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Uba: Bauchi versity constrained by funds, poor road network



Uba: Bauchi versity constrained by funds, poor road network

Professor Auwalu Uba is the Vice-Chancellor of the Bauchi State University (BSU), Gadau. He speaks with ALI GARBA about the university’s zero tolerance for cultism, examination malpractice and other vices, as well as challenges facing the university and efforts to address them



How have you been able to transform the university within the short span of your administration?

In fact, the secret behind the transformation of the university is firstly by God’s guidance. Secondly, we are focused, hardworking, diligence and prudent in management of the meagre resources available to the university. Again, we are able to attain the current level of transformation and development through various programmes and courses we introduced which are relevant to people. We did this as part of determination to fulfill one of our core mandates as a university, which is community service.

Most of the infrastructural projects in the university are funded through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) interventions. How were you able to facilitate this, when some institutions failed to access the funds?

Well, TETFund as a Federal Government interventionist agency in tertiary institutions is a development partner. Tertiary Education Trust Fund is a fund that it is made available to all public tertiary institutions across the federation and we are lucky to have been accessing our allocations regularly.

The structures you are seeing and the ones we have just flagged off their construction are not only on this campus, but also across the three campuses of the university. We have the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences at Bauchi campus; the Faculty of Agriculture at Jama’are, which we have planned to put into active operation very soon, and the Faculty of Law, where some structures had been put in place by the state government. Although, TETFund has also put in place some infrastructural projects, while the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under its corporate social responsibility initiative also executed some projects in the university. We have gain a lot from TETFund. We cannot just thank the agency and other development partners enough, but to say that we are most grateful.

What are the challenges confronting the university, and specifically your administration in achieving its vision?

Like other institutions of learning, we also have a lot of challenges since there is no institution in the world that is immune from challenges and problems. But, these challenges vary from one institution to the other. Every institution has its own peculiar challenges.

Specifically, one of the major challenges we have in this university is the poor road network on campus. As a university, we need good access roads on campus, and we are putting our requests to the Governor of the state and Visitor to the university, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, since he has given us the assurance that his doors are open always. So, we are pleading with him to help us to fix the access roads on our campus. That is the first major challenge facing us as an institution.

The other challenge is the porous nature of our campus, which within the limited resources available to us we have been able to construct part of the perimeter fence, but we are unable to complete the project. There is encroachment on our land by cattle farmers, who graze their animals on the university land and that is part of the reasons it is difficult for the ivory tower to plant crops and raise seedling for local farmers.

There are also other challenges facing the university, which include paucity of funds, and what we have are doing today to address part of the challenges was the flagging off some projects. Right behind the university sporting arena, you will notice that we have planted some crops across the fence which is about two kilometers, which was planted about three weeks ago.

And, of course, we intend to produce a shelter bell to protect our buildings and facilities.

Apart from the aforementioned challenges, the university is also faced with the problem of Wind Bell, and the challenge of lack of students’ hostels.

Lack of adequate hostel accommodation for our students is another challenge and since the Tertiary Education Trust Fund does not involve in the provision of hostels, because it only provides for academic infrastructure that directly affect academic activities.

There are other minor challenges, such as change of attitude among members of the university community. You will agree with me that change is the only thing that is permanent, but when you expect people to change the attitude for the better, it is always difficult. However, we thank God members of staff have already keying into this and we are all striving together to make the university a better place for sound academic, research and community service for the benefit of all and sundry.

When I took over the administration of the university about one and half years ago, our student population was a little over 5,000, but with the massive infrastructure development in Bauchi campus, where we now have about 42 lectures halls presently, some numbers of 500-capacity lecture theaters. With these facilities we can cater adequately for a large number of students.

In fact, our admission quota has increased astronomically. Let me add also that as we are speaking our students’ population has risen to about 13,700 and by the next two years, we expect the population to also increase in what we called our cruising altitude and by the time we attain that, we will continue to maintain that students’ population.

How have you been able stem examination malpractice, cultism and other vices on campus?

Let me say without ambiguity that most institutions around us here are cultism free and since I took over as Vice-Chancellor of the state university, we have not witnessed any incident of cult-related activity.

But, for examination malpractice, when I took over there were couple of cases due to lack of stringent regulations against the menace. Indeed, you will realise that students need to be well educated; they need to be carried along, and the students also need to be provided with regulations and enabling environment which we have provided and put in place to guide the students’ actions. As I am talking to you, the university is free from cultism and any form of cult-related activities, and we have never witnessed any incident of sex for marks because we have zero tolerance for indiscipline and all forms of vices on campus.

How has the university been able to tackle the menace of sex for marks, which is rampant in higher institutions across the country?

Well, on the question about sex for marks, I have never witnessed that in this university, we only hear that in some other universities. We hear about that, but I think our system is water-tight because there are checks and balances guiding the student-lecturer relationship. If you are conversant with the university system, it runs on a committee basis and we have all the committees in place. And again, the students have the right and free to lodge complains concerning their challenges and that is why I said there are checks and balances.

In case a lecturer approaches a student and demands that she has to offer something for marks, such student has the right to inform or complain to the authority, which the management takes very serious. Some of our Deans can bear witnesses to this. I don’t think we have witnessed any such incident of sex for marks involving our lecturers in this university.

The university is a state government-owned institution, but is there any plan by the Federal Government to take over the institution as being touted in some quarters?

This university is owned by the Bauchi State Government and it is financed by the state government; the salary component and the other needs are being met by the state government. So, the question is how would the Federal Government take over the university?

In fact, the university is enjoying tremendous support from the state government.

But, like I mentioned earlier that there is no institution, like as ours, without challenges and because of aspirations, vision and ambition for expansion we have for the growth of the institution, the challenge is enormous. But I will also add here that we are getting every support we needed from the state government, though it might not have been enough.

For instance, in the area of accreditation of academic programmes, the National Universities Commission (NUC), the regulatory body for university education, which regulates the courses offered by the universities, visits the university regularly to look at our programmes and academic activities.

Indeed, by October or November, this year, we are going to host the NUC accreditation team when we are going to present 14 academic programmes for accreditation.

Last year, we also presented about 14 academic programmes for accreditation and all of them excelled, except Pharmacology. We came back with full accreditation by NUC, which is performing its role as regulator, and not funding agency.

What plans does the administration have to tackle the hostel challenge?

We are already talking with a number of private investors. You will also agree with me that all these things depend largely on funds. The reality is that, one of the greatest challenges that I have not mentioned, is the amount of school fee we charged. If I tell you what we charged fresh students in the sciences, where they use materials for practicals on daily basis, you will marvel. They only pay N24,000 per session as school fees. The state government supplements the students’ tuition and so it is difficult for the university to raise the required internally generated revenue (IGR).

And again for the hostel issue, TETFund doesn’t fund the building of hostels for institutions. Like I said, we are already in talking terms with private hostel providers, who will come and build hostels on what we called ‘Build Operate and Transfer (B.O.T)’ basis, under the public-private-partnership (PPP) arrangement. Though, the university would regulate the rate to be paid by the students.

By and large, we have put the request before the state government and as soon as the economic is favourable and the resources are available, we will get over this.

In fact, if you go to the Bauchi campus, you will see that a private developer had already started the construction of a hostel. We are equally on talking terms with some developers or investors and there is a particular investor, who promised to build two hostels of 100 rooms for male and another 100 rooms for female students.

On capacity development, universities sponsor their lecturers for postgraduate programmes within and outside the country, how far has this university gone with this?

First, let me start by answering the question on capacity development of the lecturers. I can tell without being immodest that this university is among the fastest growing universities in the entire country.

I am pleased to also inform you that we have over 400 academic staff members, who are PhD holders that were trained within and outside the country. Almost all of them have returned and we have about 100 of them currently outside the country pursuing their Doctorate Degrees, and some of them are at verge of completing their programmes.

Besides, we have a couple of them that are studying here and it might also interest you to know that we have also introduced our Postgraduate programme. A university introduces Postgraduate programme because it wants to develop its staff capacity and in the process other lecturers will benefit from the programme. I can tell you that I supervise about two to three of our lecturers, who are undertaking their postgraduate programmes here.

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LASU crisis deepens as varsity sacks 8 officials



LASU crisis deepens as varsity sacks 8 officials

There is disquiet at the Lagos State University (LASU) following the sacking of eight members of staff, comprising five lecturers and three non-academic staff by the management. ASUU, which is at loggerheads with the Vice-Chancellor, is insisting that the development is persecution and victimisation of its members



  • ˜Varsity: They’re sacked for misconduct
  • ˜Lecturers: We’re being persecuted

The face-off between lecturers of the Lagos State University (LASU), under their umbrella union, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the authorities of the state university last Thursday deepened following the sacking of five members of the union.

The dismissal of five lecturers and three members of non-teaching staff of the institution, last week, by the management, came when the dust raised by the sacking of two members of executive of the union – the Chairman, Dr. Isaac Oyewunmi and the Vice-Chairman, Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu respectively, – was yet to settle.

The two union leaders (Oyewunmi and Adeyemi-Suenu) were among the 15 members of staff that were sacked in 2017 by the university Governing Council, led by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof. Adebayo Ninalowo.

According to the university, Oyewunmi was sacked for allegedly demanding N50,000 each from seven students to process their results, while Adeyemi-Suenu, on the other hand, was dismissed for allegedly unilaterally altering the results of 12 students already advised to withdraw from the university by the Senate.

Their sack, which is currently being challenged in court, had resulted to a series of allegations and counter-allegations against the university management and the leadership of the university’s chapter of ASUU, who are accusing each other of wrong doings.

But, the university management, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, while reacting to the last week sack of the staff, had in a statement signed by the institution’s Coordinator, Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations, Mr. Ademola Adekoya, insisted that the five academic staff members and three non-teaching staff were fired for misconduct.

The statement released on Friday by the Centre, entitled: LASU Governing Council Approves Promotion of 11 New Professors, 14 Associate Professors; Five Academic and Three Non-Academic Staff Dismissed for Misconduct,” however, noted that the approval for the dismissal of the eight members of staff, comprising five academic and three non-academic staff was ratified by the Governing Council at its 122nd Statutory Meeting held on Thursday, September 12.

The statement further added: “The Lagos State University Governing Council at its 122nd Statutory Meeting held on September 12, 2019, considered the reports of the Joint Council/Senate Disciplinary Committee, and the Joint Council (Administrative and Technical Staff) Disciplinary Committee, respectively, and approved the dismissal of the affected staff members.”

The statement, therefore, listed the affected staff members to include Dr. Anthony Dansu, the Secretary of ASUU and a lecturer at the Department of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education, Faculty of Education.

According to Adekoya, every member of staff indicted has been given fair hearing by the appropriate disciplinary committees, because the university takes the rule of law as sacrosanct.

Meanwhile, the university has challenged the union leaders to produce laws authorising them to obtain confidential documents, saying “the peaceful atmosphere on the campus had ensured a stable academic calendar, and that the efforts of the new management to instill discipline and build a culture of sanity is being resisted by some individuals.”

He said: “The Joint Council/Senate (Academic) Disciplinary Committee and the Joint Council (Administrative and Technical Staff) Disciplinary Committee which heard the cases strictly followed all laid down procedures, and duly gave opportunity to the individuals involved to defend themselves. The Lagos State University is poised to continue to ensure quality assurance in its processes.”

Dansu, according to the report, was investigated on allegations of unauthorised removal, retention and dissemination or publication of official confidential documents and infractions arising from the interviews granted to online media platforms levelled against him, and found culpable.

This was as the Council noted that his actions constituted serious misconduct and he was therefore dismissed from the services of the university with immediate effect.

Also, in his case, the university hinted that Aboderin-Shonibare was investigated on allegations of being in possession of confidential documents – Assessor’s Report and Report of Appointments, Promotions and Disciplinary Committee of Council – for which the university found him culpable.

Meanwhile, based on the report, the Council said that her action constitutes serious misconduct, and thus she was therefore dismissed from the services of the university with immediate effect.

For Adeolu Oyeka, the university pointed out that he was investigated on allegations of unauthorised removal, retention and dissemination or publication of official confidential documents and infractions arising from the interviews granted to online media platforms levelled against him, and for which he was found culpable.

“Towards this end, the Council noted that his acts constitute serious misconduct, and he was therefore dismissed from the services of the university with immediate effect,” the statement further added.

The Council also dismissed Dr. Henry Olusegun Gbelee of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Lagos State University College of Medicine, who was investigated on allegation of absence from duty without permission, and found culpable. Following his dismissal, Council directed that he should refund the sum of N1,635,715.50  to the university, being the salaries erroneously paid to him while on a six-month approved Leave of Absence from April 1 to September 30, 2016.

He was given the next two months to pay back, and for which failure to do this the university shall institute legal action against him to recover the amount.

Others, who were fired by the Council, are Mr. Kehinde Olakunle Coker, Department of Religions and Peace Studies, Faculty of Arts, who was sacked on allegations of sales of marks and receipt of financial inducement from students to pass two students of the Department of English levelled against him and for which he found culpable; Mr. Oladapo Shafih Akinyemi, a Pupil Engineer in the Works and Physical Planning Unit was also dismissed on allegation of abandonment of duty and which he was found culpable.

Similarly, Mrs. Alaba Mariam Odu, a lecturer at the Faculty of Science was found culpable and sacked on allegation of falsification of May/June 1990 and 1999 WAEC results, which Council insisted constitutes serious act of misconduct; while Mr. Wasiu Adewale Busari, a staff of the Security Unit, was fired on allegation of bribe to pervert the course of justice and false claims against the Vice-Chancellor.

Reacting to their sack in an interview with New Telegraph on Friday,Dansu, the Secretary of LASU-ASUU, said the action of the university authorities was a deliberate scheme to silence the only voice against the mismanagement and fraudulent activities of the leadership of the institution and to kill ASUU on LASU campus.

According to him, it will now be clear to the whole world that the dismissal of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the union in 2017 in similar circumstances, for which the union has been shouting is an orchestrated case of victimisation and deliberate action to kill the union in LASU, which is now becoming quite obvious.

The embattled union leader, who hinted that the national body of the union would take up the matter with the university, said: “The union at the national level will respond to our sack appropriately. It is a matter between the light and darkness; truth and falsehood. It is quite unfortunate that LASU with a motto that stands for the truth and service could resort to this nebulous action.”

He, however, blasted the management-led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun of double standard in this matter, saying the sacking of the union leaders was a calculated action to cover up the many illegalities and fraud that are going on in the university.

Dansu, therefore, added that the union and its members were facing persecution and victimisation from the Council and Vice-Chancellor for daring to raise question about the professorship of the Vice-Chancellor, saying: “We are being victimised by the authority for challenging the illegality in the promotion and professorship of the Vice-Chancellor.”

While reacting to the sacking of members of the union in LASU, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, told New Telegraph in a telephone interview that the union would appropriately wade in into the matter with serious concern.

Ogunyemi, who pledged the readiness of the national body of the union to step into the mater, said: “We are taken some steps already, but we are also still studying the situation and the whole development before ASUU makes a comprehensive response on the matter. We are still trying to gather some additional information. Indeed, we will respond at the appropriate time.”

Also explaining further, Dansu, who described their sack as a shock and mockery of justice, and insisted that though, it was expected, said about three weeks ago, the Lagos State House of Assembly summoned the two parties in the crisis (management and ASUU).

“It was a tripartite meeting of the union, the university and the House of Assembly,” he added, saying the objective or rationale behind the parley was to resolve all the contending issues between the management and the union.

During the intervention or meeting, the House of Assembly appealed that both parties should all “cease fire” and within the next one month the Vice-Chancellor should constitute a committee with the objective of resolving all the contending issues, and that after the one month we will see what is on ground.

But with their sack, he blamed the university, the one who broke the peace accord or cease fire, of not respecting and accepting the spirit of the resolution.

Dansu, who regretted the management’s plans to kill ASUU in LASU, however, said that there were reactionaries in the university working for the interest of the university management to promote the illegalities in the system by destroying the union and its members.

The embattled sacked lecturer, who pointed out that another approach to the matter was that the case was already in court, hinted that they went to court when the management wanted to carry out the sack in August 2018 to stop them from taking the action.

And the court, he said ruled in August that we (ASUU members) have immunity to do what we have done and that we cannot be tried under exigency of any local tribunal on those matters.

However, Dansu added that what the union’s lawyer asked the court to do was the judicial review of the position of the university, but now there are no issues to be reviewed because the issues are premature and therefore the two parties should go back to the university to resolve the matter following the constitution of the land.

He said: “Therefore, all what the university is doing is illegality. What the university is planning is the University of Ilorin model, but which after 19 years, the lecturers in the university are back to the ASUU fold. There are no two ASUU, as there is only on ASUU in the country. What we are seeing in LASU is the work of reactionaries loyal to the management.    

“Like I said earlier, the management’s target is the union. Now, there is heavy security all over the campus, even the union secretariat, which they wanted to take over by force for their reactionaries.”

Meanwhile, the university has also announced that promotion of 377 members of staff, comprising 31 academic staff, 346 non-teaching staff as approved by the Governing Council.

The promotion, according to the statement, which was made available to New Telegraph, was approved at the 122nd statutory meeting of the university Governing Council on Thursday.

The statement further noted that of the 31 academic staff promoted, no fewer than 11 lecturers were promoted from Associate Professor to Professor; 14 Senior Lecturer to Associate Professor; five lecturers were elevated from Lecturer I to Senior Lecturer; and one Lecturer II to Lecturer I.

Also, in the senior non-academic staff category, 125 members of staff benefitted from the promotion exercise, while in the junior category, the university promoted 221 members of staff respectively.

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Don harps on social studies as fulcrum of liberal education



Don harps on social studies as fulcrum of liberal education

don and Professor of Political Science at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Femi Mimiko has stressed the importance of Social Studies as critical to socio-political development of the society, saying social studies scholarship is the fulcrum of liberal education.

The former Vice-Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) in Ondo State, disclosed this in his keynote address at the 35th Annual National Conference of Social Studies Association of Nigeria, held at Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.

The theme of the conference was: “Beyond Electoralism: Nation Building Pressures and Consolidation of Democracy in Nigeria: What has Social Studies got to do with it?”

In his paper, Mimiko regretted that Nigeria was currently locked in an existential struggle, the type that imposes special responsibilities on academics, including social studies scholars.

He said: “Intellectuals are defined by their commitment to scholarship, and willingness to follow through on research. Social Studies scholarship is the fulcrum of liberal education, and its preeminent scholars, students and members of the society must step into the arena of struggle for a new and functional democratic system that meets the aspirations of the people of Nigeria, and which is firmly on the path to consolidation,” he stressed.

According to him, adherents and preeminent students and scholars of social studies, under the Social Studies Association of Nigeria, must step into the arena of struggle for a new and functional democratic system that meets the aspirations of the people, and which is firmly on the path to consolidation.

He, however, insisted that the longer it takes for the country to come to terms with its political-economic realities, and work to emplace these critical, inclusive democratic tenets, the more dangerous the situation becomes for extant democratic experimentation, and indeed the overall stability of the state.

The don, who, therefore, reiterated the need for the restructuring of the country, as a purveyor to its development, further noted that the inability of Nigeria, over the years, to entrench democracy, on the basis of good governance and political structure that conforms to the country’s plural orientation is one key element in the development failure of the country.

The restructuring being advocated, according to him, would be the type that will move the country in the direction of federalism; the restructuring of extant federal system to make the polity attain the full measure of federalism.

This was as Mimiko explained that in specific terms, the concept of restructuring in the Nigerian context would mean a reworking of the governance structure of the country in a manner that gives more powers, autonomy, and control over resources to the sub-national or federating units, such that the latter acting individually or collaboratively, would be capable of autochthonous development within the context of a united Nigeria.

To proper situate the restructuring of the country, Mimiko said “there is the need to involve effective divestment of the central government in terms of the array of powers and resources it currently holds.”

noting that the bipartisan orientation of this pathway to national renewal had since been established, with the reports of the 2014 National Conference, administered under the People Democratic Party (PDP) government.

He added: “If democratic consolidation is about irreversibility of democracy, it is evident that what passes for democracy in Nigeria still requires to be scaled up, as a critical first step toward its consolidation.

However, the don listed the factors that undermined democracy and the possibilities of its consolidation in Nigeria, which need to be dealt with to include, but not limited to dysfunctional governance structure; neo-colonialism, marginally productivity, and non-inclusive economy; mass illiteracy; and deepening poverty.

Other factors, according to him, are the prevalent patterns of illiberal political culture, especially as exhibited by members of the governing elite; corruption (in its multiple dimensions); and the widening scope of insecurity in the land.”

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Huawei to establish ICT academy in Akwa poly



Huawei to establish ICT academy in Akwa poly

The effort of the Akwa Ibom State Government to reposition the state as a major destination for Information Communication Technology (ICT) has received a boast as a China-based multinational technology company, Huawei Technologies Company Limited, has concluded plans to establish a Huawei ICT Academy at the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic.

The Chairman, Governing Council of polytechnic, Mr. Ekpeyong Ntekim, disclosed this while addressing journalists at the Council Chamber of the polytechnic.

This was as he expressed delight that the academy when operational would go a long way in helping to provide ICT certifications that would be of tremendous academic and economic benefit to the state as students of the polytechnic will be trained in the latest trends of ICT by Huawei free of charge.

Ntekim, who further explained that with such certification, which could have cost N250,000, graduates of the academy would be equipped with skills and techniques to help them become employers of labour and not applicants in the labour market.

Besides, the Council chair hinted that under the partnership, members of staff of the polytechnic would also be trained as trainers to train others as part of moves to build capacity and manpower in the institution.

This, he noted, was one of the positive strides achieved by the institution in August this year,

He called when the Council was reconstituted in June 2019, it was resolved that the Acting Rector, on behalf of management, should segmentalise the courses and needs of the polytechnic in terms of equipment and staff in accordance with requirements and requisition of each department or course unit for the approval and funding for the purpose of accreditation by the National Board for Technical Education this month.

“In the course of the implementation of that decision, a committee was set up by management to undertake the exercise along department by department, course by course and this appeared to have been misconstrued by some persons who considered it, albeit grossly erroneously, as an audit probe and a witch-hunt.

Following series of misleading representations to Council, the council on August 16, met with the staff at a general meeting to allay their fears of any misconception,” he added.

At the meeting, he noted that “it was abundantly clear to all and sundry that the exercise was undertaken in the best interest of the institution and for the sole purpose of meeting the September 2019 accreditation needs of the institution.”

Ntekim, who stated that they were assured that should there be any need for investigation on the basis of credible and ascertainable allegations, it would be undertaken with dispatch, saying allegations that are motivated by ill-will, blackmail, pecuniary inducements and extortions would not be condoned.

On the attitude of some elements towards the fall of the institution, he pointed out: “This emergency press briefing is necessitated by the very unpatriotic venture as reflected in an apparently sponsored publications of grave implications to the status of Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic with false allegations of imminent closure of the institution by NBTC on the speculative appointment and or disqualification of a substantive Rector.”

He, therefore, described the internally sponsored publication of a threat by NBTE to shut down the polytechnic and allegations of alleged corruption against the Acting Rector as totally false, misconceived, mischievous and condemnable, stating that he could authoritatively  state and on behalf of the government that there had been no case of fraud against the Acting Rector and at no time did the government ever said he would not be confirmed as a substantive Rector.

While calling for a renewed bond of friendship and partnership from the media community in the state, the Council Chairman called on the media to carry out its constitutional duty with the highest degree of professional wisdom, decorum and patriotism in reporting issues concerning the polytechnic in a manner that will collectively build its image and attain its set noble objectives.

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Visitor pledges support for varsity’s development



Visitor pledges support for varsity’s development

Oyo State Governor and Visitor to the state-owned, the First Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan, Seyi Makinde, has assured the authorities of institution of his administration’s support to enhance the overall development of the ivory tower.

The governor made the pledge when members of the Governing Council of the university, led by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, visited him in his office.

The governor, who said that he was impressed with the calibre of eminent professionals on the Council, noted: “Looking at the composition of the Council, I can say you are men and women of great accomplishment and some of the best we can get around.”

“When we were dissolving all the boards, we made an exception to the university because we looked at the profile of the people involved and we were convinced that you are there on your own merit. If I were to choose members of the Council, I would have also chosen majority of you. We gave exception for Tech-U because of the work you are doing for the state.”

Makinde, however, explained that he had exercised caution in the matters concerning the university as he needed more information about the ownership profile of the university.

On the dire financial status of the state, the governor asked the university management to embark on a sustainability drive that would sustain the vision of the university, saying: “Be free and creative to do something that is consistent with available resources and aspiration of the government and people of Oyo State. I promise to give you my absolute support.”

While restating his administration’s commitment to provide qualitative education, the governor approved the sustenance of scholarship scheme instituted by the university to support indigent but brilliant students of the state  at the institution.

Meanwhile, Prof. Ibidapo-Obe, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, commended the governor for the strides so far recorded by his administration, assuring him that the university would provide requisite intellectual capacity to achieve the vision of the administration and tackle developmental challenges of the state.

On his part, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ayobami Salami thanked the governor for his support to the institution, and noted that with the strides already made by the university, which include obtaining its first patent within two years of commencement of academic activities and the recent Webometric World Universities Ranking that rated the university as one of the most impactful universities in the country, the institution is poised to become a notable science, technology and innovation hub the state and country would be proud of.

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Stakeholders decry influx of Almajiris, seek improved education quality



Stakeholders decry influx of Almajiris, seek improved education quality

Stakeholders in Nasarawa State informal education sector have decried what they described as increasing number of street urchins, otherwise referred to as Almajiris in the state.

Consequently, the stakeholders asked the state government to urgently proffer lasting solution to stop the influx of more Almajiris into the state, as well as improve the quality of their education.

They disclosed this during a stakeholders’ meeting, organised by the Nasarawa State Office of Bilingual Education Programme (BEP), which took place in Lafia, the state capital.

The state Chairman of Almajiri Schools, Imam Mohammed Ali, who expressed worry over the increasing figure of Almajiris in the state and described as alarming, recalled how one of the top security agencies in the state recently invited him and showed a truck fully loaded with Almajiri children who were brought from other states in the far North and dumped them at midnight in Lafia.

He blamed the influx of Almajiri into the state on government negligence to check the growing number of Almajiris in the state, saying no verse in the Holy Koran supports street begging.

Also speaking, the Chairperson of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Hajiya Aisha Idoma lamented the high number of street begging children in the state and admonished parents to be more responsive to education development of their children.

The duo suggested that the state government should as a matter of exigency, halt the movement of Almajiris into the state in order to enable relevant institutions to cater for the education needs of existing ones.

Meanwhile, the Programme Manager, Bilingual Education Programme in Nasarawa State (BEP), Hajiya Zainab Magaji stated that the event was organised to bring stakeholders together to discuss ways and means of improving Almajiri education, as well as sensitise them on their roles in achieving success of the programme in the state.

She noted that of the total out-of-school children in the world, over one sixth are in Nigeria, which accounted for over 10 million children, saying the rationale for involvement  the Islamic Development Bank (I’DB) in Bilingual Education Programme (BEP) is to equip Tsangaya Schools with modern facilities and adequate infrastructure such as classrooms, hostels, staff quarters, toilet facilities, school furniture and other learning materials to improve the quality of Almajiri education in the state.

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FG pledges to promote technical, vocational education



FG pledges to promote technical, vocational education

The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to promoting and sustaining science and technological education in the country.

This was as the government promised that it would leave no stone unturned in its effort at providing qualitative education and making such the birthright of every Nigerian child.

The President and Moderator to the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti (ADOPOLY), President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this during the combined 17th convocation of the polytechnic, where he noted that the government was investing hugely in physical and infrastructural development of the education sector.

The President, who was represented by the Director of Tertiary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Joel Ojo, however, restated his administration’s resolve not to relent in its effort at supporting and sustaining the development of technical and vocational education towards the nation’s technological and industrial emancipation.

No fewer than 17,000 graduating students received their scrolls for the award of National Diploma (ND), Higher National Diploma (HND) and certificates of the polytechnic at the combined graduation for 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic sessions.

The high point of the one-week activities was the conferment of  Honorary Fellowship of the polytechnic on four distinguished Nigerians, who are the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje; former Minister of Education and former Governor of Ebonyi State, Senator Sam Egwu; the Chairman of NIPCO Plc, Dr. Paul Bestman Anekwe; and the Chief Executive Officer of Hydrodam Nigeria Limited, Otunba Femi Ogunleye, who is an alumnus of the polytechnic.

Responding on behalf of other recipients, Ganduje called for the removal of the dichotomy between university graduates (Bachelor Degree) and their polytechnic counterparts (Higher National Diploma) in the civil service scheme.

Ganduje, who was the Chairman of the 8th Governing Council of the plytechnic, however, underscored the relevance of polytechnic education to national development, saying it is central to the efforts of the federal and state government towards addressing the high rate of unemployment in the country.

Meanwhile, the Governing Council Chairman, Chief Austin Igwe Edeze, called on the President to upgrade the polytechnic to a degree awarding institution, even as he further solicited increase in the polytechnic’s capital vote, as well as prompt release of its subventions/allocations in order to improve the level of infrastructural facilities.

Giving the breakdown of the graduating students, the Rector, Dr. Dayo Oladebeye, said of the 16,786 graduating students, a total of 287 HND students obtained Distinction; 2,229 obtained Upper Credit; 3,765 graduated with Lower Credit, while 717 had Pass Grade. 

In the ND category, the Rector noted that 261 students also obtained Distinctions; while 2,378 had Upper Credit; 4,790 graduated with Lower Credit and 2,265 obtained Pass Grade.

According to him, the over 42-year-old institution, like its other contemporaries bogged down with infrastructural decay, would require about N5billion to fix the rot.

The Rector listed this to include the poor road network on the campus, dilapidated and dearth of building structures, laboratories/workshops, among other.

Oladebeye, while congratulating the students and their parents, he advised the graduating students not to see their certificates as the end of life, but rather as a sign of new things to come

He further urged them to be good ambassadors of the institution wherever they found themselves, saying they should also see their graduation from the polytechnic as a call to new life of service to the country and humanity.

The 17th convocation lecture on entitled: “Exploring Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Mechatronic World:  The Place of Polytechnics in Entrepreneurial Educational Development in Nigeria,” was delivered by Prof. Sam Adejuyigbe, a Professor of Computer Aided Engineering and expert in Mechatronic.

He, however, called for the provision of intervention fund support in the areas of entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence, mechatronics and robotics education through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the Petroleum Development Trust Fund (PTDF) in order to actualise the nation’s quest for technological development.

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PEPT: Now that the verdict has been delivered



PEPT: Now that the verdict has been delivered

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) sitting in Abuja, last week, threw out the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, against President Muhammadu Buhari over the February 23, 2019 presidential election.

Buhari was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.

The tribunal held that contrary to Atiku’s petition that Buhari was not qualified to contest the election on the basis of his educational qualification, the president was eminently qualified to run for the election.

The Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man panel, also, in a unanimous judgement that lasted for almost nine hours, threw out the entire petition of Atiku. The tribunal reasoned that the petitioners – Atiku and PDP – failed to prove all their allegations beyond reasonable doubt.

Among other things that came out of the ruling of the tribunal were that contrary to APC’s claim that Atiku was not a Nigerian by birth, he was a Nigerian; that tradermoni, the masses-oriented Federal Government’s welfare programme, did not amount to bribing the electorate; that Livy Uzoukwu, Atiku’s lawyer, was recognised at the Supreme Court and that Atiku’s petition cannot be dismissed as demanded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It is a few days after the verdict. By Nigeria’s constitution, the courts are the final arbiter in any dispute. Currently, the court has ruled against Atiku on his petition at the tribunal level, but we are aware that he has another window at the Supreme Court to further his case, fault the ruling of the tribunal or demand a review.

The former vice president either has the option of accepting the tribunal ruling and move on or going on appeal at the Supreme Court.

We are of the view that whatever option he chooses remains his right. We cannot forget in haste that President Buhari won the presidency on his fourth attempt. The three previous ones he lost in 2003, 2007 and 2011, he went all the way to the Supreme Court to pursue his cause. He did not succeed. Rather, it was in 2015 that he was able to unseat the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to become president.

Until Atiku exhausts his right in this case, he is still within the legal means.

That is why we think that some of the utterances that have followed the ruling, particularly from APC, should not come up at this time. We do not, for instance, find the comment of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that Atiku should apologise to Nigerians over the tribunal matter as appropriate.

We are aware that in 2011, when Buhari lost the presidential election to Jonathan, there was bloodshed in some states of the North, including Bauchi, where many corps members were murdered in cold blood.

Nigerians rose to condemn such barbarism on citizens over an election. After that, Buhari still went to the tribunal and lost. He did not apologise to Nigerians over the time spent at the tribunal to challenge former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua or even Jonathan. Nigerians did not demand apologies from Buhari because it was believed he was within his rights.

By the same token, the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, had boasted that the party would defeat Atiku and PDP, even at the World Court. While we can pass that as a confidence statement from Oshiomhole, we do not agree with the tone of arrogance the statement was laced with.

APC might think that it has a water-tight defence against Atiku, but such statements, coming when the Supreme Court has not ruled on the matter, smacks of overconfidence. We are aware that the Supreme Court’s decision is final and cannot be appealed against. Although, history does not favour Atiku, when viewed from the prism that no Nigerian president has even been removed by the courts, we are also mindful that no Nigerian president was defeated in any election until 2015, when Jonathan lost to Buhari.

That is why we call for caution. Even on the side of PDP, it is important that decorum is maintained in the language used over the ruling. PDP cannot expect to get any justice at the Supreme Court by running down judges of the Appeal Court, who did not favour it. It is not cast in stone that the tribunal would favour PDP, neither is it a right that the courts must unseat Buhari. It is entirely a decision of the court based on the facts and arguments before it.

We strongly believe that even if Atiku goes to the Supreme Court and loses, the world would not come to an end. It did not come to an end for Buhari, after three attempts. What matters is Nigeria and the spirit of sportsmanship, knowing well that there is another day after the ruling.

We implore both APC and PDP to show humility with the ruling, bearing in mind that Nigeria is the main issue. It is not a personality contest. It is about the interest of Nigeria, which is and should remain paramount to all players in the political game.

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Old boys reward students, teachers



Old boys of Edo College, Benin-City, under the aegis of the Edo College Old Boys Association (ECOBA), Lagos branch have rewarded some deserving students and teachers of the college for their exemplary performance.

No fewer than 19 different prizes and awards were doled out during the 2019 graduation and prize-giving ceremony, which took place on the premises of the school.

Speaking during the graduation, where no fewer than 143 students bade the school farewell, the state Head of Service (HoS), Mr. Isaac Ehiozuwa, who chaired the event, commended the management and members of staff of the school for sustaining the excellent standard the school is noted for over the years.

According to the Head of Service, who was represented by the Director of Administration and Supplies in the office, Mr. Edwin Oaikhena Edionweme, a lot had been done by the school authorities, but more are still needed to be done.

He, therefore, advised the staff to ensure that the right discipline and moral rectitude were inculcated in the students that would bring joy to the parents.

“We are all aware of the steps taken by the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki in the education sector. It is therefore good to key into the mission and vision of this administration,” he added.

The National President of the association, Dr. Reuben Osahon, who lauded the old boys for their immense contributions to the development of their alma mater, enjoined the graduating students to find the nearest branch where they could join the association.

“The law states that after two years of graduation from the school without being expelled you are qualified to be a member of ECOBA. If you have benefited from the institution, it is your responsibility to contribute to the development of the 82-year-old school,” he noted.

The recipients of the association’s various awards and prizes include the best SS III student in Mathematics, which was presented to Efosa Illoware Eghenayamose. The prize is being sponsored by Senator David Dafinone Foundation; The best English Language SS3 award sponsored by Mr. Sunday Airrue Uaboi, was won by Odiase Micheal; the best SS3 Economics award sponsored by Senator David Dafinone Foundation and presented to Elaigwu Augustine Ugbede-Ojo; the best Accounts SS3 award also sponsored by Senator David Dafinone Foundation to Izekor Jefferson and the best SS3 Physics award sponsored by Mr. Edward E. Iyamu, which was received by Emina Attah Emeka.

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Bridge teacher for maiden Nigerian Teachers’ TV show



For her delivery of modern child-centred teaching philosophy, best practice of classroom management techniques, a teacher, MaryJane Ikeakaonwu, who teaches in Bridge International Academies, Daddy Savage in Fagba community, Ifako-Ijaiye, Lagos has participated in the maiden Nigerian Teachers TV Reality Show, held in Abuja.

The TV Reality Show, which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), was designed to spotlight the incredible work of teachers in building the nation’s future.

The teachers selected across federation competed for one of the 15 spaces available in the TV Show.

To qualify for the contest, Ikeakaonwu, who teaches Primary 6 pupils, focuses her teaching on the ‘big four teaching moves’ in line with the Bridge International Academies modules based to management of effective classroom and improve learning outcomes; learning to follow the teacher guides to deliver effective lessons; checking on each and every child’s learning; responding with feedback that accelerates pupils’ learning outcomes, and; motivating pupils towards good behaviour and academic effort.

“It is through the lens of these ‘big four’ critical teaching skills and associated teaching techniques that teachers learn the approaches and techniques necessary to teach effectively in every lesson, every day,” the Public Relations Manager for the Academies, Femi Awopetu said.

According to him, Ikeakaonwu’s teaching success comes from training and classroom teaching focused on narrating the positive, encouraging children and ensuring that no child is left behind using techniques such as scanning and wait time.

He noted that teaching techniques such as corporal punishment were banned in her classroom as they damage pupil-teacher relationship, as well as undermine a child’s ability to learn.

Talking about her excitement at appearing on the first ever TV show, Ikeakaonwu said: “It is amazing that I am a champion for teachers. Teaching is such an amazing profession. Every single day I help children to shape their future. I am educating the lawyers, doctors, engineers that will shape the future of their communities and also help in building our great country.

“It is such a privilege and I hope that the TV show will help Nigerians realise what an amazing profession teaching is and encourage them to support the teachers in their communities, or even become one.”

Meanwhile, the Academic Director of Bridge Nigeria, Rhoda Odigboh, said: “We are so proud of Ikeakaonwu’s participation and success in the competition. To be placed in the top 15 teachers in the entire country is an incredible achievement. The whole Bridge family across the continent wishes her the best of luck. Bridge believes that all teachers should be given the support to succeed and that with ongoing support, training and resources every teacher can excel. She will have an opportunity to showcase to Nigeria the training and teaching skills that make her and all Bridge teachers so tick.

“Our teachers must take credit for the success of their pupils. It is the dedication, passion and hard work of our teachers, which enable us to transform the opportunities for children across the country.”

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Edo poly opens centre for academic development



Edo poly opens centre for academic development

The management of Edo State Polytechnic, Usen has unfolded plans to open the Chief C. O. Inneh Centre for Academic Success and Counselling as part of efforts to enhance quality delivery and positively transform the academic life of the students.

The centre, which will be housed on the polytechnic campus, will be renovated and fully equipped by the donor, Chief Chris Omoregie Inneh (JP), the Obasoyen n’ Iguneromwon of Benin Kingdom.

Apart for the centre, Chief Omoregie also instituted a N50,000 scholarship award in perpetuity for the Overall Best Student in Mechanical Engineering in the institution.

In a chat with journalists, the Rector of the institution, Prof. Abiodun Falodun, said that the centre was guided by the polytechnic and the benefactor’s shared commitment to students’ success.

“In our respect for multiple perspectives and identities, we promote student autonomy and interdependence within the polytechnic community. Across all the units within the Centre for Academic Success and Counselling, a community of staff and students will foster academic growth and unfettered access to education for all.”

This was as the Rector added that the centre would go a long way in helping to promote effective and efficient learning in the polytechnic through provision of necessary academic tips and guidelines for excellence in scholarship.

“The centre focuses on creating exciting and inclusive environment, nurturing students’ identity development, personal and academic growth, as innovative and collaborative student advocates, as well as providing excellent and effective services,” he added.

He noted that the centre would deploy state-of-the-art facilities available in the institution, especially the ICT centre to support students in developing their academic skills and achieve their goals.

According to Falodun, the centre would also be assisted with academic planning towards ensuring quality control of academic programmes as well as conduct lecturers’ assessment by students in line with global best practice.

On the scholarship endowed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, he said: “For the first time in the history of Edo State Polytechnic, Chief C.O. Enoma-Inneh (JP) has instituted a scholarship in perpetuity for the overall best mechanical engineering student in Edo State Polytechnic. The scholarship award of N50, 000 will be awarded to the best student during the institution’s convocation, starting from the 2019 convocation.”

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