THE Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Dr Nureni Adeniran, has said his administration did not sack any contractor inherited from the previous administration of the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi because of the need to avoid litigation which will unnecessarily slow down work in public primary and secondary schools in the state.
Adeniran, a former Commissioner for Education, took over in June 2019 after Seyi Makinde was sworn in as governor.
In an interview with The Nation, Adeniran said his decision was based on experience as commissioner during the tenure of Adebayo Alao-Akala from 2007-2011.
The SUBEB chairman recalled that the board sacked many contractors inherited from the Rashidi Ladoja administration but that the decision led to litigations, some of which are still ongoing after about 13 years.
He said: “When you come into an administration, you inherit the assets and liabilities but the most important thing was that we inherited some projects that were initiated by the former administration which were not yet completed and that is a usual happening in the normal governmental set-up because it is not possible for a particular administration to complete everything it laid its hands on.
“The only difference is that our own approach was different to that of the last administration. I was a commissioner in the administration preceding Ajimobi’s administration. When that administration came on board, at SUBEB here, they revoked the contract that were being undertaken by some of the contractors then, which eventually led to litigation and, as we speak, some of them are still in court. That was a lesson for us. So when we came in, we did not have the mindset to take away projects from people. When it happened, contractors abandoned project sites for the fear of the unknown but as Chairman of SUBEB, I started touring the project sites in the entire 33 local governments that we have in the state and tried to reassure them that nobody is interested in taking the contracts away from them. Rather, we want them to keep doing the needful and request for their money at the appropriate time and the money will be paid.”
He further said his administration did not review contracts because there is no room for such in SUBEB regulations.
“We did not review any contract because in SUBEB there’s no room for variation. The work was at certain stage. So, we went there to see things. There are some that were almost half done, some were almost at the foundation stage, some were about to be completed, but we have been able to complete 41 models schools out of the 54 we inherited from the last administration and the remaining 13 are work-in-progress.
“We also initiated some projects and despite COVID-19 and the #EndSARS protest which slowed down our activities both in governance, business and economy, we have about 90 per cent completion of the projects that were awarded this year. We have five model schools, Methodist Primary School, Bodija; Baptist Primary school, Saja, Ogbomosho; Community Primary School, Airport, Ibadan; Muslim Grammar School, Odinjo, Ibadan and Islamic Mission School, Lagelu, Ibadan. We also have 15 blocks of four classrooms that was awarded this year and 11 have been completed,” he said.