Disquiet in ITF over abuse of office by the DG….Staff spoiling for show down

From Lateef Taiwo

Barely one year after the sack of heads of parastatal and agencies by the Tinubu administration and the appointment of Afiz Oluwatoyin Ogun, as the Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), over five years of reform by his predecessors in office is being threatened by alleged ineptitude and abuse of office.

Our checks at the headquarters of the industrial Training Funds (ITF) in Jos and corporate office in Maitama, in Abuja paint a picture of once bubbling institution going down the drain with staff morale on the edge.

The needed serene atmosphere that was being enjoyed at the ITF is gradually giving way to unwarranted and avoidable crisis as a result of the alleged highhandedness, lack of consultation and non-adherence to procedures that have become the hallmark of the new Director General of the Fund, Dr. Afiz Oluwatoyin Ogun.
The development has turned the once bubbling organisation into one of despair, just as staff morale and attitude to work have hit the lowest mark so far since the establishment of the Fund by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) in the 1970s.

Six months after his appointment and takeover of the Fund’s leadership, multiple sources in Jos and Abuja told our reporter they are aware that there are grumblings within the organisation.
These are not unconnected with the new leadership style and certain ‘reforms’ and policy tincturing that have amounted to high-level administrative missteps that have dampened the cognate mood of the personnel, and set the Fund on the course of collapsing from within.
A visit to the ITF headquarters last week showed that matters are worsening as some staff are spoiling for action. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a staff of the organisation, said the latest that has caused a scare about the future of the organisation is the internal redeployments and postings recently carried out by the new DG, Dr. Afiz Oluwatoyin Ogun.
According to the staff, “the transfers have led to queries by the Fund’s workforce’’ concerning the plans of the DG for the future of the organization.
According to the insider source, “in the latest round of transfers released on May 13, 2024, by the Administration and Human Resources Department of the agency, several top officials of the Finance and Procurement Departments were redeployed to other departments in an exercise that has been condemned by workers within the organisation as a serious infraction of the organization’s career policy”.
The redeployments indicate that “top Directors in the Finance and Accounts Department were moved to Departments other than their fields of specialization. For instance, Mr. Steve Ivarave, an ICAN chartered accountant was moved from finance and accounts to Administration and Human Resource Department to head General Services”.
The source also stated that “Yusuf Abdulmajid was moved to the Corporate Planning Department while Ibrahim Ahmed Bakori was moved to the Estate Management unit to head Project Management, while Ocheme Linus Agbo was redeployed to the Technical and Vocational Skills Training Department just as John Etim was moved from revenue to Internal Audit with no assigned portfolio”.
Forefront News checks indicated that the haphazard transfers have striped the Finance Department of competent professionals in the leadership of the division.
This was as it was gathered that the redeployment exercise was based on a pattern that is completely alien to laid down rules and career progression in addition to being inconsistent with established rules of assignments and redeployments.
Further checks indicated that on April 3, 2024, 16 officers were redeployed to various offices of the Fund.
What especially stood out in that exercise was the redeployment of the Area Manager of one of the Lagos Offices, a Senior Deputy Director, who was posted to Sokoto Area Office, where he was expected to serve under an Assistant Director who is his junior officer.
Similarly, barely two months into office in December 2023, the new Director General who is hardly on the seat, reshuffled his Management team in an exercise that effectively put square pegs in round holes in an apparent effort to entrench his tribesmen in departments perceived to be lucrative.
A source said; “in that exercise, the Director General transferred Fulera Dikki, a career Administrative officer to the Business Training Department while Suleyol Fred Chagu, a career Public Relations officer was redeployed to the Corporate Planning Department just as Chioma Ogbonna, an ICAN Chartered Accountant was moved from Revenue Inspectorate and Compliance Department to the Research and Curriculum Development Department.
When our reporter visited the ITF headquarters, there was melancholy amidst apprehension as a result of fears of more deployments in the coming weeks.
The Director General could not be reached as he was said to be away from the office even as calls to his phone did not go through.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *