How Shilgba became casualty of NABTEB probe
The Chairman of the Governing Board of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board, NABTEB, Prof Leonard Shilgba, has been sacked following a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for immediate dissolution of the board.
Buhari’s directive was contained in a statement issued last Monday by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arch. Sonny Echono, which also directed the Minister of Education to take immediate measures to reposition and refocus NABTEB for greater efficiency and to render its performance more responsive to the expectations of the present administration.
“The purported suspension of the Registrar, Prof. Ifeoma Abanihe and four (4) other Directors of NABTEB has been nullified as it did not conform to due process especially in the case of the Registrar, because the Board went beyond its powers and in contravention of Section 5 and Section 6 of NABTEB Act,” the statement said.
Although Shilgba has challenged his sack as the handiwork of the Ministry of Education without the consent of President Buhari, he appeared to have overreached his powers when he proceeded to indefinitely suspend the Registrar of the exam body, Prof. Ifeoma Isuigo-Abanihe.
Recall that since his assumption of office on March 22, 2018, the embattled board chairman had undauntedly dissipated so much energy to look into the books of the organisation in a bid to right the wrongs and reposition it.
In May, Shilgba issued an extensive statement naming the sins of Isuigo-Abanihe between 2017 and 2018, under the scathing headline “charges against the Registrar/Chief Executive of National Business and Technical Examinations Board, NABTEB.”
He alleged that evidence from the nominal roll submitted by the Registrar to the Chairman on April 13, 2018, which she marked “Appendix 10b”, showed that the Registrar illegally recruited staff, between December 19, 2017 and January 15, 2018, without advertising the vacancies and clearance from the Federal Ministry of Education.
Following an investigative panel report over the alleged breaches, the board suspended Isuigo-Abanihe and four NABTEB directors over irregularities in contract awards, amounting to about N49,779,000 which the registrar could not account for.
Shilgba insists that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and the Permanent Secretary, Echono, were briefed on all the corruption investigations done by the board but they chose not to act.
“Since the inauguration, the Governing Board of NABTEB has taken steps to “reposition and refocus NABTEB for greater efficiency, and render its performance more responsive to the expectations of the present administration” rather than what we met on ground, where NABTEB was being run on a deficit, votes for Examination monitoring shared by greedy people, contract sums paid for no job done, contracts inflated, senior NABTEB staff owing millions of naira of unremitted Examination registration fees, staff oppressed and suspended indefinitely for years, with no closure, staff payroll raided, salaries arbitrarily deducted, external auditors bribed to cover unsavory finds, integrity of Examinations compromised, and public awareness of the agency was low.
“Maybe we are momentary victims of truth and uprightness, but ultimate victory is with the upright; maybe we are too uncompromising,” he said.