The management of Edutechportal Solutions have described as unfair and abuse of due process and flagrant recklessness the recent termination of agreement between the organization and the University of Abuja currently led by its new Vice Chancellor, Professor Na’Allah and his management team.
The Media Consultant to Edutechportal Solutions Akinola Sunday in a statement made available to journalists explained that he believes the initial intention of the authorities of the University of Abuja then was probably along the line of adherence to probity in public procurement when they placed an advert in the daily trust in May, 2018, requesting for expression of interest for the deployment of student fee management portal for the University.
“At the time of the advert, the requirements were very clear, which Edutechportal Solutions met diligently, prior to a letter of engagement from the University of Abuja dated 15th March, 2019 which stated inter alia, “I wish to inform you that the university has approved your engagement as consultant for the deployment of student fee management Portal for a period of one (1) in the first instance.
“The engagement letter further stated that the main responsibilities of the consultant (Edutech Portal Service) are “stipulated in the consultancy service Agreement” Upon the receipt of this correspondence, the board of Edutech, refrained from responding immediately in the midst of reviewing the engagement letter.
“However, the subsequent correspondence by the University authorities, became a source of worry for the Board of Edutech because of the discrepancies in the further letter reminding Edutech that the University was yet to receive their acceptance letter on the said engagement. This letter written by one Prof. Kolawole attempted to vitiate the one from the same office of the UniAbuja
registrar on the same subject matter.
“The letter signed by Professor A.A Kolawole in the capacity of Chairman, Ad-Hoc committee to review Terms of Contract on behalf of the Registrar had a different tone.
“A bemused Edutechportal Solutions, worried about the Propriety of the originality of a letter with a photocopied signature of one Prof. A. A Kolawole supposedly emanating from the office of the Registrar wrote to seek for clarification on the status of the letter.
Mr Falode said It was at this point and sequel to the appointment of Prof. Na’Allah that the patient issues of impropriety began to unfold adding that It was on the basis of the framework that Edutechportal submitted its Technical and Financial bid.
He stated that a letter conveying approval of engagement and an authorization to commit resources to development and deployment of the bespoke Automated Booking and Allocation Hostel Management system on global cloud servers, amidst others ensured that Edutech started to commit resources and equipment.
He also disclosed that prior to this, the consultant had submitted a draft memorandum of understanding to the University, the MOU was discussed, reviewed and agreed upon even though the university lawyer at that point strongly observed that the MOU may be unenforceable due to the contract between the nature and enormity of service and the duration of engagement.
He added that with reference to the propriety of Kolawole’s letter, the suspicion of foul play arose as a result of the difference in the version of the letters written and signed by Mrs. Laraba Agnes on behalf of the Registrar and the letter of engagement signed by the University Registrar herself, Mrs. Rifkatu Hoshen Swanta.
Mr Falode further explained that a funny twist to this anomaly is the fact that both letters had the same reference number, address and date, but the Registrar’s letter version variated the terms of the original letter which was sent by the university to the consultant in the first instance.
“While the original letter forwarded to the consultant stipulated an initial one year, the version signed by the the registrar stipulated one year period finality for the engagement of the consultant, while professor Kolawole’s letter made it emphatically clear that the Council of the University of Abuja had decided to engage the information Technology Management Services (ITMS) of the University for the same deployment of student fee management portal in nine months. Stating that the decision had to be factored into the new arrangement and terms of contract.
The Representative in the statement said in seeking clarification on Professor Kolawole’s status, Edutech was anxious that a surreptious move was indeed in place to circumvent the transparent process that led to its emergence as preferred consultant.
He said though, the vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof M.U Adikwu and the managing Director of Edutech signed the MOU. This MOU had been in the custody of the University lawyer since June 2019; while the lawyer also informed Edutech portal solutions that he received information that he should remove some portions of the signed MOU before handing over a copy to Edutech.
“Despite conflicting and inconsistent directives from different levels of authority, the consultant, Edutech was still able to deliver on its mandate.
“Aside from generating over N44m from undergraduate fees only on the first day of transaction, it generated over N500m by the end of the first month.
He disclosed the consultancy firm has without building new hostels generated for the university about N67m on hostel bed spaces, a surplus of 47M as compared to what the university used to collect. The university effectively recorded the highest level of registration in the period. From the meagre N350m for a full academic year on its old portal, It has has been able to generate over N750m for the 2018/2019 session undergraduate school fees only.
“Hence, it is painful and worrisome that a Nigerian Educational Technology firm that diligently followed due process and performed a feat of generating over 450 million naira (about half a billion naira) in one year as extra IGR through its fee portal for a federal university sitting in the federal capital territory could be treated as inconsequential despite the audit history of the university.
“While it appeared that the erstwhile vice chancellor acted in good faith and actually forced the Director’s arms to do what was right and proper, the emergence of Prof. Na’Allah as Vice Chancellor in July, 2019 has titled the odds in favour of the Director of Computer Center whose agenda from the beginning of the process was not to follow the spirit and letters of the agreement originally prepared and reviewed by both parties.
“In a season when adherence to due process has become the mantra, and the economic agenda of the government to promote investment and business in line with international best standards, the attitude of the authorities of University of Abuja amounts to deceit, illegality and to all intents and purposes, fraudulent. It is a clear testimony of discouraging the Nigeria investor from engaging in legitimate business. In this instance, Edutechportal solutions with very good intentions to do business in line with acceptable corporate governance standards has now been caught in the web of the greed and fraudulent abuse of office by principal officers of the University of Abuja.
Mr Falode said In an attempt to seek redress, the Board of Edutech had written to the Governing Council of the university to complain and get justice. Similarly, Attorneys to Edutech, Lanre Falola & Co. had also written to the Vice Chancellor, to demand the execution of the agreement between the consultant and University of Abuja.
Meanwhile all effort by Nigeria Alert reporter to speak to those involved from the University to get their sides of the agreement proved abortive as they refused to pick their calls and not also responded to messages.
One of those concerned, Mr Osanaiye when picked his call directed the reporter to the University Public Relation Officer who after his line was picked promised to call back but has not called while messages to his phone were also not responded.