The federal government, on Tuesday, inaugurated the governing councils of the new eight federal polytechnics and colleges of education in the country.
To this end, it has warned members of the councils against going outside their briefs, especially procurement matter.
Minister of Education,Malam Adamu Adamu, who carried out the function through the Minister of State, Emeka Nwajiuba, explained that members were selected “In line with the Federal Polytechnic (Amendment) Act 2019 and Federal Colleges of Education Act 1986.”
“The persons selected to chair or serve as members of the various councils are expected to be experienced men and women of proven integrity who are, not only knowledgeable in polytechnic and colleges of education affairs but also familiar with the policy options of government in the, Nigerian tertiary education system.
“1, therefore, congratulate you on having scaled through the rigorous assessment and found to be worthy of your exalted appointments,” he told the members.
He spoke further: ”In the Ministry’s Education for change’ agenda; (A Ministerial Strategic Plan (2018-2022), one of the strategies for addressing the issues and challenges of tertiary Education, is the appointment of Chairmen and Members of Governing Councils from among people with proven integrity and experience in Education and administration.
“It is for this reason that we have meticulously searched for competent notable Nigerians to help in attaining our nation’s educational objectives. The drive to revamp the quality output of higher education in Nigeria rest squarely on the shoulders of prominent citizens like you.
” We are confident that you will bring your wealth of experience, adherence to and respect for the rule of law and due process to bear in the discharge of your duties.
“Your choice for this important assignment is a testimony of your records of successful endeavours in the past, either in your private or public capacity. You stand among Nigerians who have recorded tremendous achievements in life, and have garnered vast experiences which you are now willing to deploy in the service of our father land. I, therefore, wish to express the appreciation of President Muhammadu Buhari to you all for accepting, once again, to serve our dear country.”
Noting that:” In accordance with the law, Council shall be the governing body of the institution with powers of general control and superintendence over the policy, finances, and properties of the institution”, the minister reminded them that:” The tenure of the Council is three years from the date of inauguration.”
“It is, therefore, essential that you familiarise yourselves with the specific law establishing your institution as well as with other relevant laws of the Federation. I urge you to exercise this power with utmost sense of responsibility and in the best interest of your institution.
“Just as it is important for you to identify your functions, powers and privileges as a Council, it is also imperative that you know the limits of such powers and how best to avoid situations of conflict in discharging your duties.
” I want to, particularly, draw your attention to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007. Prior to the enactment of this Act, the Governing Councils of Tertiary institutions were responsible for procurement matters, through the Council’s Tenders Board. However, with PPA 2007, the Chief Executives of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) took over the responsibility for procurement matters.
” Thus, in the Polytechnics the Rectors and his/her Management are responsible for procurement while in the Colleges of Education, the Provosts and his/her Management teams are in charge of procurement. The Chief Executive is, however, expected to brief the Governing Councils regularly on all procurements, as it is done on all financial and other matters.
“All chairmen and members of the Governing Councils need to take due cognisance of this, as it had, in the past, led to unnecessary frictions between the councils and Managements of some polytechnics and colleges of education,” he said.
Noting also that, ”Poor management of funds remains major operational constraint in the sector”, the minister said:” It is expected that the limited funds allocated by government should be judiciously utilised.”
” Also it is evident that government cannot provide all the funds required to run federal polytechnics and colleges of education, councils should think out of the box and endeavour to generate more revenue, outside government allocations,” he added.
He spoke further:” In this regard, Councils should enlist the support of philanthropic organisations, individuals and other sources of revenue through endowment for additional funding of their institutions.
” It is expected that Councils will respect the Principle of Federal Character in the appointment of members of staff. Some Polytechnics and Colleges of Education have become parochial and primordial enclaves and the concept of universalism in education has been jettisoned, especially in matters regarding staff employment. The councils should work with the Federal Character Commission to ensure compliance.
“Councils should also adopt best practices and comply with statutory guidelines in the performance of their supervisory functions.”