Fresh facts have emerged on the sacking of Prof. ‘Dibu Ojerinde as the Registrar/Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board by the Federal Government.
It was learnt that Ojerinde has long been penciled down for sack by government because of his ‘fight’ and disagreement with the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, over the 2016 admission exercise into Universities and other tertiary institutions.
Their disagreement was said to have deepened after the cancellation of the Post-Universities Tertiary Matriculation Examination by the Minister.
Several calls, SMS and WhatsApp messages to Ojerinde for response to his sack were not replied as his phones have been permanently switched off.
Adamu was said to have waited for an opportunity to clean up the education sector where many other chief executives would be affected.
“For us, the removal of Ojerinde as Registrar/Chief Executive of JAMB did not come as a surprise. The Minister is very smart because he knew he was dealing with a Professor. What Adamu did was to wait for an opportunity when many CEOs would be involved.
“If Ojerinde had been sacked earlier, it would be seen to be politically-motivated. But now that many of them were affected, nobody can read politics into it”, a source in the Education Ministry who pleaded anonymity stated.
Another source gave a detailed explanation on the cold war that had been brewing between Ojerinde and Adamu.
He said, “After the cancellation of the Post-UTME, it was clearly stated that admissions will be based on the three criteria of Merit, Catchment and Educationally Less Developed States. Since there is no Post-UTME, after sending them the bigger list, what Ojerinde did was, to prepare a list that reflected these three criteria.
“Nobody knows what the authorities of Universities told the Minister and based on whatever they may have told him, Adamu advised him to withdraw the list in his own interest. Ojerinde is another stubborn person, especially if he knows he is very right in what he is doing. He declined and refused to withdraw it.
“After examinations, JAMB usually sent print out to the Universities. JAMB sent a bigger print out. But after agreement that admissions will be based on the three criteria, JAMB sent out a smaller print out which reflected the three criteria. The Universities were not happy that JAMB conducted admissions. If you look at the Act establishing JAMB, it empowers JAMB to conduct admissions.
“But the Universities are saying the University Act empowers the Senate to conduct admissions. But the Act establishing JAMB has not been repealed. When you make a law, it doesn’t automatically overpower it. You either repeal it or retain with but say without prejudice the other. So, there is so much confusion.”
Our correspondent learnt that sensing danger Ojerinde, decided to withdraw the list of candidates that was sent to the Universities and assuage the temper of the Minister.
“But it was very late, Ojerinde should have withdrawn it earlier. This was just the cause of their disagreement. Despite the protest from Vice Chancellors, the Minister was solidly behind him during the cancellation of the Post-UTME.
“If he had withdrawn it, I can tell you that Ojerinde would have escaped the tsunami which shook the education sector on Monday because he did very well in JAMB, especially with the introduction of Computer-Based Test”, the source stated.
When contacted, a senior Director in the Education Ministry who spoke on the condition of anonymity said “Ojerinde disobeyed ministerial directive and if you call that fighting, that is your own interpretation.”
Our correspondent reports that Ojerinde had withdrawn the list of recommended candidates for admission earlier sent to Universities and other tertiary institutions.
The announcement was contained in a terse statement by the spokesperson of JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjmin.
According to him, the decision was to ensure that the Senate of Universities perform their statutory responsibility of conducting the selection of candidates and refer it to JAMB for confirmation in line with the admission criteria of merit, catchment and educationally disadvantaged states as directed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, during the policy committee meeting.
Benjamin had said the earlier list was sent to help fasttrack the process of admission so as to allow other tiers of institutions also conduct their admission.
“Candidates should not panic because this is part of the process of the 2016 admission exercise. JAMB regrets any inconvenience this decision would have caused the tertiary institutions”, he had stated.
Ojerinde, had given conditions for the 2016 admission saying it would only give approval “after appropriate screening of the candidates by the institutions.”
He had said, “JAMB wishes to state that the latest list of candidates sent to all the tertiary institutions contains candidates who qualified for screening based on the individual institutions capacity. It’s not in any way an admission list.
“However, if this list is not sufficient for the need of any institution, such institution can source from the omnibus printout earlier sent to them by the Board. The public and all tertiary institutions should note that admission will only be approved by the board after appropriate screening of the candidates by the institutions.
“The list which is made up of candidates who met the national cut-off point within the set criteria are sent to the institutions. Again, for purposes of clarity, all institutions that have need for more can source from their omnibus printout as stated above. The candid intention of the Board is to ensure that available spaces are adequately utilised.”