NECO Registrar, Education minister in show of power

No Comments » February 12th, 2015 posted by // Categories: Education for Nigerians (EFN)

NECO Registrar, Education minister in show of power


Rather than end the power struggle between the Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, and the Registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO), Prof. Promise Nwachukwu Okpala, may have only just begun.


Ibrahim Shekarau

Ibrahim Shekarau, Minister of Education

The Registrar has dismissed an order from the minister that he proceed on terminal leave.

‘‘I am still at work,” he told reporters in Minna, Niger State, on Wednesday.

The commission has for some time now been rocked by conflicting “orders from above” among which are those from the Minister and the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Fed­eration (SGF).

Okpala, while briefing journalists at the council’s Head Office, said: “I have never proceeded on any leave, and I have also never handed over to anybody.”

Prof Promise Nwachukwu Okpala, NECO Registrar

Prof Promise Nwachukwu Okpala, NECO Registrar

According to the NECO boss, “I am still at work because all the instruments that keep me here are still in­tact. If it is otherwise, I will quietly go on that terminal leave.”

He continued: “I am still at work, I have not gone on leave. I still have the instrument granting me the permission to still go to work.”

Explaining the genesis of the crisis, he said: “On the 26th of January this year, I got a letter asking me to proceed on retirement leave with effect from 12th January, 2015. I received the letter on the 26th of January but it was dated 23rd January, 2015.

“A response to that letter came from the Ministry of Education, drawing the attention of the ministry that I am not supposed to proceed on retirement leave and that my appointment is a tenure appointment and I am a political appointee, that I am not a career Civil servant.”

He further disclosed that a copy of that letter was given to the relevant authorities, including the board of the organisation.

“There was also another letter from the federal government and the board was also copied, interpreting that I am a political appointee, I am not a career person, I am on tenure appointment. And that I should stay until the date of my expiration as Registrar”, he said.

Okpala said, there was another letter from the same Ministry of Education dated 28th January, signed again by the Permanent Secretary which copied the Minister of Education, the Board, the Director of Finance and him­self (Okpala).

He said, “There was a meeting of Board and Man­agement; in that meeting on Thursday last week, the letter that was dated 28th January was served to every­body. It was a full board and the letter from the ministry read that I should continue with the work I am doing. They called my Director of Finance, gave him a copy of this same letter, and each of us stood up and pledged to work harmoniously with each other”.

However, he said, “what seems to be happening now is that they are still working on that letter of 23rd Janu­ary. They are still parading it that I must go on leave, but I am still at work. Not because, I want to sit down tight but it is because the letter asking me to continue work is still here.

“The skirmishes are be­ing created by outsiders who are not our staff. You can see how quiet our premises is.”

Speaking on behalf of other directors, the most senior officer who is the Director of Human Resources Management, Mr. John Asuwe, said, “I am the most senior Officer. We, the management team at NECO consider it important to make some clarifications on whether the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of NECO is still on the seat or not. He is still the Registrar.”

Investigations revealed that the Minister of Education had in a letter dated 23rd January, 2015, ordered the registrar to proceed on ter­minal leave and hand over to Dr. James Ojebode, who was identified as the most senior director.

But the registrar, in a re­ply dated 26th January, 2015, explained that he was not a civil servant hence he would not proceed on terminal leave and that Mr. Ojebode was not the most senior director.

Findings were that another letter was written by the permanent secretary, Macjohn Nwaobi­ala, with reference number PRT/ABJ/OP/10/249 acting on a letter received from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federa­tion (SGF) reference SGF/S14/11 dated 27th January 2015 thereby giving the regis­trar the reason to disregard the minister’s order

It was learnt from the letters that instead of acting on the minister’s directive, the permanent Secretary of edu­cation Dr Nwaobiala acted on the SGF’s letter directing the council’s board that “the status quo ante be main­tained” contradicting the earlier order of the minister that the registrar should proceed on terminal leave.

The registrar had told journalists that he would not leave office until April when his tenure expires even as Ojebode decline comment when contacted saying that he would allow civil service process to work and as a civil servant he will not speak to journalists.

Meanwhile, a civil society organization Concern Citi­zen for Educational Development (CCED) has asked Ok­pala to proceed on terminal leave as directed by the min­ister without further delay.

The leader of the group, Comrade Solomon Adodo, who led other members to the council on a protest, told Journalists and some staff of the council at the en­trance of NECO headquarters, Bida Road, Minna, that they have given Professor Okpala a 72-hour ultimatum to comply with the minis­ter’s order or risk mass action.


Picture 1505Picture 1506Picture 1507Picture 1508Picture 1509Picture 1510Picture 1511Picture 1512

Opt In Image
Send Me Free Email Updates

(enter your email address below)

Leave a Reply


Home | About | Contact | Login