This is the full text of a Press Conference Addressed by Amb. Agbonkpolor Splendour, Executive Director/National Coordinator Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria and Allied Civil Society Groups on Composition of NECO Directors: Let set the Record Straight
The Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria is duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission with the mandate of evaluating the performance of public office holders to ensure it is in tandem with the parameters of transparency, accountability and probity for overall economic growth and national development. Moreso, we work with allied Civil Society groups to promote good governance and quality leadership at all strata of public service.
For every nation in the world that has attained the status of development from underdevelopment, there is a recurring decimal of putting round pegs in round holes to drive institutions and machinery of governance and Nigeria can be no exception.
Over the years Nigeria has stalled in the push for attaining due to massive corruption fueled by gross incompetence of those saddled with responsibility of managing the institutions that should deliver public service goods for the benefit of the teeming populace.
It is pertinent to point out that no nation in human history develops beyond the quality of its education system, which ought to produce the much needed manpower to drive the political economy and other areas of national life.
Conscious of the mandate of advocating for a sanitized public sector with a greater focus on the education sector, in today’s knowledge driven world, the Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria has beamed its searchlight on the education sector to assess the state of affairs of this all important sector and to ensure that much needed reforms are instituted for the benefit of posterity.
In the course of carrying out our independent assessment tour we found a needless issues brewing in the National Examination Council (NECO) which ought to be addressed even as we work on coming up with a comprehensive report to guide our advocacy at the highest levels of government.
The position of Director of Finance and Administration of NECO recently became vacant and a suitably qualified and experienced candidate duly appointed to fill up the position, has left a bad taste in the mouth of another officer who wanted the appointment for himself.
The disgruntled officer in question, in the person of one Dr. Jacob Ekele, rather than focusing on serving in the office he currently holds, has been dedicating his energy to push for his candidature for a position that is not filled by election but appointment based on qualifications and relevant experience.
There is a need to set the records straight to avoid a situation where a no issue is escalated to the point of scuttling the smooth operations of Nigeria’s premier examination and certification body. The Directors’ positions in NECO are appointed based on two criteria:
Academic qualification coupled with suitability in character and temperament of potential candidates.
Spread of Geo-political zones to reflect federal character.
On the issue of academic qualifications the current occupant of the office, Mr. Olure, has a First degree in Accounting, Masters in Business Administration.
He has also served in accounts for several years and is a chartered Accountant under ANAN and a chartered tax practitioner under the CITN, while Dr. Ekele holds a First Degree in Business Education and Masters Degree in Education and has never served in accounts all through his career to date.
On the point of Federal character, NECO already has two directors from Dr. Ekele’s Geo-political zone and adding another would unfairly distort the even spread of directors across all Geo-political zones of Nigeria, putting NECO management in contravention of the law and under the hammer of the Federal Character Commission’s discipline.
We urge Dr. Ekele to desist from further distracting the management of NECO and smearing its credentials and wisdom in such a straightforward matter as the appointment of a Director of Finance and Accounts. Dr. Ekele must at all times be conscious of the sensitive nature of his position as a civil servant and continue to serve diligently and selflessly so he can get a reward and higher appointment in the nearest future.
We urge our indefatigable and incorruptible minister of education to carry on his cleanup of education in this country and ignore distractions and detractors who will continue to attempt to put the spanner in his works under the guise of creating crisis even in straightforward issues.
The days of impunity in public service are well and truly over in Nigeria and Dr. Ekele should be called to order or be made to face the consequences of his insubordination in the interest of the larger reforms being carried out in education today.
We commend the efforts of the current government under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, that is sanitizing all aspects of our national life, through the anticorruption war and pledge our continued support for that war in the instrumentality of our position and power as citizens and societal watchdog in Nigeria.
We join the government in having zero tolerance for mischief makers in all sectors and strata of Nigeria and continue to admonish our compatriots to maintain decorum and patience as the administration continues to carry out the surgical operation Nigeria urgently needs.
Long live the Federal republic of Nigeria!
*Amb. Agbonkpolor Splendour is the Executive Director/National Coordinator of Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria.