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Nasarawa State varsity’s 8-year story

However, because the founding fathers have a rock-solid vision for this ever-enterprising, noble university, critics will only serve to spur it to greater heights. As…

However, because the founding fathers have a rock-solid vision for this ever-enterprising, noble university, critics will only serve to spur it to greater heights. As a responsible institution that holds the public in high esteem, this article is therefore, necessary to put the records straight and calm the frayed nerves of numerous well-wishers who may be misled by the insinuations contained in the write-up.

The apt imagery of the university boiling is only that of a molten gold in a burning cauldron continuously shaped into the numerous, sparkling silverware that adorns the chest of the university since the new Vice Chancellor, Professor Shamsuddeen O.O. Amali, OFR, assumed office last January.

The university has secured the National Universities Commission (NUC’)s approval of its post-graduate school programmes; admitted as member of the Association of African Universities (AAU) and appointed into the Council of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). Others include granting of hosting right for the 2012 Conference of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC); won the gold prize in the 2010 West African Universities Games (WAUG) in football; secured clearance for the backlog of the graduate students of the Faculty of Law into the Nigerian Law School; commenced the construction of the Education Trust Fund-sponsored academic complex of 48 offices of the teaching staff.

More still, it has attracted the private sector and other interested organizations to participate, through partnerships and sponsorships, the building of hostel blocks, the Faculty of Agriculture dubbed as the “Centre of Excellence for Agriculture”, the permanent site of the Post-graduate School as well as the vegetation control in and around the university. The members of the university community are too happy with these accolades brought by this new helmsman to bother themselves with trifles. The evidence is there in the massive support they have given him, and their desire to continue doing so.

The issue of the reconstituted Governing Council of the university is something beyond the university since it is the prerogative of the Visitor, who is the Executive Governor of the state. Reconstitution of the university council has a laid down procedure which the Visitor must have followed. The retention of any member of the council should not be a matter of unnecessary controversy. Furthermore, it is the convention in normal establishments or corporate bodies for the outgoing chief executive officer to leave the body with the current official vehicle so that a new one is purchased for the successor. Nasarawa State University is not an exception. The decision to buy a new vehicle for the current Vice Chancellor was taken by the council long before the new helmsman came to office.          

On the appointment and promotion of staff, these are routine exercises outlined in the university guidelines and consistent with the laws establishing the university. If they were made by the new Vice Chancellor as reported by the said newspaper, they should ordinarily attract the applause of a discerning mind. For, it is an indication of his desire to motivate the staffers, and ensure the university’s steady expansion. In addition, there is a procedure to award contracts, which has always been followed. So this should also not attract any controversy.

On the lodging of the Vice Chancellor in the hotel, it may interest the reader to know that the VC’s Lodge was built over six years ago. But, because of structural defects, it was not occupied by the former Vice Chancellor who stayed in a rented bungalow in the township and later moved to another small apartment in the G.R.A. purchased by the university meant to be used as the governing council’s guest house. Since both the lodge and the guest house needed urgent repairs, the university’s management had no option than to lodge the new Vice Chancellor in the hotel pending the completion of work. The truth is that staying in a hotel is not even conducive for any chief executive. Therefore the sacrifice made by the new Vice Chancellor in this regard obviously deserves encomium not condemnation.

The reader should know that the new Vice Chancellor, Professor S. O. O. Amali, OFR, is a distinguished Professor of Theatre and Dramatic Arts of high standing. His emergence as the Vice Chancellor did not follow any shortcuts from the point of view of the guidelines and procedures outlined in the laws of the university. The professor has paid his dues as a true academic, a scholar of world acclaim and a university administrator par excellence. His worries are how best and fast he can, together with others, build on the foundation laid by his predecessor. After all, he was part of the think-tank who did the groundwork for the establishment of the university, and is faithful to the core objectives of setting up the university. It is therefore not surprising if he is continuing with the war on fake student admission racketeering. It is therefore not true that the Vice-Chancellor has initiated moves to recall fake or expelled students.

The Vice Chancellor is earnestly making efforts to see to the implementation by the State Government, of the recent new salary agreement entered into between the major unions in the university and the Federal Government, including the payment of outstanding arrears of salaries and allowances. Moreso, the new helmsman is leaving no stone unturned to ensure adequate funding of the programmes and activities of the university through increased subvention and broadening of the revenue base of the institution.  

In conclusion, I would like to appeal to the general public to disregard the poisonous article and team up with the new Vice Chancellor to record further milestones for the university.

Muhammad Jamil Zakari, Head of Information & Protocol Unit, Nasarawa State University, Keffi

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