Mr Okoro, who joined JAMB in 1993 as a programmer and appointed a deputy director in 2018, is said to be the most senior director in the establishment.
Following the 'failure' of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to announce either his replacement or reappointment, the registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Is-haq Oloyede, has handed over the baton of leadership to the agency's director of information technology services, Fabian Okoro.
Mr Okoro, who joined JAMB in 1993 as a programmer and was appointed a deputy director in 2018, is said to be the most senior director in the establishment.
Other directors, including those of quality assurance department, and test development department, Mabel Egberaku and David Akanbi respectively, who also joined the agency in 1993, were reportedly appointed directors after Mr Okoro.
Also, the JAMB's director of test administration, Yusuf Lawal, who was employed by the agency in 1989, is said to be junior to Mr Okoro in ranking.
The former registrar's decision to hand over to Mr Okoro, PREMIUM TIMES exclusively gathered, followed the directive by the ministry of education that all the concerned chief executives should hand over to the most senior directors in their agencies.
Mr Oloyede, who was appointed as the registrar of JAMB on August 1, 2016, and inaugurated a day after, replaced a professor of measurement, Dibu Ojerinde, now embattled.
Mr Ojerinde is currently facing trial for financial misappropriation allegedly perpetrated while he held sway as the JAMB's helmsman and during his reign at the National Examination Council (NECO).
Mr Oloyede, who completed his five-year term of office at the weekend, has been praised by many for reportedly turning around the examination body, especially in the areas of financial discipline, accountability and war against examination malpractices.
About Mr Okoro
A 1992 graduate of Computer Science at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Mr Okoro holds a Master of Science in Computer Science with option of internet computing from the University of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom in 2007.
After working for JAMB as a programmer for three years, the new acting registrar was promoted as a senior programme in 1996 and became a chief system analyst in 2002 and an assistant director in 2006.
He is said to have contributed significantly to the reform in the information technology unit of the examination body having received nudge and support from Mr Oloyede who reportedly brought new innovations to the body's operations since his appointment five years ago.
As of Monday morning, it is not clear whether Mr Buhari will reappoint the much-celebrated registrar as the education ministry has kept mute on the matter.
According to insiders at the ministry who do not want to be quoted, the ministry's permanent secretary, Sonny Echono, on Friday, had sent a memo to all chief executive officers, who have spent five years as executive officers, instructing them to hand over to the most senior directors in the affected agencies.
But the spokesperson for the ministry, Ben Goong, has said the minister will break his silence on the matter "in the coming days."
Speaking on the telephone with our reporter, Mr Goong said the rule is clear about the tenure of executive officers of agencies of government and that the situation in the affected agencies under the education ministry, could not be different.
He said; "If the procedure of appointment specifies the tenure of appointment of a chief executive, you should always expect that where there is room for reappointment it can be expected and where it is not expected, a replacement would be announced.
"But the minister will make a statement on it in the coming days."
There are, however, 13 other chief executive officers under the ministry of education who were sworn in alongside Mr Oloyede on August 2, 2016, and now share the same fate with the former registrar.
Other affected CEOs
The other appointees whose tenure also ended at the weekend, alongside that of Mr Oloyede, include those of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Abubakar Rasheed; Teachers' Registration Council of Nigeria (TRC), Josiah Ajiboye; National Mathematical Centre, Steven Onuah; Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Hameed Boboyi; National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), Ifeoma Isiugo-Abanihe, and Garba Azare of the National Teachers Institute (NTI).
Also affected are Michael Afolabi of the Librarian Registration Council of Nigeria (LRCN); Chinyere Ohiri-Aniche of the National Institute of Nigerian Languages; Lillian Salami of the Nigerian Institute for Educational Planning and Administration, Lanre Aina of National Library of Nigeria, Abba Haladu of the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education and Bashir Usman of Nomadic Education Commission.
NUC holds crucial meeting
As uncertainty pervades the atmosphere at the affected agencies, the outgoing executive secretary of NUC, Mr Rasheed, has summoned an emergency meeting with all the directors of the regulatory body.
The meeting is expected to hold Monday morning at the NUC headquarters in Abuja.
According to a highly placed source who does not want to be quoted for lacking the power to speak to the media, the decision by Mr Rasheed maybe to announce the acting executive secretary pending the decision by the President to either reappoint or replace him.
"At a meeting with the directors last week, the executive secretary already indicated that it would be his last meeting with them. So it is surprising that he just made a U-turn to hold another meeting on Monday," the source said.
Another source, however, said Mr Rasheed's decision was due to the late arrival of the memo on Friday.
"I am sure if the memo had arrived early on Friday, the ES would have handed over but since it came late, the best thing is to hold it today, Monday," another source who also craved anonymity, told our reporter.
Meanwhile, Mr Rasheed, a former vice-chancellor at Bayero University, Kano (BUK), is said to be very close to the education minister, Adamu Adamu, and "so his reappointment is very certain."
"The ES is really the de facto minister of education, based on his relationship with the minister, and his competence too. The minister entrusts him with very many responsibilities. So it will be very difficult for him not to come back," the source added.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for UBEC, David Apeh, neither picked calls to his phone nor replied to a short message sent to him on the matter.
It is, however, not clear if all the affected chief executive officers have also complied with the directive of the ministry as of the time of filing this report. Efforts to speak to the affected officials yielded no fruitful results as their telephone lines were either switched off or they did not pick their calls.
The spokespersons for the agencies also did not pick their calls.