FCET Crisis: Minister endorses provost’s tenure continuity

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Tahir Mamman, Nigeria's Minister of Education

The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, has intervened in the ongoing crisis at the Federal College of Education, Technical (FCET), Akoka. On Thursday evening, conflicting parties signed resolutions to resolve the dispute, which included reopening the office of the college’s provost, Wahab Azeez, and his return to his official duties.

The resolutions, signed by representatives from the ministry, the newly inaugurated governing council of the college, and staff unions, stipulated that “the key to the office of the provost will be handed over to the Chairman of the Governing Council to allow for the Provost, Dr. Ademola Azeez, to resume his official functions.”

The meeting also called for an end to the prolonged protest by the workers and urged the governing council members to address the workers on Tuesday, July 9.

Reconciliation Meeting

Earlier on Thursday, EduCeleb.com reported that the minister had invited the provost and the warring factions, including the leaders of staff unions on the campus, to a reconciliation meeting at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

Although scheduled for 11 a.m., the meeting started at around 6 p.m. and continued late into the night.

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Attendees

Representing Mr. Mamman, Minister of State for Education Yusuf Sununu chaired the meeting, which was attended by Directors Zubairu Abdullahi and Uchenna Uba, and other key officials.

Among the other attendees were the Chairman of the newly inaugurated governing council, Olatunde Adenuga; Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Paulinus Okwelle; and Chairman of the Committee of Provosts of Colleges of Education, Faruk Haruna. Representatives from the college included the provost, Chairman and Secretary of the Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education (SSUCOEN), and other union leaders.

Resolutions and Actions

The meeting resolved to:

  • Reopen the provost’s office and allow Dr. Ademola Azeez to resume his duties.
  • End the workers’ protests.
  • Mandate the governing council chairman to meet with college staff representatives for a post-meeting review.
  • Investigate the alleged misappropriation of funds approved for the college’s fencing.
  • Supervise the provost under the oversight of the Chairman of the Governing Council.
  • Improve the condition of chief lecturers’ offices or revert them to their former offices.
  • Address the appointment issues of the institution’s bursar.

The resolution was signed by Mrs. Uba for the ministry, Mr. Adenuga for the governing council, and leaders from SSUCOEN, NASU, and COEASU.

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Background of the Crisis

The crisis began on May 27 when workers locked up the provost’s office and issued a quit notice from his official residence.

The Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education (SSUCOEN) led the protests, asserting that the amended Educational Colleges Act 2023, which introduced a five-year single term for provosts, had ended Mr. Azeez’s tenure on May 26.

However, Mr. Azeez argued that he was appointed for a four-year term in 2019 and reappointed by the governing council in 2023, thus beginning his second term on May 27, 2023, before the amended act was signed into law on June 12, 2023. Despite a letter from the Minister affirming the legality of Mr. Azeez’s second term, the protesters continued their demonstrations, preventing management from accessing their offices.

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