The Ogun State Government on Tuesday removed the Rector of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Olaide Itiola, and ordered him to proceed on terminal leave with immediate effect.
The sack of the rector was announced shortly after the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Ogun State Joint Campus Committee embarked on a protest against alleged nonchalant attitude of the state government to the education sector.
The Secretary to State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, in a statement made available to journalists, however, said the removal of the rector was part of the general transition programme involving the Polytechnic and Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology.
The statement announced the appointment of Ayodeji Tella as the Acting Rector of the polytechnic with immediate effect.
“The erstwhile Rector, Prof. Oladele Itiola, is to proceed accordingly on his terminal leave. The state government wishes him the very best in his future endeavour and thanks him for his service to the good people of the state,” the statement read.
Earlier on Tuesday, hundreds of students had embarked on a protest they tagged ‘Rescue Ogun State Education Campaign’, during which they held placards with various inscriptions some of which read: “Save Ogun State Education”, “Education Must Survive” and “MAPOLY Must Survive”.
Speaking during the protest at Government House Abeokuta, Chairman of Ogun NANS, Olawale Balogun, told Governor Ibikunle Amosun that the students were not happy with the state of education in the state.
He mentioned the delay in commencement of semester examination at MAPOLY, saying the delay would affect the career of the students.
He also said the association was opposed to the cancellation of payment of fees for West Africa Examination Council for secondary school students by the state government.
Other grouses of the association was the recent hike in the acceptance fees being paid by new entrants into the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye.
The students asked the governor to make a categorical statement on the status of MAPOLY, in the light of its proposed transmuting into Moshood Abiola University of Technology, and creation of Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia.
In his response, the governor denied that MAPOLY had been scrapped following the upgrading of the school to a university status.
He said the state government was working hard to improve standard of education in the state.
He alleged that that it was the polytechnic lecturers who were delaying examination at the polytechnic; adding that the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic of the school would be invited immediately to address the issue.
Mr. Amosun said the students who were currently running various programmes at different levels would be allowed to finish their studies
He said there would not be automatic appointments for the lecturers of MAPOLY in both the new university and polytechnic, insisting that the lecturers would have to apply for new appointments.
“I am not happy because this is my school. What is happening today is because those that have been given the privilege to serve us are not serving well,” Mr. Amosun said.
“We will seek for new lecturers for the university and the new poly. MAPOLY lecturers are not comfortable with it. I said the appointment they have is for MAPOLY. For the new university, they will have to reapply. If they are qualified, they can take them.
“I will ask the commissioner to meet them again.”
However, the governor warned that the lecturers could not hold the government to ransom by failing to conduct the scheduled examinations.
“We are not admitting any student into MAPOLY. We are not sacking anybody, we are not taking them automatically. Why should we carry another place’s problem to a new one?
“If you have carryover, you are going to Ipokia. I told them (management) don’t admit new students into MAPOLY,” the governor said.