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FUL VC appointment: Group calls for cancellation of exercise over alleged gross irregularities

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FUL VC appointment: Group calls for cancellation of exercise over alleged gross irregularities

For what it described as gross irregularities in the process for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor for Federal University, Lokoja (FUL), UK’Omu Igala Organization, an umbrella body for all civil society and cultural associations in Kogi East Senatorial District, has called for the cancellation of the entire process.
In a press statement signed by the National Leader of the Organization, Comptroller Abdul Amade (rtd), the socio-cultural organisation said it was curious that the Senator Chris Adighije-led screening committee disqualified all applicants of Igala extraction for the position of Vice-Chancellor.
The body passed a vote of no confidence on the committee which carried out the assignment of shortlisting.
Therefore, they called on the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to call the Chairman of Council of Federal University Lokoja to order, so as to prevent break down of law and order in the institution in the short run and to avoid continued stagnation of the University, in the long run.
It also asked the Minister to ensure that the process is carried out afresh in a transparent manner where all candidates who meet the requirement are considered.
The UK’Omu Igala also want the minister to bring to bear his experience in the
quick intervention in the discrepancies that arose in the selection of the Vice-Chancellors of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and those of the Universities of Ibadan and Lagos.
“Your efforts at promptly restoring peace in the aforementioned citadels of learning are memorable and highly commendable.”
Above all the organization asked the minister to ensure due process is seen to be followed to the later in the appointment of  Vice-Chancellor for Federal University, Lokoja as they have no confidence in the skewed process as they strongly reject the entire compromised exercise where merit was sacrificed for selfish and parochial considerations.

They reiterated their believe that it is expedient and instructive for the Minister to quickly use his good offices to intervene and put the whole exercise to a hold, as it has led to serious agitation in the state.

According to the Statement, “Report has it that about 80 persons applied for the position out of which 20 distinguished and experienced professors of Igala extraction specifically from Kogi East (one of the three senatorial district of Kogi State) applied.
“To the best of our knowledge, these scholars of Igala extraction met the criteria published as qualifications for application for the position.

“However, to our greatest surprise, none of them was shortlisted for consideration, making the process suspicious and clandestine.”
Following the impending departure of Professor Angela Freeman Miri in February 2021, advertisements were placed on various media channels calling for qualified candidates to apply for the position of Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Lokoja to succeed the out-going Vice-Chancellor.
The group said they came to the conclusion following analysis and comparison between the twelve (12) shortlist and some of the Igala Professors that were disqualified from further participation in the process.
According to them, A Google scholar search revealed that whereas, at least, five of the Igala Professors had between 35 and 165 GoogleScholar –accessible Publications on the internet, six (6) (or 50%) of the twelve top shortlist for position of VC by FUL council have GoogleScholar –accessiblePublications of only between 2 and 20.
“Other indices academic impact like googlescholar citations and h-index are even more revealing.
“Whereas, at least five (5) of the ten disqualified Igala Professors were
elevated to the rank of Professors, mostly in first generation
universities, between ten (10) and up to twenty (20) or more years ago,
some of the top FUL Council’s shortlist for VC currently have less than
ten (10) years of experience as Professors, and many of them from
second and third generation Universities.
“While, at least one of the disqualified Igala Professors is a Fellow of the merit-based apex umbrella scientific organization, the Nigerian Academy of Science, none of those on the shortlist appears to have earned such scholarly status (Fellow of Nigerian Academy of Science
or Fellow of Nigerian Academy of Letters.
The Organization went further to explain that whereas, some of the disqualified Igala Professors have notable national and international exposures, having won some competitive
research fellowships, grants and scholarships, and are, or have been
members of some relevant national committees for grant administration
(like TETfund Standing Committee on Research and Development,
National Research Fund, Nigerian Science Prize, etc), most that made
it to the FUL Council’s shortlist for VC are simply “local champions.”
Explaining further, the statement said, whereas, many of the disqualified Igala Professors have administrative
experiences as Head of Department, Assistant Deans, Deputy Deans
and even Directors in mostly, first and second generation universities
where administration is more complex and challenging, many of the
shortlisted candidates can only flout “higher” administrative
experiences in “last generation” universities and private institutions,
where administration is at best, routine.

“In circumstances of stiff competition for position of Vice Chancellor,
parameters such as presentation of “Inaugural Lecture”, being a desirable academic responsibility, is usually introduced. “However, it is
observed that while some disqualified Igala Professors have presented their “Inaugural Lectures”, some of the shortlisted candidates have not.
“As if these anomalies were not enough, the Council of Federal
University Lokoja involved itself in some “illegal maneuvers” in order to achieve its hidden agenda to plant a non-viable and sub-standard
University administration at Federal University, Lokoja.
“These include, Appointing a ‘Shortlisting Committee’ to undertake a generally discredited shortlisting process that is antithetical to academic traditions and inimical to dream of any institution of higher learning to march towards world-class status by using criteria that are not the most essential academic criteria in appointing a Vice Chancellor that has robust capacity to take FUL to the next level is not acceptable.
“This is because, there is no provision for such a committee under the University Laws. What is provided for, is “Selection Committee” that will undertake both shortlisting and Interview of the candidates.”
According to the statement, the criteria used by the so-called “Shortlisting Committee” to disqualify Igala Professors were supposed to be debated, amended and accepted by the entire council for implementation by the Selection Committee, even before applications were opened by the Committee.
“None of these basic principles of international, or even national best practices was adhered to.
Again the statement observed, “Instead of discharging its duties within the premises of Federal University Lokoja under the full glare of the administrative and security structures of the University, the ‘Shortlisting Committee’ met twice in Abuja in a very suspicious move (first for about a week ), in order to perform its ‘duties’ when there is no imminent breach to security in FUL premises, or indeed, Lokoja town.
“Based on these anomalies, we are compelled to believe that the Council of Federal University Lokoja has not displayed adequate evidence of intention and/or capacity to fairly and transparently organize, implement and supervise an acceptable meritbased process that would lead to the appointment of a Vice Chancellor with intellectual capacity, relevant national and international exposures, and social and political acceptability to lead Federal University Lokoja in a way that would usher in steady development and stability in the next dispensation.

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Education

Senate okays establishment of Federal University of Medicine, Abeokuta

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***also bill to establish Fed. College of Education, Gwoza

The Senate on has passed a bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The bill seeking for the establishment of the Federal College of Education, Gwoza in Borno State was also approved by the Upper legislative Chamber

The passage of the bills followed the consideration of two separate reports by the Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary); and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.

Senator Umar Sadiq, who presented the report by the Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary) on behalf of its Chairman, Yahaya Oloriegbe, said the establishment of the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences was informed by the imperative to create more access to higher education in the field of medicine and medical sciences.

He added that when established, the university would attract people to Abeokuta, Ogun State through the provision of higher educational academic and professional programs to those seeking to pursue degrees in the field of medicine and allied professional disciplines.

On the other hand, Senator Sandy Onuh, who presented the report by the Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND Committee on behalf of the Chairman, Babba Kaita Ahmad, said the establishment of the Federal College of Education, Gwoza, would support the North East zone in improving educational infrastructural needs while balancing access to education among diverse demographics in the country.

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Education

Lawan decries backward trend in education over insecurity

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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has decried the current trend of insecurity in the country that is taking its toll on the education of the younger generation.
He therefore challenged every stakeholder in the Nigerian project to come together to reverse the ugly situation before education becomes an anatherma especially in the north.
Lawan spoke to newsmen at the First Solo Exhibition of Paintings and Photographs by Stephen Binos at the weekend in Adamawa State.
This was contained in a statement issued by his media office.
He said the current trend of insecurity in the country is a very sad development whereby education is suffering especially with so much kidnapping of school children especially the girl child.

“In northern Nigeria, education has always been a problem and it is making it worse with this kind of abduction of students either in Islamiya school or normal secondary school or even in tertiary institutions like it happened in Afaka in Kaduna State.
“I believe we should continue to fight this kind of insurgency, the banditry for us to restore normalcy in our country for our country to make progress.”

Lawan said that school children in the north are deprived of education, particularly the girl child, as a result of persistent abductions and kidnappings by armed bandits.

He however, expressed the confidence that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would continue to do all in its power with the support of the National Assembly to reverse the spate of insecurity across Nigeria.

The Senate President added that the issue of insecurity plaguing the country is a challenge that must be prioritised and tackled jointly by all tiers of government for results to be realised.

He said: “I want to assure everyone that this administration, the Muhammadu Bihari APC administration, will continue to work hard to bring back security to this country.

“It is a challenge, but I believe that it is for all of us – the Federal, States and, the Local Government and all the communities and ethnic groups across the country.

“This is a situation that needs all hands on deck regardless of what you believe in. We all need to survive first before we achieve any excellence and I believe we can do so well.
On the First Solo Exhibition of Paintings and Photographs by Stephen Binos he said Nigerian leaders must make tangible effort to encourage the youths to be productive and contribute meaningfully to national development

Binos is the son of Senator Binos Dauda Yaroe who is representing Adamawa South in the Senate who exhibited the artworks to shiwcase the culture of the people of Adamawa State.

The Senate President, used the occasion to challenge the Nigerian youths on the necessity to preserve the country’s diverse cultural heritage through expressive means.
He explained that doing so would in turn preserve its traditional values against extinction from the overwhelming external influence of technology.

“I have gone round to see the art exhibition, display of various artworks by Stephen Binos and I’m really very impressed by what I have seen and I want to congratulate the man of the moment, Stephen Binos, our artist.

“What this gentleman has done is to document history, document very important moment and these artworks will remain historical.

“Art is a language that everybody speaks and you can see from the attendance here. There are diverse people here. Some came from Europe, America and what have you and everybody understands his Language.

“The situation today, across the world really demands that we are able to document some of these very historical and very important artworks because technology, while it is a blessing to all of us, has its own way of undermining our culture.

“I believe in keeping to my culture because it doesn’t in anyway stop me from being modern and contemporary but it enriches my thinking, my orientation and my behaviour and attitude.

“I believe we can take example from the Japanese. They still eat sitting and probably using hands.

“The Chinese still use sticks to eat and they stick to their culture and they are making it and we can do the same – keep our culture, value them.

“Really, that does not stop us from being modern. Adopting the technology developed elsewhere and modifying them to fit our purpose here in the country.

“There is a popular saying that a picture speaks more than a thousand words. I’m impressed to see the various communities in Adamawa reflected here.

“This is the kind of thing we need to encourage our youths. If someone choses to go this path, he should be encouraged to continue to excel and do well.
He said whichever way leaders can encourage the youths in this country, to be productive, to be focused and contribute to national development would be welcome.

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Education

Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic, calls of suspension of academic activities, resumes 17th June

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From Abel Daniel, Lafia

Isa Mustapha Agwai I Polytechnic Lafia on Thursday called off its three months old suspension of academic activities following students protest that led to destruction and vandalization of the school properties

The Academic Board of the Polytechnic at its emergency meeting of Thursday 17th June, 2021 approved the immediate reopening of the institution with effect from Thursday 17th June, 2021.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Registrar Mr. Zamani Habu Ibrahim which was made available to journalists in Lafia, the state capital.

According to the statement, all returning students are required to come with Letter of undertaking to be of good behaviour to be endorsed by a top civil servant of not below the rank of a Director in the Public Service, Clergyman or Traditional ruler.

It also directed all students to complete all registration processes including payment of school fees on or before Friday 25th June, 2021.

It directed that a fine of N5,000.00 be paid for damages of the Polytechnic properties.
“Students are to note that the second semester Examinations for 2019 /2020 Academic Session commences on Monday 28th June, 2021.
“Accordingly, students are to make all payments remotely through the school portal(https://portal.imap.edu.ng..ed.ng/imap). Students must present all payment printouts using their passwords.”

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