By Yakubu Busari
Sir Joseph Ntung Ari, Director General/Chief Executive of ITF
The Industrial Training Funds (ITF) has absolved its Director General/Chief Executive, Sir Joseph Ntung Ari of the allegations of nepotism, wrongful appointments and marginalization of Muslims in the agency through what it termed “Christianisation” and “Plateaurisation” agenda levelled against him by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) in a publication titled “Investigate Mother of all Nepotism in ITF, Jos”
In a statement signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Suleyol Fred-Chagu, the ITF described the allegations by MURIC as orchestrated efforts to malign, impugn and whip up negative sentiments against the ITF and its functionaries through outright lies and calculated misinformation.
The statement described the DG as someone who does not believe in nepotism and tribalism and does not indulge in religious bigotry.
It said MURIC’s release is a sad commentary directed at a personality whose interest is to run a public institution based on the values of public trust, meritocracy and integrity.
Fred-Chagu in the statement, said, in part; ” With regards to what the group alleged to be “Christianisation” and “Plateaurisation” agenda of the DG in the ITF, we want to place on record that this is far from the truth and a product of the imagination of the writer as the recruitment exercise conducted in February, 2019 that they hinged their allegations on, followed all due processes and was co-ordinated by the Federal Character Commission, which even issued a letter of compliance to the Fund after the exercise. It must equally be noted that the DG recused himself from the examination\ interview sessions that were conducted by a panel that comprised officials of our parent ministry- the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Character Commission and the ITF Governing Council, which is headed by Alhaji Musa Gwadabe, OFR- a detribalised Nigerian among others.
MURIC further cited the constitution of the Fund’s Management to buttress its baseless accusation of ‘Christianisation’ of the Agency as only four Muslims were appointed into a fifteen-member management body during his first tenure while five are currently in the team of seventeen in his second term”. This is also sadly untrue. The reality is that as a consummate and experienced administrator, the DG has ensured that all zones are represented in management, which is the first time such has happened in the history of the organisation.
“However, it will be necessary to note that there will be disparities in the constitution of any management due to the fact that other considerations namely: seniority, merit, vacancies apart from spread of representation are factored into the process.
“It will also be necessary to remind MURIC that the ITF system is close to 50 years with a well-developed chain of command that has been structured to the point that the succession process into management has been well entrenched and embedded in the organisation such that no Chief Executive can circumvent the process and impose favoured candidates. In addition, the process involves the ITF Governing Council and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the DG, therefore, could not have sought to “Christianise” the ITF especially management, even if he wanted to.”