BY ABDULRASHEED AKOGUN, FRESH INSIGHT
Over three months after the appointment of Professor Shehu Abdulraheem Adaramaja as the Executive Chairman of Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (KWASUBEB), he has continued to receive salaries from his former employer, the University of Ilorin in clear contravention of extant laws, Fresh Insight investigations have revealed.
Although there was no official communication announcing Adaramaja’s appointment, the University of Ilorin Professor of Health Education has since assumed office at KWASUBEB and started work in earnest. Specifically, Adaramaja spoke publicly in the capacity of Chairman, SUBEB, for the first time at a stakeholders’ meeting held in Ilorin on April 22, according to a press release signed by Yakub Ali-Agan, the Press Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development.
In February, Fresh Insight had published an investigative report exposing the unconstitutional operation of SUBEB without a duly constituted board.
The Kwara State Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Law, 2005 as amended vests the power to carry out recruitment, appointment, promotion and discipline of teaching and non-teaching staff on salary grade level 07 and above in the ‘board’, including the power to post and deploy staff, be it interstate, inter-local government and inter-service transfers.
It is also the exclusive preserve of ‘the board’ to receive grant from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and disburse it in accordance with agreed formula to the local government education authorities.
Furthermore, it is the board that is also legally saddled with the responsibility of providing basic education facilities in the state, including physical structures.
While the Board Chairman is expected to be the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the board, the Executive Secretary is supposed to be the Administrative Head.
In raising a defence, however, Rafiu Ajakaye, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, speaking in March during a programme on the state-owned radio station, denied the contravention of extant laws, saying the board had been put in place since December 2020 but it was not publicly announced to protect it from undue pressure from favour seekers in the ongoing SUBEB recruitment exercise.
Fresh Insight investigations however did not only confirm the defence to be an afterthought, they also confirmed it as outright falsehood and an attempt to intentionally misinform and mislead the public with the aim of covering the illegal and unconstitutional actions.
The appointment letter of Prof. Shehu Abdulraheem Adaramaja, with ref no; S/ECA/25/T/286, written by Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Mamman Saba Jibdil and exclusively obtained by this medium, states that he was appointed on 30th December 2020. But background checks by Fresh Insight at the Secretary to the State Government’s office confirmed that Prof. Adaramaja only got his letter of appointment on 29th March, 2021, three months from the date contained on the letter and exactly 33 days after Fresh Insight’s publication exposing the illegality of the recruitment exercise and other activities of SUBEB, owing to the refusal of the Governor to constitute the board, which is constitutionally empowered to carry out those functions.
Further investigations by Fresh Insight showed that after receiving his appointment letter on March 29th, 2021, Prof. Adaramaja wrote to his employer, the University of Ilorin in a letter dated April 2, 2021, titled APPLICATION FOR LEAVE OF ABSENCE. The letter reads: “Consequent upon my appointment as Executive Chairman, Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board, Ilorin by the Kwara State Government, I wish to request for a leave of absence to serve the tenure.
“The 2006 Act as amended that established the Board, stipulated a five (5) years tenure for the Chairman and his members. I promise to be a good Ambassador of the University throughout my tenure as the Chairman, KWASUBEB, Ilorin.”
The request was subsequently approved by the Registrar, according to insider sources, roughly two weeks after the submission.
Fresh Insight confirmed that Prof. Adaramaja received salaries for the months January, February, March and part of April 2021 as an employee of Unilorin via the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform.
He also received March 2021 salary as the KWASUBEB Chairman, even though he received his backdated letter just two days to the end of the month.
Fresh Insight’s investigation into KWASUBEB exposed that as of the time of filing this report, the Kwara State Governor had only appointed the Chairman of SUBEB, leaving the roles of Secretary and members of the board vacant.
A highly placed government source told this medium: “As of this morning, we only have Chairman of SUBEB, without a Secretary or members of the Board; Prof. Adaramaja is, so to say, a sole administrator of SUBEB for now.”
This revelation runs contrary to the extant law governing the board, which states categorically that the functions and powers of the constituted board can’t be activated by the Chairman without the full complement of his members.
Relying on the Freedom of Information ACT, 2011 Fresh Insight wrote a letter of enquiry through the Registrar to the University of Ilorin on April 26 requesting the university to, among others, confirm whether or not Prof. Adaramaja was still a staff member, as well as the last time he received salary and any other allowances as a member of staff of the university. The letter aslo sough to know whether he was granted leave of absence or secondment by the university in the last three years and if he is currently on leave of absence or secondment, when it was granted and for what purpose (including the associated terms and conditions).
After 12 days without a response from the University of Ilorin, Fresh Insight again wrote a pre-legal-action notice dated May 8, reminding Unilorin of the initial letter and intimating the university of the intention to approach the court if the FOI request is not responded to within three working days.
Few hours after the submission of the pre-legal-action notice, the University of Ilorin responded to Fresh Insight’s FOI request. While confirming that Prof. Sheu Abdulraheem Adaramaja was actually on leave, the university also confirmed that he had been receiving salary running into millions of naira, four months after his purported appointment date.
The letter, dated May 11, with reference number UIL/SSE/PF/2940, addressed to The Editor, Fresh Insight, titled ‘Re: Freedom of Information request concerning Professor Sheu Abdulraheem Adaramaja’ and signed by the Registrar, University of Ilorin, Dr. Fola Olowolemi, reads:
“Your letter dated 26th April, 2021 on the above subject requesting Administration to provide information on one Professor Sheu Abdulraheem Adaramaja refers, please.
“Processor Sheu, Raheem Adaramaja with staff number UIL/SSE/PF/2940 was appointed as Graduate Assistant on 11th June, 1998 in the Department of Physical and Health Education.
“The following is additional information as requested:
“1. Professor Sheu Raheem Adaramaja is still a staff of University of Ilorin.
“2. He received part of April, 2021 salary.
“3. He was granted one (1) year Sabbatical Leave on 2nd September, 2018 tenable at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and resumed duty on 5th September, 2019.
“4. He was granted five (5) years Leave of Absence renewable yearly with effect from 15th April, 2021 to take up an appointment in the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board, Ilorin.”
Deductible from Unilorin’s response No 2, Prof. Sheu Abdulraheem Adaramaja received January, February, March and part of April salaries, while according to the records he was also already drawing salaries from the Kwara State Government as an appointee, as Chairman Kwara State University Basic Education Board (KWASUBEB).
Response 4 confirms that he was granted leave of absence on April 15th, yet he illegally resumed office for almost four months.
Ajakaye, the Governor’s spokesman, had also said: “The board was constituted and they’ve resumed since December; their appointment was only not announced because of the ongoing recruitment exercise, which would have subjected them to intense pressure and lobbying if they were announced publicly.”
However, this defence, according to findings and the FOI response from Unilorin, has been proven to be false.
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