By Gabriel Dike 

Despite repeated denials by the management of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Lagos, that the selection exercise for a new rector has not been stalled, the incumbent’s tenure ended without a new helmsman for the 75-year-old institution.

The appointment of a new rector ran into trouble when some applicants petitioned the Presidency alleging irregularities in the exercise.

The college’s management had assured staff, students and other stakeholders that President Muhammadu Buhari would approve the appointment of a new rector before the end of the tenure of Obafemi Omokungbe.

Despite the assurance, Omokungbe’s tenure ended on January 29, 2023, without a new helmsman. The institution was left under the care of an acting rector.

Mixed reactions trailed the situation at YABATECH as some staff want the Federal Government to pick from the three names submitted by the Lateef Fagbemi-led Governing Council.

Others, including external candidates, insist the selection exercise should be cancelled and a new one ordered, in line with the Polytechnic Act.

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Two shortlisted chief lecturers abandoned the exercise and returned to their institutions, with one expressing disappointment about the process.

Two professors, 21 chief lecturers from various polytechnics and eight other senior lecturers from universities applied for the plum job.

The breakdown showed that, out of the 30 applicants, 13 were from YABATECH, nine chief lecturers from other polytechnics and nine from universities. The Governing Council shortlisted 19 applicants, which excluded those from the university system, for the interview.

The council submitted three names to the Presidency on merit: Dr. I.A. Abdul, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Lauretta Ofodile, from the Department of Biosciences; and Dr. Okesoto Oyebamiji, from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. The three are staff of YABATECH.

The deputy registrar/ head of public relations, YABATECH, Mr. Joe Ejiofor, had earlier told The Education Report that “there are procedures to be followed when appointing a new rector; those procedures are still on course. 

“The tenure of the current rector ends on the 29 of January, which is 10 days from today (19/01/23). When after January 29, a new rector has not been announced or appointed, and then one can begin to talk of delay. For now, there is absolutely no delay.”