RUFUS GIWA POLYTECHNIC OWO IS BEING MANAGED BY A NEST OF FRAUDSTERS WHILE GOVERNOR AKEREDOLU LOOKS THE OTHER WAY.
As a group in Owo Kingdom, we marvel with deep concern at the impunity with which the trio of Mr. Banji Alabi (Governing Council Chairman), Mr. Atiku Sule (Registrar) and Mr. Adejuwon Ayodeji (Bursar) have been perpetrating all kinds of irregularity and fraud at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic which is the Institution around which the Economy of Owo Community revolves. The three partners in fraud all hail from Isuada which is one of the numerous Communities in Owo Kingdom. The way Mr. Banji Alabi has been leading the other two to perpetrate fraud and irregularity in the Polytechnic creates the impression that Isuada is bent on destroying the 40-year old Polytechnic completely.
Attempts made by well-meaning people in Owo Kingdom to call Banji Alabi to order in the interest of the Polytechnic failed to produce the required effects as he (Banji Alabi) has been going about distorting history by claiming that the Polytechnic is located on Isuada land. In his puerile opinion, people from Isuada own the Polytechnic and can act without challenge in any way in handling the affairs of the Polytechnic. Mr. Gani Ogundahunsi who is the Rector of the Polytechnic functions as a mere lame duck because all members of the Polytechnic Community are aware that Banji Alabi has taken over the position of Chief Executive of the Polytechnic from the Rector. Banji Alabi has taken absurdity to the extreme by taking over the day-to-day running of the Polytechnic through whattsapp messages to the lame duck who calls himself the Rector.
The question being asked across Owo Kingdom is: if other Communities and stakeholders in Owo Kingdom will fold their arms and watch as Banji Alabi and his partners in fraud from Isuada destroy Rufus Giwa Polytechnic ? The big problem which all of us in Owo Kingdom find to be astonishing is the discovery that Governor Akeredolu is looking the other way and is determined to keep looking the other way. The immediate implication of the attitude of Governor Akeredolu is that the fraudulent and irregular activities of Banji Alabi and his partners have the full backing of the Governor.
A few of the irregular and fraudulent activities which Banji Alabi has been leading his partners to carry out in the Polytechnic are listed:
1. CAR PURCHASE FRAUD: Banji Alabi caused a sum of #28m to be transferred from one of the Polytechnic Bank Accounts to a third party Bank Account traceable to him (Thanks to the BVN initiative). Banji Alabi claimed that he wanted to use the money for the purchase of a G-Wagon as his official car in an Institution where workers are owed salaries for 7 months. The G-Wagon remains invisible till date. We are not aware of any Tertiary Institution in Nigeria where the Council Chairman rides a G-Wagon as official car.
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2. HURTING THE ECONOMY OF OWO COMMUNITY: Since none of the 7 Banks in Owo town would be ready to do the kind of fraudulent business done in the transfer of #28m, Banji Alabi decided to take the Salary Account of workers in the Polytechnic to Keystone Bank in Akure. Keystone Bank has no presence whatsoever in Owo Community and it has never been of any service or economic benefit to Rufus Giwa Polytechnic. By this action, Banji Alabi hurts the Economy of Owo Kingdom and we, like other members of Owo Community are complaining.
3. CONTRACT SCAM: At the instance of Banji Alabi, advertisement for Contract Award is usually placed in Newspapers which are only available in the Northern part of Nigeria. The reason behind this morally irregular and fraud-prone act is very simple. Banji Alabi indulges in under-the-table Contract Award and merely uses the phoney advertisement to cover up breaches in the award process.
4. SALE OF EMPLOYMENT: It is no longer news that employment has been on sale at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic in Owo at #250,000.00 per slot for the Senior Staff category and #50,000.00 per slot for the Junior Staff category. Members of the public within and outside Owo Community are aware of this shameful development. As Council Chairman of the Polytechnic, Banji Alabi is aware of the shameful act and he keeps complaining and grumbling about it when he discusses with his close friends. Banji Alabi lacks the will and courage to call Atiku Sule the Registrar who is the one coordinating the sale of employment slots to order. Banji Alabi is incapacitated by the fact that he is being blackmailed into a state of ineptitude with the #28m scandal. Gani Ogundahunsi the lame duck Rector does not even know the number of people employed so far in the sale of employment which has become an open-ended exercise.
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5. VICTIMIZATION: Recently as Governorship Aspirants in Ondo APC were criss-crossing the length and breadth of Ondo State canvassing for votes at the Ondo APC Governorship Primary Election, Banji Alabi directed the Rector to sack 105 workers who he alleged were backing one of the APC Governorship Aspirants from Owo. Most of the sacked workers are from Owo.
6. OBSTRUCTING THE INVESTIGATION OF FRAUD: When the #28m fraud, the falsification of age by Gani Ogundahunsi the Rector and many other fraudulent activities of Banji Alabi were being investigated by the Ibadan office of an anti-graft agency, a member of our group in the Ondo State Ministry of Justice informed us that the State Attorney General at the instance of Governor Akeredolu detailed a Senior Legal Officer in the Ministry to go and play the role of Legal Counsel to Banji Alabi and all Officers of the Polytechnic being investigated for fraud in order to obstruct the investigation.
7. ARBITRARY FEE HIKE: Due to the arbitrary increase in school fees and other harsh policies of Banji Alabi as backed by Governor Akeredolu, the population of students in the Polytechnic which was well over 17,000 before Akeredolu became Governor is now less than 5,000 as obtained from a dependable source in the Bursary Department of the Polytechnic. The implications of this sharp drop in student population on the Economy of Owo Kingdom are grave. Market Women, Artisans, Okada Riders, Cab Drivers and Landlords are all feeling the economic pain inflicted on Owo Community by Banji Alabi’s harsh policies.
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8. A NEST OF FRAUDSTERS IN CHARGE: Under the watch of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as Ondo State Governor, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic in Owo which is the only Polytechnic and the oldest Tertiary Institution owned by Ondo State is being managed by a nest of fraudsters. Prominent members in the nest are listed:
The Council Chairman, Mr. Banji Alabi: Aside the #28m fraud, he has been authorizing shady contract award.
The Rector, Mr. Gani Ogundahunsi: The Council Chairman and Registrar are aware that the Rector falsified his age and they have been using the situation to blackmail him. This is why he has become a lame duck.
The Registrar, Mr. Atiku Sule: He is a domestic fugitive who is wanted by the Nigeria Immigration Service in connection with manipulated International Passport and forged travel documents. He once made a fraudulent attempt to travel to the United Kingdom but he was caught. The UK Embassy seized his International Passport and passed it to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). The UK Embassy wrote to inform him that his criminal act had been detected and that he had been placed under a life ban from travelling to the United Kingdom. In a sane society, Mr. Atiku Sule is supposed to be facing prosecution in the Court of Law instead of parading himself as the Registrar of any Tertiary Institution for that matter.
The Bursar, Mr. Adejuwon Ayodeji: As a Chartered Accountant, this man has been acting disgracefully in the way he has been allowing his kinsman, Banji Alabi to dip his hand into the Polytechnic Treasury without the resistance which a Chartered Accountant is professionally trained to provide. For example, the Bursar acted in total disregard to Accounting procedures by transferring a sum of #28m from a Bank Account of the Polytechnic to a third party Bank Account traceable to Banji Alabi his kinsman even before raising Payment Voucher and other necessary documents. It was when the Fund Transfer became an issue that the Bursar decided to raise Payment Voucher and other necessary documents which he criminally backdated. Officers in the Bursary who frowned at the unprofessional conduct of the Bursar were posted away from their desks immediately. One of our members who is a Senior Officer in the Ondo State Ministry of Justice and who claims to be an old friend of the Bursar during their Secondary School days expressed shock at why the Bursar would be so willing to put his career and professional reputation on the line in order to satisfy a greedy kinsman.
As concerned sons and daughters of Owo Kingdom, we are not comfortable with the impression being created that the Governor is fully aware of the terrible situation at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic but that he has decided to look the other way. We call on Governor Akeredolu to intervene urgently in the affairs of the Polytechnic by clearing the salary arrears of the workers and by dismantling the nest of fraudsters in the Polytechnic.
Staff death rate in the Polytechnic arising from the economic hardship occasioned by non-payment of salary and other wicked policies has become very high. One of such avoidable deaths is that of a Chief Lecturer who collapsed and died while working on his Cassava farm recently. The situation of retirees in the Polytechnic is even more terrible as we have been informed. A Senior Officer in the Bursary Department of the Polytechnic informed us in confidence that neither the Government of Akeredolu nor the Council being led by Banji Alabi has any arrangement or plan for the payment of the benefits of retirees. The Officer informed us that retirees in the Polytechnic had never been this shabbily treated. With grieve boldly written on the Officer’s face, the Officer informed us that during the tenure of Governor Akeredolu, 29 retirees of the Polytechnic have died as at 24th July 2020 without being paid any fraction of their retirement benefits. We were also informed that even now that they are dead; no arrangement is being made to pay such benefits to the next of kin of any the deceased retirees. To our surprise, the situation at the only Polytechnic owned by Ondo State and which is located in Owo has become even more hopeless than indicated here under the carefree watch of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
Even now, there is no evidence or sign that Governor Akeredolu is ready to come to the aid of the grieving workers and retirees of the Polytechnic. As if to convince every doubting Thomas that he has no intention of addressing the problem of unpaid salaries/pension of workers and retirees for 7 months at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic in Owo any time soon, Governor Akeredolu approved a sum of #3.1b for the payment of outstanding entitlements to different categories of Ondo State workers excluding Rufus Giwa Polytechnic workers a few days ago.
When workers and retirees of the Polytechnic became aware of this sad development on Friday, July 31 2020, they were shocked and by Monday August 3, the shock had led to 5 deaths in the Polytechnic. (3 Workers and 2 Retirees). Our group has an urgent challenge for Governor Akeredolu. We challenge him to direct his Commissioner for Health to go to the Health Facilities in Owo especially the Federal Medical Centre to take the alarming statistics of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic workers and retirees who are on admission for various economic hardship-driven ailments with no resources to settle medical bills.
This sad situation should be expected in a Polytechnic where 30% salary and pension reduction punishment was imposed on Workers and Pensioners and made effective from January 2020. Even after imposing the salary/pension reduction punishment, the Government of Akeredolu is still not paying salary/pension in the Polytechnic. Ondo State has 4 Tertiary Institutions but Rufus Giwa Polytechnic is the only one where salary/pension reduction has taken place and it is also the only one where Workers/Pensioners are owed salary/pension for 7 months.
What can be the future of a Polytechnic that is abandoned by its owner government and left in the criminal hands of a nest of fraudsters?
Our group earnestly asks:
WHY IS OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU DOING THIS TO OWO COMMUNITY ?
WHY HAS HE CHOSEN TO VISIT THIS LEVEL OF WICKEDNESS ON OWO COMMUNITY ?
OWO GENERATION NEXT, writes from No 87B Idimisasa Street, Owo, Ondo State.