The Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), has urged Federal government to prevent what it described as “impending calamity” at the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER) by ensuring that Dr. Folarin Gbadebo-Smith does not return as DG/CEO of the Institute.
The Union in a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari said in his first tenure of four years, Dr Gbadebo-Smith displayed gross incompetence and financial recklessness.
The letter signed by ASURI Secretary General, Dr Theophilus Ndubuaku, was also copied to the Minister, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning; Minister of State, National Planning; The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF); Chairman, NISER Governing Council; Director General, DSS; the Chairman, EFCC and the Chairman, ICPC.
“We make bold to state that, ab initio, Dr. Gbadebo-Smith was not qualified for the position of the CEO of NISER. A Dentist by training and practice with no research degree (PhD), his appointment was an aberration, clearly in contravention of the Conditions of Service for Federal Research and Development Agencies, Institutes and Colleges,” the letter stated.
It reads further, “Besides, his lack of qualification has been grossly betrayed by his reckless display of academic and administration incompetence which are evident in the following: Non-publication of research output since 2016, which is the primary mandate of every research institute; No strategic plan document throughout his four-year tenure; Non-adherence to extant rules with regards to staff management and deployment, evident in lopsided Research staff and non-Research staff promotions without respect for the principle of seniority, selective invitation for promotion examination, improper composition of promotion panels for non-Research staff, as well as deliberate non-utilisation of capacity, among others; and deliberate refusal to use the Committee System to administer the Institute.
Others include, the systemic balkanization of Internal Audit and Accounts Divisions; Conflict of interest by the continued running of his personal businesses, by retaining his positions as Managing Director/CEO of Andchritie Research Foundation (www.dnb.com) and a Board Member of the Centre for Public Policy, among others; Willful de-marketing of NISER and NISER Staff; Four-year truancy from duty post by deliberately refusing to use the official quarters used by his predecessors, rather living in Lagos and using hotels when occasionally he breezes into Ibadan; Financial infractions and embezzlement of public funds, viz –
i. Non-prioritization of research, the core mandate of NISER; and
ii. Spurious and unverifiable research activities purportedly conducted by the Institute, just to siphon and launder money;
It also included Contract splitting and non-adherence to due process in award of contracts. The Prado Jeep purchased at the sum price of N56,000,000.00 as official car for the DG has not been seen anywhere near Ibadan since it was bought while he continues to maintain his personal car at the expense of the Institute and in recent times, uses chartered vehicles to go to Ibadan; Capital budget performance – There are more questions than answers on the 2019 and 2020 capital budget performance. And we implore the authorities to probe into these.
The Union therefore prayed that Folarin Gbadebo-Smith’s four-year tenure should be probed as a deterrent to others.