Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics have described the reappointment of Dr Abubakar Dzukogi as Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State, for a second term of four years without considering his age as an abuse of the Federal Polytechnics Act 2019, as amended, and the extant provisions.
Falana and ASUP in separate letters to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, Minister of Education, Attorney-General of the Federation, and Head of Service of the Federation, said that as at the time of Dzukogi’s reappointment in 2019, he was 63 years, four months old and was expected to serve for two years as stated in the first letter by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.
Falana intimated the minister that Dzukogi’s first tenure ended May 22, 2019 and that Adamu in another letter dated March 4, 2019 conveyed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to reappoint him for a second term of four years without considering his age and the Federal Polytechnics Act,.which was signed into law by President Buhari in 2019.
He said, “Since Dr Abubakar Dzukogi was 63 in June 2019, he ought not to have been reappointed as the rector because he had only two years left in service.
“In view of the fact that the law has not made provision for a two-year tenure for the rector of any federal polytechnic in Nigeria, we request you to recommend to the President as the appointing authority to reverse the reappointment of Dr Dzukogi as the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida.”
In its petitions to the Chief of Staff to the President and the Attorney-General of the Federation on the issue, ASUP said the rector approached the National Industrial Court in Abuja to vacate the first directive of the Education Minister to leave office on the attainment of the retirement age of 65 years.
National President of ASUP, Anderson Ezeibe, who signed the petition and copied the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education, said the reappointment letter to Dzukogi is a clear breach of the Provisions of Section 8 (2) of the Federal Polytechnic (Amendment) Act 2019.
He said the new letter did not give any indication of the approval of Buhari neither was it signed by the minister of education in contrast to the first one.
“The letter also runs contrary to the provision in the Act for a rector to serve for five years,” he said.