OPINION: Federal University Dutsinma Needs A Credible Governing Council – By Mansur Dodo  

 

When Federal University Dutsinma (FUDMA) was created, we were excited because a Federal educational institution was at last established in our state. With the benefit of hindsight, this excitement was short lived because, right from its inception, FUDMA has been embroiled in serious problems due to the prejudicial handling of its affairs by its first Vice Chancellor, Professor Ayatse. As a former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Ayatse was expected to bring his experiences to bear on the enormous task assigned to him of starting a new university at Dutsinma. Alas, as if on a diabolical mission, the pioneer Vice Chancellor ran the university as if the institution was his personal property. Throughout his tenure, the man did not administer the University on the basis of any known criteria of university administration. To say the least, he ignored all the norms of university governance, including allowing statutes, procedures, laid down rules and regulations to work. In addition, he demonstrated a malignant nepotism, ethnic jingoism and religious bigotry. All you need to do to understand his biases is to look at his staff appointments and student admissions. Even on the junior staff cadre that is reserved for the catchment area, the man employed only from his own ethnic group, the Tiv of Benue state. From history, these people are known to be a confrontational and violent group that does not see the merit of any other group around them, including other tribes in Benue state itself. Just ask the Idoma ethnic group to tell you how they are being persecuted and treated as second-class citizens in the Benue state they share with the Tiv. This is a northern Nigerian state that recently promulgated an indiscriminate law against any cattle harder seen grazing in the state. How can any Vice Chancellor of a Federal University be allowed to bring more than 70% of staff from his ethnic and religious groupings without anybody calling him to order? Could that not have been a recipe for future conflicts and crises in the Nigeria of today where everything is being seen from the prism of ethnicity and religion? In case we have forgotten, appointment into any federal establishment is specifically regulated by clear guidelines in which no section of the country is allowed to predominate in any federal organization. With what Ayatse did at FUDMA, the stage has now been set for present crisis. Petitions and protests on the excesses of Prof. Ayatse by stakeholders from the catchment area who felt shortchanged by the bigoted Vice Chancellor started coming out into the open.

When Professor Ayatse mismanagement of the University entrusted to him became unbearable, the Federal Government was left with no option but to set up an investigation committee on mounting allegations against him. With the release of the Whitepaper, the Council was dissolved and the Vice Chancellor was also asked to proceed on terminal leave. The Federal Government then appointed a new Vice Chancellor in the person of Professor Haruna Kaita who was given the mandate to implement some of the recommendations contained in the Whitepaper. Some other recommendations like inviting the ICPC and EFCC to investigate the financial improprieties of Prof. Ayatse was glossed over by the same government that ordered for his investigation in the first place. Perhaps, this is because Professor Ayatse has now become a traditional ruler.

The appointment of the new Vice Chancellor Professor Haruna Kaita actually preceded the appointment of a new Governing Council that was made up of mostly inexperienced politicians, people that have no idea whatsoever on how a university system is run. A concrete example here is that of the inexperienced Dr. Marliya Zayan, a Senior Lecturer from Ahmadu Bello University, who was appointed as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the Federal University Dutsinma. The woman was so incompetent and bellicose that she was removed as the Head of Department of gynecology by the authorities of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She absconded her university job. Her full concentration on running her private clinic in Kaduna and inordinate ambition in petty politics is more important than her primary responsibility. Consequently, the authorities of Ahmadu Bello University almost terminated her appointment. She eventually ended with a last warning given to her. Someone with this type of disciplinary case cannot be the government’s best material for the revered office of Pro-Chancellor of a Federal University. What a paradox! Other members of FUDMA Council are in the same category with this woman. Their notion of a university is that of a place where contracts are doled out to them like in an enterprise.

To illustrate, the Governing Council in an action that can best be described as premeditated has mishandled the investigation of allegations leveled against the Vice Chancellor.

The Council has demonstrated its gross incompetence and ignorance of university laws, statutes, rules and regulations in handling matters concerning the allegations. Ordinarily, when allegations are made against anybody, issues must be investigated. And the investigation must follow laid down procedures in order to establish guilt or innocence of the person being investigated. In this case, an anonymous allegation was made against the Vice Chancellor, and without fair hearing, the Pro-Chancellor, as if she is waiting for the opportunity, went ahead to singlehandedly pronounced the Vice Chancellor guilty. On that basis, she swiftly suspended the Vice Chancellor.

Where on earth do you see this type of primitive justice? Is Nigeria a jungle? At least, the principle of fair hearing demands that the Vice Chancellor be given opportunity to defend himself. So, if anyone is accused by anybody the best line of action by authorities should now be to move hastily to suspend or remove an official from his position without following due process? Once again, in what regime of justice do you do this type of thing?

This neophyte Pro-Chancellor has not only failed to follow procedures of investigation, but she refuses all forms of mediation to look into the merits and demerits of the allegations against the Vice Chancellor. While the Vice Chancellor did everything to avoid breach of peace and collapse of law and order by complying with the directives, the Pro-Chancellor proceeded to initiate and implement desperate, suspicious and dangerous decisions that would cause disaffection amongst members of the university community and wider society. Clearly, the woman is running the university herself with a lame duck of an acting Vice Chancellor in the person of Professor Armaya’u Bichi.

This debauch of an acting Vice Chancellor, in case you don’t know him, is that morally corrupt fellow who does nothing in the university but to lure married women, female students and young boys to his insatiable sexual appetite. Right now, there is the allegation that he camped a female student in a rented house at Dutsinma. The matter eventually became a police case when his wife, on discovering her husband’s infidelity, allegedly organized to have the girl kidnapped from the house in which Professor Bichi camped her. The case is now in the court. The case was also widely publicized by Blueprint Newspaper. When the case was exposed Professor Bichi even put up his resignation but the Pro-Chancellor asked him to withdraw the resignation in preparation to use him as her lapdog. It come to our notice, this lapdog is only being used to be replaced later by one of the relations of the Pro-Chancellor.

It has come to our notice that the Pro-Chancellor is doing what she is doing because she covets the position of the Vice Chancellor. She wants to become the Vice Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor in one fell swoop. She desperately wants to appropriate the position of the Vice Chancellor as the Chief Executive saddled with the responsibility of day-to-day administration of the university. The overbearing Pro-Chancellor is reported to be always finding her way to the university whether there is Council meeting or not. `The bigger problem is in how the Pro-Chancellor is snooping about contracts and contract awards in the University. With what is happening in the university now, under the contraption of an acting Vice Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor is directly administering the university. That indeed is the essence of this whole crisis. The plan of these unpatriotic elements is to control the University in order to mismanage funds.

The above is the main reason why the Pro-Chancellor is refusing all efforts to resolve a problem that she has deliberately created through the violation of due process. As an exhibit, on the 6th of May 2017, the Vanguard Newspaper reported the Pro-Chancellor to have rebuked all entreaties to resolve the matter by distinguished statesmen. In the report, she was quoted to have admitted that she was under pressure from “the officials of the National Universities Commission in collaboration with officials of the Katsina State government and some traditional and political leaders”. We were also informed that this woman behaved impudently when the Minister of Education directed the N.U.C. Executive Secretary to invite all parties for the resolution of the case.

The antics of this woman cannot surprise anybody considering the way she bragged to other officials of the University in a meeting before the N.UC. intervention that the Minister of Education has reassured her that the Vice Chancellor Professor Haruna Kaita would not be allowed to return to the University. The motive of this boasting is to cause rebellion and insubordination against the Vice Chancellor. This is an indication of a recalcitrant woman that is hell bent on causing crisis in the University. Instead of her to humbly accept the wise counsel of opinion leaders and government officials, she is doing everything possible to escalate the crisis. In the run up to the N.U.C meeting, and even after the meeting, she met with some officials of a faction of national association of Nigerian students to instigate them to embark on demonstration against Professor Kaita. She was sighted meeting with the same students again at Agura Hotel Abuja, urging them to call for the removal of the Vice Chancellor. This is not surprising from a woman who is now constantly fighting her colleagues in her place of work, because she is academically week for failing promotion assessment. This is also not unexpected for a woman who was alleged to have been on psychiatric medication.

Reputable personalities as the Executive Governor and Royal Fathers alongside highly respectable clergymen have on several occasions tried to call her attention on her gross act of mischief and its implications to the peace and progress of the University which she has all ignored. By all accounts, she is held bent on trying to remove the Vice Chancellor at all costs. The communiqué released at the end of the recent meeting by a wrongly constituted council shows the incapacity, desperation and pursuit of a selfish interest. Perhaps, question arising from this is what is the reason for all these? The simple answer is desperation, vested interests coupled with hidden agenda to undermine the administration and frustrate the implementation of the Whitepaper. The Pro Chancellor shields everybody of various crimes committed and in return exploit all just to achieve her selfish interest. Beyond all reasonable doubts, the woman is adamant, disrespectful of those who appointed her and the community she hails from. This clearly shows that she is a public nuisance.

This does not just stop at the inexperience and desperation of the Pro Chancellor alone, but also some Internal Council members who have cases of corruption to answer right from faulty promotion of Fatokun, to the abuse of office by Ati and the sex scandal case of Armaya’u Bichi who is now the Acting Vice Chancellor.

The Council of Federal University Dutsinma has clearly appeared as a sax pool. The Government should reconsider the positions given to individuals who are appointed as the Pro Chancellor of a university. Mentally and morally unstable individuals should not be given such positions. This therefore calls for the dissolution of Council of Federal University Dutsinma by the Honorable Minister of Education as in the case of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Port Harcourt that happened recently.

Mansir Dodo, Kofar Sauri

Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University (UMYU), Katsina, Katsina State,

For Concerned Katsina citizens.l

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