Osinbajo’s HANDPICKED NISER DG, Gbadebo-Smith ‘Running Down NISER, Sells Off N30m Generators For N700,000
There was a colossal Oil Palm institute called NIFOR which stood for Nigeria Institute For Oil Palm Research, during the glory days of NIFOR, Nigeria was the number one Oil Palm producer in the world, then countries like Malaysia sent their scientists to NIFOR to learn about the annual crop, then Malaysia put into practice what they learnt from NIFOR and just like magic, Malaysia became the number one Oil Palm producer in the world and still is.
Then the Nigerian mentality that “government thing is no man’s thing” took hold of NIFOR, the scheming, intrigues and politicking started, and like a tragedy, NIFOR started to send its own scientists to Malaysia; its erstwhile student; to learn about the annual crop.
Today, NIFOR the once world foremost Oil Palm Research facility of international repute and recognition is a very poor shadow of itself, thanks to the massive plundering and mismanagement that the facility suffered in the hands of its managers.
The Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) is another relevant research institute going down the ignoble path which NIFOR before it went, no thanks to alleged incompetence and fraud put on the doorstep of its present Director General (DG), Dr. Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, who managerial skills are said to be running down the research facility.
The Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research NISER, was established in 1906 and was instituted as an autonomous institute under the Presidency by the NISER Act No. 70 of 1977 (now Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2006 CAP 115) to serve as a Think Tank in the field of social and economic development for the country.
According to a source within the institute, since 2017 when Gbadebo-Smith took over the reigns of leadership of the institute, it has been a steady decline in everything, the institute has become a shadow of itself, according to the source, Gbadebo-Smith has been running the institute with recklessness, practically without a clue to the functions of the institute, this is because he was hand-picked by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who once served as his lawyer in a corruption allegation case.
“He has abandoned the primary purpose of NISER, which is to research and proffer solutions but what he does is that he says we should engage in people research, that we do not need to go to the field,” said the source, who has seen many DGs at NISER.
“The research we used to go on and they used to give us N500,000 for, and we would go to the field and distribute questionnaires, he now gives us N50,000 for and says all we need is to do desk research. But desk research cannot be reliable or a substitute for field research.
“If members go for conferences, in the past NISER funded them. Now, he doesn’t fund anything; you have to pay for participation in conferences and publication of your papers so everybody is discouraged.”
Before now, the facility had three massive generating plants as backup for electricity, however, these three generators that cost the Nigerian task payer about N30 million naira each to purchase were alleged to have been auctioned by Gbadebo-Smith, the allegation goes further to indict the DG of selling these generators to his cronies at N700,000 each, thus leaving the agency in darkness for long spells every day.
“The three big generators we have that service NISER, he sold all, claiming that he wants to invest in renewable energy for the agency; but if you want to go into renewables, you must first provide a substitute. The generators that were bought for N25million to 30million, they sold to their people for N700,000 each. If there is no light, nobody works at NISER. There is just one small generator that is used for the conference room and the office of the DG. As for the library and offices, if there is no light by PHCN, we all sit down idly, making small talk.
“Many members of staff now come to work only once, it is not inspiring,” the source added. Last month, a member of the management resigned because he claimed at management meetings, the DG takes all the time to talk without allowing the contributions of professors who know about the place and about research.The whole place is just upside down. Please help us expose this to the media before NISER is run aground”
All efforts to get a statement from the DG’s office have proved abortive.