By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
A former Provost of the College of Education, Igueben, in Edo State, has testified before the Commission of Inquiry set up to probe the activities of Colleges of Education, Ekiadolor and Igueben; Michael Imoudu College of Physical Education, Afuze; the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and the College of Agriculture, Agenebode.
The commission of Inquiry was set up by Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to investigate activities of the colleges in the last 10 years, with a view to revamping and repurposing the colleges for optimal service delivery.
Speaking at the inaugural sitting of the Commission, holding in Government House, Benin City, Chairman of the Commission and former Head of Service, Mrs. Gladys Idahor, said the commission will work assiduously to unravel issues that negatively affected the optimal operations of the institutions and make recommendations that will assist the state government to take appropriate decisions.
She noted, “The commission is not out to witch-hunt anybody but to assist Edo State Government with vital information that will help in repositioning the colleges to achieve the objectives they were set up to achieve. It is our sincere hope as a commission that this engagement will yield the desired results in the state’s effort to reposition the colleges for optimal service delivery.”
Testifying before the commission, former Provost of the College of Education, Igueben, Prof. Justus Ehigiator Ebhoaye, gave an account of financial transactions, appointments and promotions between 2006 to 2014 when he headed the college.
He testified that the management under his leadership carried out financial transactions including allocation of allowances without approval from the appropriate authority.
During cross-examination on the alleged illegal amendment of the law setting up the college which allows allowances to be paid to staff members on committees, undue promotions and salaries awarded to favour some staff without the knowledge of either the supervising ministry or the governor, he admitted that the actions were taken in ignorance.
The chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Igueben Chapter, Abiola Olatunde, while testifying before the commission, said some decisions taken by the Governing Council affected the school negatively.
He noted that even though he possessed requirements for promotion, he did not attain the required three years before he was promoted.
Other witnesses who testified before the panel at its inaugural sitting included a senior lecturer in the Department of General Education, Esther Ukpoma and Secretary of the ASUP, Ben Ali, among others.