By Felix Khanoba
Progressives in Academics (Pro-Acad), a good governance think-tank that championed the 2019 re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari has been hit by a major crisis.
The crisis, which is threatening the soul of the group, has already resulted in the emergence of two factions, one led by Dr Bolaji Bolarinwa and the other superintends by Dr Adamu Zango.
In an exclusive chat with The AUTHORITY in Abuja, Zango, who heads the Accounting Department of Baze University, said Bolarinwa can no longer lay claim to the leadership of Pro-Acad as he had been booted out of office over unwholesome practices.
Zango said the straw that broke the camel’s back was Bolarinwa’s inability to explain the alleged N15million given to the group during a visit to the Presidential villa last year.
He said Pro-Acad, whose membership cut across seasoned professors and other senior academics, campaigned for Buhari’s re-election in 2019 , a move that prompted the presidency to invite the group after the polls.
“The presidency asked us to go to Hilton for three days that from there they will convey us to see the president.
“At the end of the day we were expecting an envelope for at least transportation back home because people came from Ile-Ife, Port Harcourt and every other parts of the country.
“This man (Bolarinwa) gathered us and say ‘sorry the presidency has not given anything’…, ironically, he selected some people that perhaps he thought are threat to him and gave them N10,000 each, so where did he get the money from that he didn’t give to others?
“We called him to explain the source of the N10, 000 but he blatantly refused that nothing was given to him. We went around to discover that N15million was allegedly given to him,” he said.
Zango also accused Bolarinwa of using Pro-Acad to pursue personal agenda and cheap prominence.
His words: “Most of the proposals and write-ups we sent to the presidency I was the one doing them; about corruption, about orientation, and so on.
“I will write and send to Bolarinwa but the first problem we discovered was that he was all in all in it. He now named himself convener. If I write a paper and send to him with my name and his name, he will delete my name and use only his name trying to get prominence all alone.”
Zango said the group was left with no option than to dismiss Bolarinwa from the position as his attitude became unbearable.
“He has dismissed us from the union and we have also dismissed him from the union. In fact, in the WhatsApp group which we created he deleted all of our names. We don’t know what he is doing with the few he has carried along who are not professors.
“The people he carried along are not doctors, are not associate professors or professors. In fact, he got them from his former place of work in Owo Polytechnic.”
But in a phone conversation with The AUTHORITY, Bolarinwa described the allegations as baseless, saying he remains the convener of the association.
“I am the convener of Progressives in Academics and there is no controversy about that. It is a registered association,” he said.
Asked on the N15million allegedly given to the group, Bolarinwa said “Pro-Acad was not formed to receive money from people and distribute to members.
“It is an organization formed to contribute our quota in form of raising ideas and proposals on how to solve myriads of problems confronting our dear country. These we have done when Mr President received us in audience at Aso villa last year.
“Somebody raised allegation that I received money to which members asked him to substantiate from who was the money received, how much and for what purpose(s). The person could not substantiate the allegation with evidences and the allegation was dismissed.
“I submitted myself for investigation, that I was going to supply all my accounts details and statements of accounts with my BVN, he said that he is not interested. He continued to blackmail me. Later they went and form another group.”