Flagrant Abuse of Due Process in the Recent Kasu Recruitment Exercise: A Call to Order
We read with keen interest the recent distribution of pamphlets on the Kaduna campus of the Kaduna State University by concerned staff of the University and the rejoinder that came with it. We also read the serious allegations leveled against the KASU Management on alleged mismanagement of goodwill and opportunity to sustain the good work of previous Vice Chancellors of KASU made by a pressure group that calls itself Zazzau Emirate Development Association ZEMDA. This came in a form of a petition written to the Governor of Kaduna State and the rejoinder by the Southern Kaduna People’s Union SOKAPU on the matter. But while ZEMDA’s petition was belittled and condemned by SOKAPU as targeted against their member, Professor William Barnabas Qurix, the man ZEMDA alleged was appointed by fiat than due process by his kinsman the late Patrick Yakowa, there was no statistics to support its claim. In fact, SOKAPU noted “on the allegation of lopsided staff recruitment, it is unfortunate that even where Prof. Qurix has been fair in his recruitment, ZEMDA is not appreciative”. So it goes to suggest that if ZEMDA was not appreciative of where Qurix was fair, SOKAPU expected ZEMDA to appreciate or keep quite where he was unfair?
What we're saying has nothin to do with religion or ethnicity. The politization of these two in Kaduna State in particular is a mere incendiary devise or ploy whose combustion will destroy both all the gains that both SOKAPU and ZEMDA would want the State to enjoy. It is sad that on KASU, people are courting this combustible combination rather than staying away from it and rather than the Visitor taking the honorable path of dealing squarely. The dangerous macabre dance by our dear SOKAPU, which my father was a foundation member should neither deceive anyone nor suggests all members are in support of what the Vice Chancellor, Mr Kurik (what my father told me was rather laughably Anglicized as Qurix). Our elders should talk to Mr Kurik so that his macabre dance would not spark to ignite this combustion.
THE FLAWS IN THE RECENT RECRUITMENT EXERCISE IN KASU
Human capital resources variously refer to as "manpower", "talent" and "labor or even human capital, denotes the set of individuals who make up the workforce of an organization. Hence, human resources represent a very important resource in every organization. This is why all organizations strive to have as their workforce the best talents they could get. And nowhere this is so than the Universities. This is because Universities are primarily established to provide the nation’s high level manpower needs for development. It then means that if Universities are not sustained by the best and talented manpower capacity, the primary objective of setting them would have been defeated in the first place.
In any organization, human resource is developed mainly through recruitment processes and subsequently sustained through training and other capacity building strategies. Recruitment, which simply means the process of attracting, screening, selecting, and on-boarding a qualified person for a job involve some stages, which may include: job analysis and developing a person specification; the sourcing of candidates through advertisement, or other search methods; matching candidates to job requirements and screening individuals using testing (skills or personality assessment); assessment of candidates' motivations and their fit with organizational requirements by interviewing and other assessment techniques.
As a state university, there is no doubt to the fact that Kaduna State University (KASU) started on a very sound foundation; initiated by a well-informed Committee made up of erudite scholars and seasoned administrators, governed by a Council populated by prominent educationist and technocrats and pioneered by former Vice Chancellors, staff from other universities and related institutions. This combination made KASU to not only come to national limelight but until recently, to be among the best rated state-owned universities in the country within the shortest time of its establishment. KASU has in less than ten years of existence grew from 3 to 7 faculties, 31 Departments, School for Basic & Remedial Studies and a Postgraduate School.
It is natural that as organization is growing in size so also its workforces. With new faculties, departments and programmes, KASU certainly needs to expand its human capacity. However to maintain the high standard already set up by previous Management and Council, recruitment in KASU should be based on extant guidelines, rules, regulations and in fairness to both the system, the citizens and the proprietor. It is rather heart bleeding to note the recent gross violation and flagrantly abuse of existing guideline, rules and regulations in the recently concluded recruitment exercise in every aspect of the recruitment processes conducted in KASU. These violations are highlighted as below:
NO JOB ANALYSIS AND RECRUIT SPECIFICATION
It is common sense knowledge in every personnel management that before any employment is embark upon, there is the need for a reasonable Management to determine the actual existing vacancies with their corresponding job specifications and schedules in every department, unit and section. The situation in KASU of recent is rather pathetic. Although in the case of academic staff, head of departments were hastily requested to indicate their staffing needs, the case was different with non-academic departments. Not only that those departments were not consulted but that even the Registry, which was supposed to be the engine room of a University, was truly speaking not formally involved. No one can really fathom against what is generally the tradition, the basis recently used for the selection of non-academic staff for recruitment, their categories and their number; more so there were a pool of casual staff waiting for conversion into permanent appointment, which evidently, His Excellency had graciously given his blessing.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE ADVERT
The criteria used to advertise for the various positions required by the university are totally foreign and alien to KASU. Apart from the fact that the criteria was full of inconsistency, it was neither based on the old guidelines for appointment and promotion known in KASU nor the new one, which is yet to be fine-tuned by the Appointment & Promotion Committee (A&PC) and rectified by the Council. As being speculated and evidently confirmed by the advertisement, the Registrar of the University & Secretary to Council whose duties among others is to ensure adherence to existing university rules, regulations, statutes and law in every endeavor, was completely sidelined in drawing up the advertisement. The Registrar like any other person out there only saw it on the newspapers allegedly signed by him. Definitely, the Registrar wouldn’t have allowed those apparent mistakes and inconsistencies in the advertisement if he had been fully involved.
Another important mistake that was committed in the advertisement was the non-specification as to whether the advertisement is external and internal. However when some staff seek clarification, the Vice Chancellor asked them to apply only to belatedly instruct a Registry staff and not even the Registrar, to issue an internal circular informing interested staff that they too can apply internally. Again, perhaps because the Registrar was not involved, the circular contained a lot of misinformation and decisions that could not be substantiated by any condition of service.
The Appropriation of Selection
Where transparency, inclusion and the search for the best manpower are the guiding principles, selection of candidates that applied for appointment in the university is primarily the responsibility of respective departments and units to which those candidates applied to. It is rather flabbergasting that faculties, units and departments were neither involved in the long listing nor the short listing. Rather, the Emperor Vice Chancellor with some selected but subordinated registry staff did both the long listing and short listing. What should have been a transparent process, was perhaps for some hidden agenda, was shrouded with secrecy to the extent that some Deans and Head of Departments came to know of the listed candidates only at the interview venue. In fact, this caused a lot of embarrassment to them with many feeling highly dejected and belittled.
The Kangaroo Interview
Interview is normally conducted by a team of experts in various fields to which candidates are expected to be assessed for recruitment purpose. In fact, any area where there is no expert within the organization, the use of an outsider or consultant is normally recommended. It is rather sad to note that the interview method employed by the KASU Vice Chancellor was full of floats. The most painful floats are:
• The absence of any Council member, particularly external members; not even from the A &PC in the interview panel. There is no way Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors would be interviewed and Council would not be represented.
• The strategy adopted in the conduct of the interview was unscientific and disgusting even to the candidates. How can you sat a Lecturer II, Lecturer I, Senior Lecturer, Readers and Professors interviewing them at the same time? No wonder some of them came out mocking and concluding that “the choice candidates” must have been selected already and that the interview was to merely fulfill some virtues.
• More seriously was the deliberate disregard of assessment form to graded candidates performance. It is well known that before any interview is conducted, an assessment form is designed, which will require some specific skills to be met ranging from educational, experience, competencies, physical abilities, special aptitudes, etc. It is this assessment form that will be given to each member of the interview panel to assess and grade the candidate accordingly and at the end of it all the total score is collated for each of the candidate at the end of the exercise. It is this final score that will aid decision as to whether the candidate suitable for the post or not. For the Vice Chancellor to insist that the grading system to used such as GOOD, AVERAGE and BELOW AVERAGE shows that a premeditated decision had been the guiding principle.
EXCLUSION OF COUNCIL MEMBERS IN THE RECRUITMENT EXERCISE
Going by the above revelations, it is evidently clear that Council members were not fully briefed and involved in the decision and process of the recently concluded recruitment exercise. It is our sincere beliefs that if Council had been abundantly informed and due process was allowed to take place the mess and embracement caused by this recruitment exercise would have been avoided because the Council is made up of honourabe and competent personalities. The Appointment and Promotion Committee (A&PC), which is a sub-committee of Council is being headed by no other personality than a current serving Vice Chancellor of a federal university.
In the light of the foregoing stated facts, we wish to make the following submissions:
The recruitment exercise be halted immediately and the process stopped
The Appointment and Promotion Committee (A&PC) should naturally handle and supervise the recruitment exercise and to be chaired by the Chairman of A&PC.
To get quality than the mediocrity perpetuation, all Heads of respective Departments and Units must be involved in the short listing.
The Registrar as the University law guarantees, be allowed to do his statutory duties, including delegating duties to those subordinate staff he feels they can do the job rather the VC commandeering and misusing them whimsically.
Proper documentation be safeguarded and followed, even when candidates are contacted through their GSM number, a letter of invitation should be produced for every candidate.