By Oluwasegun Abifarin and Olawale Abideen, with supports of HEDA

Quadri: Provost, Kwara state School of Nursing, Oke-Ode

THE Kwara State College of Nursing, Sciences and Midwifery, Oke Ode, in Ifelodun Local Government Area of the State was designed to be “a center of excellence in training academically sound and polyvalent Nurses who will uphold quality Nursing practice.”

To achieve this, the School aspires to “promote excellence in clinical and community based nursing practice and research and to produce sets of students who are academically sound, morally and professionally impeccable.”

Advertised requirement for the Provost of the Nursing School 

As laudable as the vision stands, not a few stakeholders in and outside the school agree today that the Nursing school has been wounded and the pregnancy of producing “sets of academically sound, morally and professionally impeccable” may have been aborted by the current ‘midwife’ in charge of the institution.

Helen: alleged super student

When the post of the Provost of the School became vacant in 2022, the institution, put up an advertisement signed by the Registrar, Mrs. Titi Salman Wopa, in the State owned Herald Newspaper of 12 August, 2022, requesting qualified candidates to apply.

One star requirement was that “Candidates applying for this position must possess a Degree in Nursing from any recognized University.” This requirement is also in tandem with that of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and even that of the State Register of Laws.

Specifically, the state Register of Laws states that “a person to be appointed as Provost shall hold a university degree in Nursing; a registered member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and must have a background in academics with at least, 20 years work experience.”

After two months of applicants’ interviews and screening, Mr. Abdulquadri Olarewaju was appointed as the new Provost for the College on 12 October, 2022. His emergence as the Provost has since sparked a huge fire of controversy accompanying by huge storms of allegations of corruption, impunity and maladministration.

Stakeholders were quick to point out that Mr. Olarewaju is the least qualified to lead the School because he did not meet the major and crucial requirement of a Degree in Nursing. In his application letter dated 12 August, 2022, Olanrewaju wrote that he “has done various professional and administrative courses that qualified me for the post…”

In the Curriculum Vitae attached, Olanrewaju, born on 26 May 1952, said he had M.sc Nursing (In View) from Lincoln University College, Malaysia. He also said his B.Sc Nursing programme is still “on-going” at the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.

His other qualifications submitted include B.Sc (Education), Health Education obtained from Ekiti State University in 2002; Psychiatry Nursing certificate from College of Education, Akoka, Lagos, 1982; General Nurse certificate from College of Nursing, Ilorin, 1979; HND, Public Administration from KwaraPoly,1974 and WASC from Omupo Grammar School, Omupo, 1972.

Previous positions held include being the HOD, Behavioural Sciences Department and Vice Principal, both in the School of Nursing, Ilorin, Kwara State. His major Referee was Mrs Harriet Adenike Afolabi, Kwara State Commissioner for Solid Minerals.

Apart from Afolabi, his Referee, the Provost is said to be highly connected and very close to the immediate past Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Dr. Alabi Afees Abolore.

According to sources in the school, the controversy over the qualification of the Provost actually delayed the accreditation of the School by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria before it was “resolved.”

The cloudy qualification of the Provost has also opened a shower of petitions to the various arms of government from staff and concerned stakeholders of the College.

In one of the petitions by the “Concerned Stakeholders”, sent to the Speaker of the Kwara House of Assembly, the petitioners maintained that their petition was follow-up to an earlier one submitted to the office of the Speaker, accusing the Provost of “forgery, corruption, abuse and misuse of office.”

They insisted that the “corruption “involved has affected all aspects of the college, adding that “both set 9 and 10 students are the major victims and as many of them paid directly to the Provost personal account – (Quadri Olanrewaju: 22 71 71 30 17) domiciled at FCMB.

They added that the said payment runs into millions of naira and that the Provost also instruct one Habib Yaru, the College ICT official to clear all of them, saying this is against Chapter 7, section 713 of the Nigeria Financial Regulations, which forbids payment of government money into personal account.

They equally restated the fact that the Mr. Olanrewaju is not qualified to even apply as the College Provost because he did not meet the major requirement of the Nursing Council and the College Act, which is a Degree in Nursing.

They also alleged that , “information reaching us is that the Provost has been withdrawing funds in millions from the school to bribe stakeholders handling the case in the office of the SSG, the HOS and in the Ministry of Tertiary Education.”

While calling on the Provost to resign and refund all the school fees and illegal payment made to him, they call on the state government to demand for the bank statement of the College from October 22 to date.

Aside the one sent to the Speaker, another petition titled “Unpleasant Situation in the College Needs Urgent Attention,” by “Concerned Staff” was sent to the office of the SSG, Professor Mamman Saba Jibril and was received on 8 December, 2023. The group alleged that since Mr. Olanrewaju resumed, we have witnessed open confrontation between him and the staff.

The also alleged that the “provost has diverted the College Staff salary to his own personal interest to facilitate his recommendation during the period of the accreditation exercise.”

They also accused the Provost of using personal account to enroll students through an account: Yaru Habib – 20 70 34 45 89, domiciled at UBA.

In another petition to the Governor through the office of the SSG, titled: “How effort by Gov. Abdulrazaq to reform and salvage Tertiary education has been undermined/sabotaged by the ministry of Tertiary Education in the State”, the petitioners said “in the light of the foregoing we also draw your attention on how Mr. Quadri Olarenwaju has been running the college of Nursing Oke-Ode as a private organization. In terms of:

i. Collection of school fees and student indexing fees into his personal account (2271713017 FCMB) Account Name Quadri Olarenwaju Lamidi, Sir money running into millions naira has been paid into the above account, in different category, we have those student and parents that paid N90,000 each, N20,000 each, 50,000 and 30 each.

ii. Alteration of students results and secretly writing exams in his office for students called Sanusi Damilare 2022/1124 set 9, which she was presently leaving outside country and also favouring his friends and cronies as well as highest bidders e.g. students involved are (a) 2022/049 Jimoh Mariam Set9 (b) 2022/115 Durosimi Hadrat Ayomide (c) 2022/094, set 9 Olayiwola Aliyah Oluwapelumi, these above students failed the set 9 promotion exams and the provost went ahead to alter their results in their favour which generated an out-cry from others students who are asked to repeat.”

They added that “during 2023 NpTs/Promotional Exam of Set 9 students, the consultant handling the college official portal was at the college to submit the list of the students that have paid school fees and those that yet to pay, (as the payment of school fees is the only means to clear students to be eligible to write exam).

“But, to the dismay of everyone, the provost claimed that those students came from Deputy Governor, and Hon. Owolabi but during the course of interaction with the students, they confessed that they paid to the Provost account directly (2271713017, FCMB – Quadri Olarenwaju Lamidi). Sir, for more clarification here is the contact number of the consultant (08038326955).”

They equally alleged that “the then Commissioner of Tertiary Education; Dr. Hafeez Abolore and the Chairperson Governing Board; Hajia Ibrahim Mariam actually misled the masses-Governor to approve the appointment of an unqualified candidate (Mr. Quadri Olarenwaju Lamidi) as the Provost.”

They disclosed that the woman that came second during the interview and screening process has BNSC in Nursing, PhD in Nursing and was short-change because she was not ready to play ball with officials of the Ministry.

Investigation at the school also reveal that the impunity in the College got to a head when two students allegedly working for the Provost clashed over “collection of fess”. The students: Ojuyemi Hellen Kikelomo and Agboola Itunu Abigael actually had a brawl and College set up a panel to investigate the circumstances. At the panel’s sitting, Hellen, said be “very close” to the Provost became very unruly and eventually destroyed the evidence of the case stored on her phone.

At the end of the sitting, it was Itunu that was suspended, when Hellen, said to be a “Super Student” in the College, was left off the hook.

Sources at Oke Ode also told our team that immediately after Mr. Olanrewaju was appointed, he terminated the contract appointment of the most experienced lecturers who are his contemporaries, and has been running the school on solely his ideas. They said he has also refused to pay the N30, 000 minimum wage, despite the fact the State government had instructed that all tertiary institutions in the State should comply.

When our team met Mr. Olanrewaju in Ilorin with all these allegations against him, the 72 year old man went down on his two kneels begging to present his side of the story. It took a lot of persuasion and threat of not listening to him while on his kneels before he sat on the chair.

He presented all his certificates attached to his application, though there was no Bachelor of Nursing Certificate, except the “In-View” from Malaysia and “On-going” from NOUN.

He also claimed the money found in his personal account was as a result of a help he did to a student who could not access the College portal on time. He equally denied any amorous relationship with Hellen, saying she was the “wife to his friend, who is abroad.”

Investigation also revealed that after the petition to the governor, he actually minuted and sent a memo to the SSG for an investigation and recommendation.
The SSG Office thereafter invited some officials of Ministry of Tertiary Education for hearing in the matter

Curiously, the “committee”, made up of some Directors in the SSG Office and officials of the Ministry of Tertiary Education decided to “pardon him and allow him to finish his tenure”.

Highly placed sources close to the panel said at the office of the SSG, instead of them to investigate the matter which Is Corruption and Qualification, they only ask the College Management to sign an MOU promising to work together, leaving the main reason why the committee was constituted.

The MOU was thereafter handed to the three Management Officers of the College.

The Provost therefore got a clean bill of health, both in the areas of his qualification and corruption from the committee, arguing that money was paid into his personal account because the College portal was down, without asking him to show evidence of how the money was later paid into the College account.

Sources hinted our team that in all the sittings of the panel, they asked the Provost to present his statement of account, but he refused, but instead, resorted to begging the Panel.

Not a few stakeholders across the State are peeved by the turn of event, expressing their disappointment at the way the issues were swept under the carpet of politics.

Opposition elements who spoke with our team berated the governor for not showing enough interest in the matter and allowing the Ministry officials to mislead him. They maintained that the clean bill given to the Provost represents the enthronement of incompetence, mediocrity and corruption in the State and an axe on the neck of the culture/legacy of integrity cherished by all Kwarans.

Attempts to speak to the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye were not successful. Calls and text messages sent to his phone and wattsapp numbers were not responded to.

At the Ministry of Tertiary Education, the Public Relations Officer, Alhaja Kanike asked our team to “write our request on our company’s letter headed paper and bring it back to her before we can get any response to our questions.”

But the new Honourable Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Dr (Mrs) Mary Ronke Arinde explained to our team that the issue of the Provost preceded her tenure and that the issue had been before the House of Assembly where the Provost was invited and questioned before the latest committee which sat and the cleared the Provost.

* This investigation is with the support of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption crusade group.

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