ITF: Coalition passes vote of confidence on Ari, dismisses MURIC’s nepotism allegation

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The Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law (CGGRL) has passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) under Sir Joseph Ari for entrenching transparency and accountability in operations. 

The group, at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, refuted the allegations of nepotism by the Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) against the Executive Secretary, describing it as unsubstantiated and lacking in merit. 

In his address, National President /Convener, Comrade Isaac Ikpa, said the Muslim group, in its typical manner, is out to cause an unnecessary distraction in the operations of the agency in an attempt to malign Sari’s character. 

According to Ikpa, MURIC mistook the ITF for a religious organisation where religious considerations should be the yardstick for employment as against experience, qualification and suitability. 

Ikpa noted that the ITF carries out its employment in line with the federal character principle, hence there is no iota of favouritism or nepotism as being speculated.

The coalition, however, urged the general public to disregard MURIC’s statement for lacking in objectivity to cause unnecessary tension in the polity. 

Read the full statement below:

The leadership of the Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law welcomes you all to this press conference convoked to set the record straight with regards to the allegations of nepotism against the Executive Secretary of the Industrial Training Fund, Sir, Joseph Ari in the operations of the ITF in Nigeria. 

As a start, the allegation of nepotism in the ITF is an attempt by MURIC to cause an unnecessary distraction in the operations of the agency in an attempt to malign the character of the executive secretary, who has been reputed to have entrenched a regime of transparency and accountability in the operations of the ITF since he assumed office. 

The Coalition for Good Governance and Rule in its numerous engagements with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in the country indeed finds it worrisome that MURIC would elect to turn the truth on its head in a most brazen and despicable manner. 

We are constrained to add our voice to this narrative for the fact that the allegations are unsubstantiated. The allegations are also lacking in merit because it is obvious from all indications that MURIC relied on hearsays before making its position known in the public space. 

MURIC for inexplicable reasons alleged that 487 staff employed by the Executive Secretary of ITF in 2019, only 90 were Muslims and that this is just 18.48 per cent, while Christians were 81.52 per cent.

This is not only uncharitable, it is also an indication that the leadership of MURIC is not in tune with reality and the operational structure of the ITF that emphasizes meritocracy due to the sensitivity of its operations. 

It is our considered view that MURIC mistook the ITF for a religious organization where religious considerations should be the yardstick for employment as against experience, qualifications, and suitability for the job. 

It’s succinct to add that the Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law has on several occasions continuously tasked agencies of government on good governance and the rule of law and it is instructive to state that the ITF remains one of the agencies of government that has displayed a high level of compliance to the extant laws guiding its operations, including recruitment at all cadres. 

It is also on record that the ITF as an agency boast of a cosmopolitan workplace where there are mutual respect and understanding amongst staffer, all courtesy of the leadership style of the Executive Secretary, who is a known apostle of creating a level playing ground for all devoid of religious or ethnic considerations.   

We are also aware that the ITF Board is known to have carried out its employment in line with the federal character principle and there is no iota of favouritism or nepotism as being speculated. We believe that MURIC was misled into its hasty conclusion without carrying out a detailed investigation. We, therefore, implore a respected organization like MURIC to do some research before making public statements on petitions before it and will encourage MURIC to continue to carry out its roles as a respected civil society organization, or at the risk of been labelled as a tool for inciting religious tension in the country. 

We wish to inform MURIC, that the said recruitment exercise of 2019 followed all due processes and was coordinated by the Federal Character Commission, which even issued a letter of compliance to the ITF after the exercise. Unless MURIC wants to state that the Federal Character Commission as an organization is populated by Christians and responsible for giving backing to a supposed lopsided recruitment exercise. 

This is indeed a sad episode in the sense that the actions of MURIC are capable of misleading unsuspecting members of the general public into believing that the ITF is a religious intolerant organization and the attendant consequences in the polity. It consequently behoves MURIC to be circumspect in its public utterances especially on issues it is ignorant of in the interest of peace and stability in Nigeria.  

The Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law wishes to state that the ITF under the leadership of Sir, Joseph Ari has complied with all the necessary due process and we unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the ITF. 

We are using this medium to call on members of the general public to kindly disregard the statement by MURIC for it is lacking in objectivity and meant to cause unnecessary tension in the polity. 

This is on the heels that under the leadership of Sir, Joseph Ari, the ITF has recorded tremendous success in its operations in fulfilment of its mandate to set, regulate training standards and provide need-based human capital development interventions using corps of highly competent professionals in line with global best practices.

We must all agree that the allegations of nepotism by MURIC remain a figment of the imagination and must be disregarded by all well-meaning Nigerians.