Rivers State Governor Sim Fubara’s cancellation of recent recruitment concluded by his predecessor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, into the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE), Port Harcourt, has thrown over 1,700 affected members of staff in disarray even as stakeholders have started reacting to the development.
In a move betraying declaration of war with his predecessor, the Fubara administration announced the cancellation in a statement issued by the state’s Commissioner for Education, Prof. Prince Chinedu Mmom, citing irregularities in the recruitment process and disobedience to directives of management of the university.
“The Rivers State Government has observed with dismay the inconsistencies, irregularities and flagrant disobedience to the directives on the just concluded recruitment exercise at the IAUE in Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt. Therefore, the recent employment exercise conducted by the management of the university is hereby cancelled.
“All appointment letters issued and received are hereby nullified and affected persons are directed to return the letters to the office of the Registrar of the institution, and other employment-related properties such as ID Cards in their possession to the office of the Rivers State Head of Service (HoS) immediately. A proper and credible recruitment exercise shall be conducted in due course,” the statement reads.
Reacting to the development, Chairman of Rivers Civil Society Organisations (RIVSCO) said, “For us in the civil society space, we are vindicated to the extent of the irregularities cited by the government. We agree with those who say the process should be reviewed.
“The incumbent governor merely echoed what we said during the time of the exercise. Rivers people cannot forget that we raised the red flag promptly enough over the impunity of nepotism, favouritism and the flawed processes of employment at the time.
“It happened first at the Rivers State University (RSU) and the government kept deaf ears to the alarm raised before the same happened at the IAUE. There was nothing to cheer about the government just waking up from its slumber now.
“We, however, oppose the sweeping termination of appointments by fiat. We believe a committee of competent persons should be set up to review the process. Those with genuine qualifications should have their employment ratified and those who fall short done away with.”
Spokesman, Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Darlington Nwauju, said: “The cancellation of the recruitment at IAUE is a confirmation of the deceit we have always warned Rivers people about. Now, in one breath, you claim to be consolidating and in another breath, you choose to discontinue and discredit, meaning that consolidation was trumpeted to hoodwink Rivers people.
“In a state where the unemployment rate is very high, one can only imagine what becomes of those who got these jobs on merit outside of political or ethnic considerations.”
Coordinator, Niger Delta Peace Coalition, Zik Gbemre said: “It’s a bold move. However, besides the impunity in unilaterally nullifying the entire process at the detriment of those who may have earned their employment genuinely, why punish the innocent and turn a blind eye to the real offenders?
“Management of the university, which the state government accused of irregularities and disobedience to directives, is the real offender here. They should be the first to be sanctioned and we didn’t find that in the statement emanating from the state government.
“Besides, even Wike should have questions to answer. If there were irregularities, the former governor, authorised it because he approved the recruitment in defiance of alarm raised. We hope he (Fubara) will review the process in fairness to those who may have merited their employment. We are talking about throwing persons already engaged for months back into labour market.”