IT is no longer news that the 2015/2016 admission exercise of the Nasarawa state University, Keffi, has generated controversies owing to alleged denial of most qualified candidates that applied to study in the university the opportunity of admission by Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Mohammed Akaro Mainoma.
The VC was alleged to have violated the law establishing the university by failing to adhere to the provision that stipulates 80 percent quota of admission to indigenes and 20 percent to non indigenes, among other irregularities levelled against him which prompted the State House of Assembly to summon Professor Mainoma to appear before it and offer explanations on the issues raised by aggrieved candidates and other concern stakeholders in the state.
In fact, the Vice Chancellor is alleged to have allocated a total of 2,483 slots of admission to himself to the chagrin of the members of the State House of Assembly who viewed the development as a breach of the original intention for establishing the institution: to boost the education of the state indigenes.
Prior to the invitation of the VC, the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Science and Technology, Honourable Daniel Oga Ogazi had, under matters of public interest drew the attention of the House on the public outcry that arose from the release of the 2015/2016 admission list of the university and urged his colleagues to support the motion by asking the embattled Vice Chancellor to appear before the Honourable House which was unanimously supported and adopted by the House.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say that we are representatives of our people in the various constituencies and we owe them a responsibility to represent them well. We cannot fold our hands and watch while our people are denied admission into a University that is being funded by tax payers’ money”.
During his appearance before the House alongside other Principal Officers of the university, the lawmakers passed a resolution calling on the state Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura to suspend the VC from office to pave way for proper investigation of the allegations levelled against the embattled Vice Chancellor.
The lawmakers who took the decision during plenary at the floor of the House explained that the action followed the inability of the Vice Chancellor to convincingly respond to questions put to him on why non indigenes were given admission beyond the stipulated quota at the detriment of qualified indigenous candidates.
The VC, while responding to questions from the lawmakers, accepted to have admitted some non indigenes under the state’s quota. He however pointed out that some secured admission based on the indigenous certificates presented among other requirements, noting that he could not be held responsible for the issuance of indigenous certificates to non indigenes.
The lawmakers however admitted to the fact that, indigenous certificates were indiscriminately issued to non indigenes by authorities of some Local Government Councils in the state when Hon. Ogazi, in presentation of his committee’s findings to the House, recommended that desk officers be appointed from various Local Governments to serve in the University with the mandate of ascertaining the true indigene of state candidates admitted into the institution.
The lawmakers who, were visibly angry with the VC over the way and manner qualified applicants from the state were allegedly denied admission into the University, insisted that the action contravenes the law establishing the University and directed the Clerk of the Assembly to communicate the state Governor on its resolution for immediate action.
Recently, the House ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the allegations of the admission saga said it discovered that the Vice Chancellor allocated a total of 2,483 slots of admission to himself.
Hon Ogazi who chaired the committee further informed the House that the VC, in the course of admitting new students for the session, sidelined the Registrar of the University, Dr. Dalhatu Mamman and other principal officers. He told his colleagues that the embattled VC had expelled 17 law students of the institution without following due process; maintaining that the exercise was marred with irregularities.
Apart from the alleged imbalance arising from the admission, the VC has also been alleged to have involved in sharp practices including the alleged maladministration against both staff and students of the University.
Friday Magazine recalls that as at the time the VC appeared before the State Assembly and was asked to explain the motive behind the recent upward review of tuition fee without following due process, he told the lawmakers that the measure was meant to improve the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, which the House described as illegal as the institution was not a revenue generating agency for the state government.
Stakeholders in the education sector have averred that the current episode at the State University is a direct consequence of politicizing the education sector by Chief Executives at all levels.
It will be recalled that Professor Mainoma, who had served as commissioner of Finance under Governor Al-Makura, was appointed by the Governor amidst controversies to replace his predecessor, Professor Samsudeen Amali, who was suspended for six months and subsequently removed from office by the Governor, in line with the recommendation of the Visitation Panel to the institution.
Critics had viewed the action of the Governor as politicizing the education sector, especially with the choice of the embattled Professor Mainoma, who was said to have come third in an earlier interview conducted as one of the prerequisites to appoint a new Vice Chancellor for the institution for the job.
A university don, Professor Suleiman Mohammed had in a lead paper presented at the 1st National Conference of the School of Basic and Remedial Studies, SBRS, of the Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia recently listed mal-administration, misappropriation of funds, incompetence and favouritism as some of the issues affecting the growth and progress of the university system.
“Today, most of the university administrators are no longer appointed on merit. In most cases, they are appointed on the basis of the political party they have sympathy for, and this practice is causing grave harm on education”.
“Such political university administrators do not have maintenance culture, leading to absence of research materials, insensitivity to staff, poor work environment, recruitment of mediocre and lack of moral leadership”, he added.
The avowed commitment of the State House of Assembly to ensure that the irregularities in the administration of the state university are addressed, especially with regards to the controversial 2015/2016 admission policy of the institution, has been commended by stakeholders in the state.
They have expressed the hope that the embattled VC would trade the path of honour by providing for a supplementary admission where he can use the opportunity to balance the equation as recommended by the House of Assembly as well as refrain from the alleged ‘One man show’ style of administration where issues which ought to have been decided in the office of the Registrar, for instance, were allegedly done in the office of the Vice Chancellor.

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