Between the Rector and Bursar of the nation’s premier college of technology, there has been no love lost as fraud allegations and counter-allegations between them have been rocking the college until the police stepped in and restored some sanity, writes Titus Eleweke
Yaba College of Technology (YABTACH), the country’s premier college of technology has been reeling from years of fraud allegations resulting in moments of horse-trading, accusations and counter accusations, indictments, clearance and re-indictments. In the fraud arena are the Bursar, Mr Olu Ibirogba and Rector, Mrs. Dr. Margaret Ladipo. In the beginning, the Bursar, Ibirogba who was suspended according to college management for gross misconduct had earlier petitioned the Inspector –General of Police, Abubakar Abba, the former Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekaru and the Economic, and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), accusing the Rector, Dr. (Mrs.), Margret Ladipo of financial mismanagement and recklessness .
According to Ibirogba, the rector had allegedly stolen over N2billion in the last five years of her administration, saying that she had collected over 20 million in the last years for foreign trips she never embarked upon. He also accused the rector of using a proxy company, Spicy Nigerian limited and others to execute most projects in the college, including collecting N60m security vote every year, in spite of the fact that the college has over 150 security staff and Director of State security (DSS) and police on the pay roll of the college.
He also accused the rector of flouting laid down rules for the award and execution of contract. The Governing Council of the college has however stepped into the matter to bring sanity to the institution. Chairman of the Council, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, dismissed the allegations by the Bursar, describing him as a pathological liar. Addressing Journalists on the allegations in the company of other council members and the Rector recently, Ebenezer said Ibirogba’s aim is to discredit the good works of the rector and the college’s governing council. He said that the council was pleased with the manner and the way Dr. Ladipo led administration has been managing the resources of the college and passed a vote of confidence on her.
According to him, the college has witnessed more development under the present administration than any other administration in the history of the institution. He said that the management of Yabtech has been very exceptional. ‘I am saying this without mincing word, the rector Mrs. Ladipo is asset to the nation and the college’. He said that the immediate Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekaru had once described the rector as great practitioner of management by objective and great financial manager who achieved much with little funding .
The council chairman said the commendations from these stakeholders further proved that what is happening in the college was based purely on merit and equity ,and also an indication that every contract awarded went through due process. According to him, Lapido administration has made enough inroads in the institution’s academic activities, by getting approval from National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), to increase carrying capacity and expanding access to higher education for Nigerian youth. “Dr. Margret Ladipo six years tenure has practically changed the face of Yabatech from colonial architecture to modern edifices and from largely bungalow buildings to skyscrapers.
In spite of her huge contributions to national development ,we are aware that there has been a campaign of calumny against her person and attempt to redirect attention from her leadership prowess ,all efforts to bring down the college from front seat through falsehood and character assassinations in the press. The former Bursar of the college who is behind the spiteful and vengeful campaign is in court, and the court has ruled that status quo ante is observed.
He has continued to provoke the publications of venom against the college and its leadership based on share liars, an evil machinations’’ he said. He denied allegations that he used his position as chairman of the governing council to get some of his children and relatives employment in the college and fraudulently receiving N70 million from the rector, he said that at his age he does not need that kind of money and none of his children is working in the institution .
“I don’t think I need that kind of money at the age of 72.When I was minister, I was never corrupt and nobody had accused me of corrupt practices and I wonder why at this age I will start to be corrupt. The boy is a liar “he said. In her reaction, the Rector, Dr. Ladipo said on assumption of office in December, 10 2009, one of the first thing she did was to embark on funding drive having met a lot of abandoned projects. She said: “While I have committed myself to doing my work, I have crossed the path of some people whose selfish and inimical designs were not in consonance with my development efforts and vision for the college. They have seen me as a stumbling block that must be removed at all cost.
This is what informed the campaign off calumny against me by these people, and sadly, I have had to contend with these distractions since 2013’’ According the Rector, in the last six years, the college Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) has increased just as the number of projects that has been executed in the college so far has increased. On the N60 million security votes, she said that money was meant for intelligence gathering, saying that it was not only Yabatech that has security challenges, others around collect security votes too.
“We have over 20,000 students, this money is used to protect staff and students and it is not for personal use “she added. She denied stealing over N2billion in the last five years and asked rhetorically, “Where could I have gotten that kind of money? I don’t think the college has that kind of money.” According to the statement signed by CSP, Ibrahim Bako, the evidence shows that the vital witness who were staff of the college who the Police at the General Investigation Department, Alagbon, invited for questioning were harassed ,intimidated and cowed to execute statement under duress in favour of the former Bursar.
The report also said that the allegation against the Rector by the former Bursar should be treated as trivial, frivolous, false and lacking in credibility and recommended that he be charged to court. Speaking with The UNION, Mr. Ulo Ibirogba, the Bursar, disclosed that police at the Alagbon only investigated one out of the several cases against the Rector, while the Council Chairman, Babatope used his connection to get the police in Abuja to do his bidding. He said: “It was politically done, let them charge me to court and prove their findings’’.
He said that, if the police were sincere with their findings, why have they not arrested him for giving false information?. He said that the cases are still with the EFFC and the Ministry of Education and they should be allowed to investigate the case. According to him, since the chairman has compromised himself and working to protect the Rector on the alleged gross mismanagement, there is need for an independent committee to investigate case.
He said that for the case to be effectively investigated, both the governing council and the rector should be asked to step down because they have been using the college resources to buy justice. He queried ‘’How can a police officer investigating a case come to the Rector’s office and drink tea? She lodges them in hotel, give them transport money, and you expect them to do an unbiased investigation.? You when they want information from me as the complainant they will ask me to come to Abuja and when they want from the Rector they will come to her office in Lagos, and she will bankroll their expenses, what kind of investigation is that? ’’. He urged the federal ministry of education and EFCC to take up the case and properly investigate them and charge any person found questionable to court.
Another staff of the college who was sacked in the crisis , Mr. Adedeji Bashorun of the account department said that he was sacked by the management because they believed he was close to the bursar.
“Somebody told me that Rector said I should fight the bursar but I told the person that they should settle their problems on their own “he said.
As things stand now, the case seems closed except Ibirogba continues to push his case and prove his allegation beyond reasonable doubt. For now, the college council and the police has given Dr Ladipo a clean bill of health.