Oct. 1, 2013
THE MESS IN KASU
Since the assumption of office of the present administration (under Dr Muktar Ramalan Yero) in Kaduna state, it has been quite clear about the government’s commitment to the virtues of justice and fair play in running the state, which is a departure from what used to obtain. We are for instance aware of the insistence of the government that the mere fact of a sudden change in the captainship of the state ba sai kawai kuma ayi ta canja tsarin da aka gada don kawai son rai kamar yadda akayi a baya ba. This is one leadership philosophy even doubting Thomases cannot contest that the present government in Kaduna state has upheld in steering the state. However, while we have total faith in the fact of the government showing good example in this direction, the case seem to be a complete opposite one in the Kaduna State University, where before now the government was probably always being told that all is well. Nothing is well please!!! As a matter of fact the Kasu we know is drifting to what looks like Bosnia, Chechnya or Kosovo of some sort where ethno-religious cleansing has become the major attention of the leadership and those backing its project from within and outside the university.
As a preamble, let it be clearly stated for the records that the laws and procedures governing the appointment of a Vice Chancellor in Kasu as in the case of Professor William Barnabas were not followed by the government of Late Yakowa the then State Governor and Visitor to the University. And although it is not much of our concern to start trading the controversy here since others are already speaking of refreshing their intended legal action, we feel it is high time to point how such illegal appointments are telling on the destiny of the university system in Kasu. Ai dama tsintattar mage ba ta mage. So that is why as members of the University community even though we felt this was a case of raping due process by our “democratically elected” leaders who put doubt in us as to whether this democracy is anything worthy of trust, as law abiding citizens we exhibited our loyalty to the leadership in the best way we could up to now when it is no longer bearable. This, we did with all honesty overlooking the seeming problems created by the Vice chancellor on daily basis since he assumed office hoping that after all as one who is holding a position above a head of department in the academy for the first time, he needs to be excused on certain errors. However, after more than a year and a half, we are compelled by necessity to speak out to those in whose hands the governance of the State lies. The necessity is such that let it not be till the day Kasu collapse and posterity pass a negative verdict on those who saw what was going on but didn’t say anything then we begin to talk like the Hausa saying: Fargar Jaji ko Ihu bayan hari (Taking a precaution after the damage has been done would be of no use).
Today, the university unlike it was initially known as a centre of sharing mutual ideas and respect for individual and group differences that made it to progress above its peers has now turned to something else. On the authority of the mighty and power drunk VC, Kasu is now an enclave of dictatorial governance, draconian style of rule, and lack of the simplest regard for due process at whatever level as well as open show of ethno-religious sentiment in the smallest decision aspect of the university system. Name a few; it is found in admission matters, employment or replacement of staff to positions, students/staff issues of disciplinary nature, welfare to staff, study/training chances abroad, allowing each officer to his/her schedule including most importantly the chief administrative officer; the Registrar, gross interference on issues concerning staff and student union/body/association matters as the case may be, treating those who tell him the truth as his supposed “enemies” and so on.
The employment of all staff to the university, junior and senior cadre is done through a process known to every university as the A&PC (Appointment and Promotion Committee). The junior cadre committee is headed by the Registrar, while a senior member of the university council heads that of the senior with the VC as only a member like others. This was deliberate in order to safeguard the quality of staff recruited to the university and avoid any undue selfishness by either the VC in recruitment or any member of the university governing council. But sadly enough, the VC does not seem to be at home with this, especially the chair of the Registrar where he has so much interest for “his people” to the detriment of the “others” who should also have a share in the state in terms of employment and other privileges. While past VCs agreed and worked with this just arrangement and provision of the law, the situation today is different. Appointments to positions are given by the VC the way he likes (See the Newsletter for examples). Once the applicant belongs to the part of the state of the VC and he or she is not a Muslim, employment is almost automatic, especially in a situation of contest with one that comes from the “other side”. The latest list of all the university staff with date of their employment should be our proof and without any iota doubt the unfairness would come out clear. This is notwithstanding the “chicken feed requests” he claim to always honour from those his Hausa/Fulani Bosses of “the other side” at the top and whom he brags around with saying ai wane ne ya turo in bashi admission ko a dauki Yaronsa ko matarsa aiki ko in basu kwangila as the case may be (it is from so and so requesting for admission, employment for his candidate or his wife and sometimes for juicy contracts to his fronts).
Indeed, as Macbeth said…‘the did has been done’ in the last admission and employment exercises using all sorts of unfounded claim that people of “the other side” don’t want to go to Kafanchan and that was why it came out as an exclusive affair for his section of the states religious and ethnic divide. And, now with another set of admission and employment coming are we then going to sit and watch the dismembering of other qualified candidates just because they are from “the other side” of the state? We are right now aware that he has already prepared and perfected all strategies well ahead of time to outsmart the A&PC, which he claims is not a problem to his achieving the set goals. It is also clear that even before the job advert was sent to press on the 31 of last month (July, 2013) he had already selected those “to be employed” from the list he secretly asked those “his own heads of department and De facto Registrar” to scout for initially. On the current junior staff cadre employment and the conversion of casuals to regular, he has taken over everything in disregard to the junior staff A&PC regulations which say the committee is to be headed by the Registrar. Not only that, he has recently employed in so many “new casuals” with Masters Degree as labourers/cleaners so that after their employment they will be converted. This, as he always claim was to fix in as much “his people” so that he will feel secured from the intimidation of his administration by the Muslim- Hausa/ Fulani cohorts surrounding the university Council, Senate, Management and even the other pressure groups like the Academic staff union, ASUU, SSANU, NASU and others that are not known as part of the governing arms of a university. A lot is taking place with regards to the one sided employment in Kasu which requires full investigation by the government. Indeed, the corporate existence of our great state should not be threatened by some self seeking ethno-religious champions who hide under various covers to perpetrate their acts in total disregard to the spirit of peace and development of all.
Another issue which seems to be making everything going the wrong way in KASU today has to do with the undemocratic, intolerant and Tsarist style of governance which the VC assigned to himself. There are times he performs the function of even a messenger as long as that will favour “his people”. For instance, the university Registry exist only in principle and paper, but frankly speaking all works are done or sanctioned by a de facto Registrar or the Inner group consisting mainly of those he regards as “his people”, whom are also checked by his closest comrades: Mr Neb& Dr Kilo, the only two he listen to in running the university. As a matter of doing the right thing, the VC should not put be running the university either as a personal enrichment office or a place for exhibiting ethno-religious bigotry where normal administrative and academic processes are being frustrated because of selfishness ( Yana yiwa gwamnati baya ba zani ke nan?).
It is also interesting to know that results of examinations of the second semester of last session where the students have long been in the NYSC programme have to date neither been considered nor approved by the university senate, which is the usual requirement. This means KASU has sent graduates without senate approval and there is no law backing such action but the wish of the mighty VC only. This is unprecedented in history as we have never ever had a situation in the university where results are kept waiting for one year. Still in the area of academic conducts, there are today departments in the university where ethnic and religious corruption is known to be perpetrated by its leaders, but the university administration always employ means to clandestinely cover such dirty conducts even with evidences. The reasons for such cover up being those involved are either kinsmen of the VC or members of his “collective” that defend him at all times. Against the rules of the NUC, some of them are not known to be giving their students any continuous assessment (C.A) at all so that those they like would pass while the aborigines from of the state continue to carry over till they either change department or end up with pass degree or third class (A good example can be found in Biochemistry). On the whole, these issues require independent investigation, not only by the government, but the NUC and other stakeholders in our university system to ascertain whether or not it was right to graduate students whose results have not been approved by the senate or that an academic staff can allocate marks without any evidence of examination?
Turning to the financial aspect of running the university, it is left for the government to either appoint a visitation panel or decide as it deems fit within the law of the university. We do not wish to go into areas sensitive as finance because of the believe that there are always in this section enough institutional provisions to have records such as from the auditors and so on. What one can simply say here is that even in daily payment of claims and entitlements by staff ethno-religious separatism can be clearly seen. As such we are calling for a visitation panel to ascertain the true manner in which KASU is being administered. This should be treated with concern since the report of the Aku visitation panel earlier submitted to Yakowa was tactically kept under the carpet and white paper for implementation not released. Or in the alternative the government can still appoint a committee to write the white paper, incorporating the latest developments or matters arising in the administration of KASU today.
Another example which shows improper handling of problems in the university is the much orchestrated, yet highly insignificant student’s threat to peace as claimed some months ago by the VC and his agents. The continued ban on student bodies and activities is rather causing harm to the university system right now. This is because investigations among the students is revealing negative effects on the mentoring exercise always embarked upon by senior students to their new intakes through organised tutorials and other forms of academic coaching. Similarly, excursions and other extra semi academic visits that enrich students’ knowledge have been seriously affected by the unnecessary ban. But no one is able to point such problem to the mighty VC for fear of being witch hunted or branded as an enemy. It seems that today apart from the VC, no member of the KASU academic community would ever say the university is under any threat of peace from either students or staff in their union activities. Only the VC who once said “Yawwa sun zo hannu” when it was alleged the MSS issued the letter of withdrawal from union activities that led to the ban knows why he is still adamant on allowing students to continue with their associations and clubs. The origin of this should also be investigated especially in consultation with the former and present MSS officials, security office, the Students affairs and DVC Administration.
The current admission exercise is one matter that bothers all as the way the VC is at it again frantically making all efforts to champion the course of his kins even if it is at the risk of creating tension in the state by way of deliberately denying others their due in the university admission slots. We feel he is not only doing that for the sake of “his people” but threatening the delicately achieved peace in the state or playing his politics of how to win the senatorial ticket of the PDP for his zone. For about two years now, and despite the fraudulent way he has been managing the admission process unchecked, the VC is at it again, insisting on changing the formula endorsed by the initial university senate as the only way not to cheat any section of the state in getting what belongs to them all. The one man committee formula he is coming with, using the DVC admin to implement it is aimed at giving “his people” 70 % of this year’s admission against “the other side” and non-indigenes who would share the rest 30%. This is not only a breach of the agreed arrangement but a move towards upsetting the already hard earned peace in the state by self seeking champions of ethno-religious sentiment. The Government must check this not by interfering in the law, but firmly insisting that justice, equity and fairness which was the basis of the earlier arrangement prevail at all times and in all sectors of the university administration. This would be a sure guarantee to the peaceful co-existence and mutual respect that once reigned in KASU of the past, but the present VC has upset with a style of governance that only take pleasure in flying the embers of religious and ethnic division openly. The university staffs, not to their liking, are being forcefully divided along religious lines in all they do. Name it; at their day to day official assignments, personal relations with one another, in union activities quite unlike before when we relate without any suspicion based on ethnic and religious sentiment. But for want of evidence, we would not cite this example. In what sounds unimaginable, the VC went so low to the extent of pressurising a top member of the university management to rescind his (the officer) decision to join the non interest cooperative society floated by staff of the university, and which Muslims and Christians are trooping for membership just because the initiative was by “Muslim Hausa/Fulani.” This is just one of several that can be cited even though the VC or members of his defence brigade would be quick to twist the story or even deny such happenings.
On a final note, we are not in any way advocating for any action against the university leadership which is undemocratic and capable rewinding the wheel of progress already firmly established by the past leaders. However, it would be to the pleasure of all that the university is placed on the proper track of excellence it was known for and as set out by its past leaders insisting on equity, fairness and justice to all sections of the state without compromising competence unlike what. This spirit must not be compromised with any individual or group selfishness, deceit and show of ethnic and religious disdain hiding under any guise. We are for tolerance, justice, fairness and equal opportunity to all regardless of who is the VC. After all an academic environment that answers its name properly like KASU should transcend such parochial sentiments and strive towards excellence in academic research and production of graduates that can compete with their colleagues from all over the world. But the way we are going does not give any hope of realising this goal, which the university was in the first place set to achieve. Ours is hope for a better Kasu, Kaduna state and Nigeria. We certainly need a total change of attitude on the way the university community is currently being polarised by the very leadership entrusted to move it to greater heights.
Summary of Recommendations:
1) The VC as matter of common sense and following the rules should allow all officers to perform their schedule duties without undue interference and the illegal manner he uses his boys as de facto this and that. And this includes his totalitarian tendency where he insists everything must be addressed to him even if the procedure does not provide for that.
2) He should also seize from interfering in the statutory function of the Registrar, interview panel and all the A&PCs put together in the process of employment and promotion. This is in addition to the need to have a comprehensive list of all staff currently in Kasu, through which the issue of one sided employment can be verified, whether he was as fair as the past VCs.
3) Students unions, associations and clubs ban issue be re visited with a view to taking the right decision that is the devoid of sentiment currently being used to maintain the lock up. It is telling negatively on the academic standard of the younger students.
4) Issues of training/study for all staff should be transparent and fair to all irrespective of their ethnic and religious backgrounds. While representation of the university to TETFUND should done in accordance with the provision of laws in TETFUND and not based on the VCs wish. This would guarantee accountability to both the university and TETFUND.
5) All admission processes should remain in line with the past decision of the senate, which made adequate provision for opportunities to all section of the state without causing any damage to academic standards. At least the quality of the early intakes to the university up to the last one or two years is enough testimony to this.
6) Report of the Aku visitation panel which was submitted during late Patrick Yakowa, but never heard of should be dusted and given to a committee of seasoned educationists and administrators to come up with a white paper for implementation according to how the government can afford. The government needs not to be told on financial issues and how Kasu funds are spent. It knows better.
7) All operations of the university must be the concern of the governing council where the leadership must be firm in ensuring that things are done properly and in accordance with the principles of justice. While it is not proper to favour one section against another, it is equally wrong to allow perpetrators carry out their nefarious acts of ethnic and religious favouritism while those supposed to check Siddon look claiming nothing is happening.
8) That any attempt to do a “reconciliation” under whatever name or body within and out of the university would only succeed if the VC stops the exclusionist style of governance, totalitarianism, branding those telling him the truth as enemies and stops listening to the bootlickers that follow him from Barnawa to Zaria with all sorts of stories on “who is with him and who is not”. Otherwise, nothing can be achieved.
9) All allegations of students being victimised in their various departments by the already known notorious academics should be fully, but fairly investigated and action taken in a transparent manner without any sentiment. Otherwise it may not augur well when those students who are being continuously frustrated by the ethno-religious maggots around us begin to take legal actions against the university.
NCA (Network for Concerned Academics)
 It is however interesting to note that despite this systematic exclusion of the Muslim/Hausa-Fulani in the Kafanchan Campus employment agenda, the few of them posted from other departments of the university were recently made specific targets in the latest Religious fracas in Kafanchan. But Allah saved them through an informant within. This is a further indication that the enforced Kafanchan campus is not workable in a place where its local community see only themselves as the ones fit to live while others are considered Gentiles.