…as VC exonerates Diri
Yenagoa—A former General Manager of the Bayelsa Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Bayelsa), Dr. John Idumange has accused the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri of implementing a clannish agenda in the Bayelsa Medical University (BMU), Yenagoa.
The accusation is coming amidst rumours of the sack of 198 casual staff of the institution.
In a statement sent to mangrovepen.ng, Idumange stated that upon assumption of office in 2020, Diri removed the acting Registrar, Dr. Akpoebi Adesi from office and installed Dr. Guagha M. Berezi from Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area.
He added that the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Ebitimitula Etebu, who is also from Kolokuma Opokuma nor Diri did not give any plausible explanation as to why the sudden change was made.
Idumange who is also a former Director, Bayelsa Government New Media Team, opined that “only last week, there was a founded rumour that about 198 casual staffs of BMU had been sacked.
“An inside source claimed that the original employment was made to reflect all the eight Local Government Areas by the State.”
He said an informant who also published a video on the issue lamented that the sack affected only seven local governments leaving out the casual employees of Kolokuma Opokuma.
“Stakeholders and other senior employees of BMU are visibly alarmed that the institution is on the verge of being colonized by the Kolga elements as the top two positions of the University are occupied by people of Kolga extraction.
“For whatever it is worth, BMU like other universities are universal institutions that should assume a universal character and should not be subjected to the vagaries and vicissitudes of petty, parochial politics of clannishness,” he said.
While charging Etebu and Berezi not to succumb to the temptation of dragging the university into the murky water of ethno-clannish politics, Idumange urged them to maintain the apolitical posturing of the university, stating that it is the best way to attract scholars of national and international repute.
Responding to the allegations, the VC of the institution who confirmed the sack of 198 casual staff exonerated Diri of any involvement in its decision.
In a statement on Tuesday, he stated that the disengaged 198 persons were improperly absorbed as casual workers in 2019 and the process violated the employment rules of the institution.
According to Etebu, the embattled 198 casual workers had to be disengaged due to their repeated restive nature and the demand for new lecturers needed for the several accredited courses of the Institution.
The statement reads in part:
“The current Governor has nothing to do with anything. I am the Vice Chancellor, I told them, they were trying to destabilize the institution. Every time they were threatening, saying they are going to do this and that.
“And because of the hard times, we have tolerated them for all this while, but they are now trying to take advantage of that fact.
“They go out and tell lies. These are the ones you are hearing. They go and write on Facebook and collude with the opposition. They use it to malign this current administration just to score cheap points for political gains.
“The institution decided to step them down due to constant security reports of their threats/restiveness to go on protest and make the University unmanageable.”
“Aside from that, in this last quarter of the year, we are going to be embarking on a flurry of advisory visits from over 13 Regulatory bodies and the NUC.
“This is a ritual in a specialized University like ours. Those outside the system do not understand these dynamics. We need professional lecturers, technologists, technicians, etc. These casual staffs were foisted on us.
“The University has a regulation of employing 3 academic staff to 1 non-academic staff. Currently, as things stand, our ratio is the reverse. We will implode if we continue in this manner.”
Etebu further pointed out that the institution was following the guidelines laid out by the National University Commission (NUC) on the employment of workers with the university system having dual employment, one for the lecturer and one for the non-academic staff, and one for the professional in the health profession.