuf Abdullah Muhammad of rewriting NACETEM Enabling Law to suit the Board’s suspicious motive. An initial Enabling Law at its final stage for further processing drafted by NACETEM, considered by the Management of NACETEM, the Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, and also considered by the newly inaugurated Governing Board at its inaugural meeting held in Abuja on 17th October and another meeting held between 5th and 7th of November, 2013; now suddenly have a new version solely sponsored by Mr. Yusuf Abdullah Muhammad.

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Hoping that the Governing Board who at first considered the version of the Enabling Law drafted by NACETEM would strike the new version out, had surprisingly considered the version by the new DG at its special Board meeting held in Abuja on 20th November, 2013 despite that the initial draft enabling law had been considered by various offices and the management of NACETEM.

Mr. Yusuf Abdullah Muhammad in his bid to become the substantive DG/CEO drafted the new Enabling Law in his favour. Some of the changes made are:

The composition of the Governing Board
The requirements for the position of the DG/CEO
The functions and mandates of the Agency
Removal of the power of the Agency to award postgraduate certificate/degrees, among others.

The new Enabling Law has also ceded some power and sole responsibility of the DG/CEO to the Board. Some of such powers are the responsibility to set up guidelines, regulate and manage NACETEM funds; ratify appointment as well as termination and dismissal of junior staff of the Agency (see appendix III).

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In the petition, it was discovered by NAIJA CENTER NEWS that, though the Agency is situated in Southwest, but the composition of the NACETEM Governing Board which was inaugurated by the Federal Government completely has no member from Southwest.

The names include:

(i)              Senator (Chief) Ben Collins Ndu

(ii)             Chief Douyi Douglas-Naingba

(iii)            Hon. (Mrs.) Ladi Mamman Watila

(iv)             Hon. (Mrs.) Goodluck Ogbogu

NAIJA CENTER NEWS found out that the outgone Director-General/CEO has issued an official notice to Mr. Yusuf Abdullah Muhammad who is supposed to retire on the 1st of February, to commence is mandatory pre-retirement terminal leave from 1st of November, 2013 having spent 8 years in service as a full-fledged Director.

It is obvious that from the moves, that the fraudulent Board has a mission to make sure that Mr. Yusuf Abdullah Muhammad was appointed the acting DG/CEO of the agency.

The fraudulent Board also published in the Vanguard Newspaper that Mr. Yusuf Muhammad is the New Acting Director-General/CEO without any approved document by the Ministry. What the paper published as an appointment was merely a proposal by the Governing Board, which was not acceptable to ASURI and a host of other members of staff

Copy of the edited Enabling law compared with the one edited by Mr. Yusuf

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