Do Not Cover Up Reports of Investigations
The Oyo State Chapter of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) supports the ongoing struggle of workers of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) Ibadan, against the attempt by Prof. Tale Omole, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to sweep under the carpet the reports/recommendations of the two separate panels set up by the Agricultural Research council of Nigeria (ARCN) and the administration of OAU Ile-Ife to investigate and establish various facts related to allegations of corrupt practices leveled against the Director, Prof. B. A. Ogunmodede and Chief Accountant, Mr Z. K. Tejumola of the institute.
As a Party of workers, youths, and the entire poor strata of the society, we of SPN also lend our voice and support to the call for an immediate and unconditional implementation of this report and immediate payment of the salary of the striking workers which had been withheld since December, 2012 till date by the Prof. Ogunmodede-led administration of the institute.
Since June 11, 2012, there have been lingering agitations among workers in IAR&T, Ibadan over allegations of misappropriation of a huge sum of N177, 371, 609.50, the money meant for the hazard allowance to the staff of the IAR&T and the false claim by the director of spending the sum of 15million on harvesting as against the N800, 000.00 that was actually spent on crop production activities by the institutes during the year 2010.
Through the sustained and uncompromised agitations of these workers who were centrally organized under the auspices of Joint Action Committee (JAC), the Executive Director of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof. B.Y Abubakar and the Vice Chancellor Obafemi Awolowo Uniiversity (OAU) Ile-Ife, Prof. Tale Omole, separately set up two independent panels to investigate and establish facts that are related to the raised allegations.
Subsequently, the separate reports of these two panels by the ARCN and OAU as the financial and Administrative supervisory agencies of the institute respectively indicted the Director, Prof. B.A Ogunmodede, the Chief Accountant(Mr Z.K Tejumola and Accountant 1 ( Mr O.O Adenose) of fraud, financial impropriety and misappropriation of the IAR&T`s fund particularly, the sum of 177,57160.50 fraudulently posted into the institute`s cash book as payment of Hazard Allowance, but, was actually transferred to the IAR&T staff Club Account(Non-statutory account) as staff deduction and never paid to staff, and sum of N15million allegedly spent on crop harvesting.
The panels recommended among other things that these staff should be made to appear before the disciplinary panel for their roles in the acts of impropriety and misappropriation of the institute`s fund; they should be ordered to proceed on leave pending the decision of the disciplinary panel; and that the disciplinary panel should ensure that the entire institute`s fund misappropriated are refunded.
Unfortunately, since the submission of this report as well as its recommendation to Prof. Tale Omole, the OAU Vice- Chancellor who is empowered as the Chairman of the institute`s Governing board to appoint, discipline and/or remove the Director, he is yet to take any serious effort towards implementing the recommendation of these panels. Instead, he constituted a monitoring committee for the institute which will still function under the same indicted Director. To us in SPN, the continued refusal of Prof. Tale Omole to implement the report of the panels is not in any way accidental.
Few months ago, the entire activities both (Academic and non-academic) on OAU Ile-Ife campus was paralyzed for weeks by industrial actions embarked upon by both the Academic and Non-Academic staff over the allegation of impropriety and misappropriation of the university `s fund by Prof. Tale Omole. While a temporary peace has now been restored on the campus, the root cause of this face-off is yet to be resolved. This clearly explains the reason Prof. Tale Omole cannot but continue to refuse the implementation of the aforestated recommendation of these panels, especially when he is also a culprit of similar offence.
Having given this background, we commend the courage and doggedness of IAR&T workers who have resolved that only by their mass and organized actions would the implementation of these panels’ recommendations be forced. At the same, we call on the leadership of JAC to immediately consider the urgent need to give this struggle more publicity through mass rallies beyond the confine of the institute; massive production of materials like leaflets that will explain the struggle and demands to the public and media
However it is important to state that the attempt by Prof. Tale Omole to cover-up the report of the probe panel is not limited to the IAR&T. Take for instance, between 2009 and 2012 over 12trillions of Naira meant for one infrastructural development or the other (Electricity, refineries, Road etc) have been stolen by prominent Nigerian capitalist ruling elites either in politics or business, as revealed through various probe panels. While, millions of Nigeria working masses continue to bear the brunt of these looted fund via infrastructural decadence, individual members of the thieving capitalist class that were indicted through some of these probes are today freely enjoying their loot in the society.
A significant lesson that should be drawn from all this is that it is high time the Nigerian working people began to realize that corruption is synonymous to the capitalist system as well as its neoliberal policies like privatization, deregulation, liberalization etc. In light of this we of SPN hereby call on the IAR&T workers and other working people in Oyo state to join us in building SPN as a true revolutionary and working people's political party that will always be committed to the needs and aspirations of the working masses if elected into power. As parts of measure to accomplish this, all elected political office holders under the platform of SPN will receive not more than the average salary of civil servant while campaigning for the Socialist transformation of the society which entails the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy and its control and management is put under the elected representatives of the working people who will always be liable to recall.
Abiodun Bamgboye (Abbey Trotsky)
Protem State Secretary