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FUL VC Tussles: Disqualification of Igala Professors, in a strong words Igala professors write a protest letter to Minister of Education

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The selection process for the appointment of a Vice Chancellor for the Federal University of Lokoja  has been suspended by court the court of competent jurisdiction, the development that seems to have fallen on a deaf ears of the governing council of the university with plan to go ahead with the interview despite the court order, the development that attracted reaction from the Who is who in igala land and other relevant igala bodies who wrote a petition to the minister on the needs for Justuce and fair treatment of professors from Igala kingdom.

A source confirms that despite the order, the university authority yesterday conducted the interview, with the end being subject to disputes.
Here is the letter:

The Honourable Minister of Education,

Federal Ministry of Education,

Federal Capital Territory,

Abuja

Dear sir,

On the Flawed Process of appointment of Vice Chancellor at Federal University Lokoja: A Call for Transparency, Justice and Fair play

We, the undersigned, are leaders of two frontline organizations namely: The Igala Professors Forum, and Ukomu IgalaOrganization.

As it will be clear from this protest letter, we are not complaining on the ground that it is the entitlement of the Igala to produce the next Vice-Chancellor of the University, considering that any qualified Nigerian citizen can be appointed to the position. We are protesting on the ground that exceedingly qualified Igala candidates are citizens of Nigeria and their exclusion on grounds other than merit is unconscionable, objectionable and should be remedied in the interest of justice and fair play. We are guided by the injunction that a nation can endure unbelief, but not injustice.

We have observed with keen interest, recent developments in connection with the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor forFederal University Lokoja. We were particularly intrigued by the news in the social media, that ALL the ten Igala Professors that applied were disqualified from the process for reasons that can never be academic, to any competent objective observer that hasgood working knowledge of indices of academic excellence that are expected to be brought to bear in the administration and management of any higher institution that is aspiring to attain world class status any time in the future. The ten IgalaProfessors that applied include the following: Professor Sunday E. Atawodi, Professor Patrick A. Audu, Professor Emmanuel Achor, Professor Friday Ati, Professor Mohammed Bello Yunusa, Professor Stephen Ocheni, Professor Dominic A. Akpaand Professor Isaac Itodo.

We came to this conclusion following analysis and comparison between the twelve (12) shortlist and some of the IgalaProfessors that were disqualified from further participation in the process:

i. A Google scholar search revealed that whereas, at least,five of the Igala Professors had between 35 and 165 GoogleScholar –accessible Publications on the internet, six (6) (or 50%) of the twelve top shortlist for position of VC by FUL council have GoogleScholar –accessible Publications of only between 2 and 20. Other indices academic impact like googlescholarcitations and h-index are even more revealing.

ii. Whereas, at least three (3) of the ten disqualified IgalaProfessors were elevated to the rank of Professors, mostly in first generation universities, between ten (10) and up to twenty (20) or more years ago, some of the top FUL Council’s shortlist for VC currently have less than ten (10) years of experience as Professors, and many of them from second and third generation Universities.

iii. While, at least one of the disqualified Igala Professors is a Fellow of the merit-based apex umbrella scientific organization, the Nigerian Academy of Science, none of those on the shortlist appears to have earned such scholarly status (Fellow of Nigerian Academy of Science or Fellow of Nigerian Academy of Letters).

iv. Whereas, some of the disqualified Igala Professors have notable national and international exposures, having won some competitive international research fellowships, grants and scholarships, and are, or have been members of some relevant national committeesfor grant administration (like TETfund StandingCommittee on Research and Development, National Research Fund, Nigerian Science Prize, etc), most that made it to the FUL Council’s shortlist for VC simply lack such national or international qualities.

v. Whereas, many of the disqualified Igala Professors have administrative experiences as Head of Department, Assistant Deans, Deputy Deans and even Directors in mostly, first and second generation universities where administration is more complex and challenging, many of the shortlisted candidates can only flout “higher” administrative experiences in far much younger universities and private institutions, where administration is at best, routine.

vi. In circumstances of stiff competition for position of Vice Chancellor, parameters such as presentation of “Inaugural Lecture”, being a desirable academic responsibility, is usually introduced. However, it is observed that while some disqualified Igala Professors have presented their “Inaugural Lectures”, some of the shortlisted candidates have not.

vii. As if these anomalies were not enough, the Council of Federal University Lokoja appears to have involveditself in some “inexplicable maneuvers” in order to achieve a pre-determined outcome. These include:

(a) Appointing a “Shortlisting Committee” to undertake a generally discredited shortlisting process that is antithetical to academic traditions and inimical to dream of any institution of higher learning to work towards attaining world-class status by using criteria that are not the most essential academic criteria in appointing a Vice Chancellor that has robust capacity to take FUL to the next level, is not acceptable. This is because,there is no provision for such a committee under the University Laws.  What is provided for, is “Selection Committee” that will undertake both shortlisting and Interview of the candidates.

(b) The criteria used by the so-called “ShortlistingCommittee” to disqualify Igala Professors were supposed to be debated, amended and accepted by the whole council for implementation by the Selection Committee, even before applications were opened by the Committee. None of these basic principles of international, or even national best practices was adhered to.

(c) Instead of discharging its duties within the premises of Federal University Lokoja under the full glare of the administrative and security structures of the University, the “Shortlisting Committee” met twice in Abuja in a very suspicious move (first for about a week), in order to performits “duties” when there is no imminent breach to security in FUL premises, or indeed, Lokoja town.

(d) Despite the claim that the “Shortlisting Committee” was guided by “objective criteria”, it is curious that it made highly subjective judgment that highly ranking academics of Igala origin were excluded on the ground that their CVs did not show that they have the required ICT proficiency and are not capable of fundraising from external sources to support the University. It would appear to us that this conclusion is premature since this kind of judgment can only be valid after the selection committee would have interacted with a candidate.

(e) From investigation, it appears to us that some pre-anointed candidates were provided privileged information on how to structure their CV to achieve a pre-determined outcome. This information was not available to the non-preferred candidates like those of Igala extraction.

Based on these anomalies, we are compelled to believe that the Council of Federal University Lokoja has not displayed adequate evidence of intention and or capacity to fairly and transparently organize, implement and supervise an acceptable merit-based process that would lead to the  appointment of a Vice Chancellor with intellectual capacity, relevant national and international exposures, and social and political acceptability to lead Federal University Lokoja in a way that would usher in steady development and stability in the next dispensation. Therefore, we would like to humbly call on you, sir, to call the Chairman of Council of Federal University Lokoja to order, so as to prevent break down of law and order in the institution in the short run, and to avoid continued stagnation of the University, in the long run.

Sir, for the sake of justice, we look forward to your prompt intervention that would lead to complete review of the current process so as to guarantee objective, merit-based assessment that would be transparent, free and fair to all candidates, as well as the University system.

Please accept the assurances of our highest regards,

Professor Danladi Ameh,​​​​

Comptroller of Customs (RTD) Amade Abdul

Chairman, Igala Professors’ Forum​​​National Leader,

Ukomu Igala Organization.

Attached is the copy of court order.

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Education

200 level student of Ondo University commits suicide (photo)

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A 200-level female student in the Department of Political Science at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Feranmi Fasunle Omowumi, has committed suicide.

 

The Nation reports that Fasunle reportedly drank poisonous substances believed to be sniper. She died this morning after being taken to several hospitals.

 

She did not leave any suicide note to indicate the reason for her actions.

 

Some students attributed her actions to heartbreak but a friend who refused to say her name said the late Fasunle was not into any relationship.

 

Confirming the incident, the spokesman of the institution, Victor Akinpelumi, said the management sympathizes with the family.

 

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Education

Maths genius Maniru Ibrahim bags €20m scholarship for PhD at Ireland’s Science Centre

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A Nigerian first class graduate of Mathematics, Maniru Ibrahim, has been offered a €20 million scholarship for a four-year PhD programme at Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research Training in the Foundation of Data Science.

Ibrahim graduated in 2017 from Usman Danfodiyo University, in Sokoto.

The programme starts in September. Ibrahim is at present rounding off his Masters program in Theoretical Physics at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Italy.

In Ireland, he will be a PhD student at Limerick University, Ireland, with all the expenses to be bankrolled by Ireland Science Foundation Centre.

As part of the scholarship package, Ibrahim will earn a yearly allowance of €18,500 for the duration of his four-year programme.

The scholarship funds also include travel and accommodation allowances for conferences related to his studies.

Ibrahim who broke the news of his success to Daily Star Nigeria said he was completely home-grown.

He had his primary, secondary and university education all in Sokoto and was posted to Zamfara for the National Youth Service programme.

Ibrahim is the first African to be invited to join the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research Training in the Foundation of Data Science.

The school is a specialist one.

On its website, it says it is out to train a cohort of 130+ PhD students in a large-scale collaborative initiative between the University of Limerick (UL), Maynooth University (MU) and University College Dublin (UCD).

The students will have training in world-class foundational understanding in the horizontal themes of Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Machine Learning.

“These fundamental themes will be fused together by applying them to real-world challenges across five vertical themes including Data Analytics, Privacy & Security, Health & Wellbeing, Smart Manufacturing, and Networks.

“Our unique PhD training programme fosters a cohort-based training environment, which supports our students to collaborate with industry through training and an industry training placement; to collaborate with international research teams, and to work across multiple disciplines.

“At the heart of our Centre vision is understanding the importance of preparing you, the student, with a wide breadth of technical and transversal skills to equip you with the skills to translate your research into meaningful, real-world applications”.

At the moment, the centre has 63 students on board, from diverse nations.

Ibrahim said he was surprised he was picked for the programme, after he was rejected by other schools, 20 times.
At first I was a bit discouraged and frustrated, but when I saw this scholarship, I just decided to give it a trial, and gratefully, I made it.

 

 

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Education

Common Entrance; Kogi Parents Groans Over Inability To Pay 13,500.

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Some parents in Kogi state has described as an extortionist policy by kogi state government, for payment of common entrance examination fees of 13,500 by pupils preparing to transit from primary school to secondary school, OBSERVERS TIMES report.

This is against the background of the government policy directing Principals of secondary schools to channel such payment through a pay platform, created by the state government through the Ministry of Education.

Hithero, payment for common entrance examination is usually free of charge,so the new development has raised unnecessary pressure on the poor parents in Kogi state.

This is coming at a time salary payment to workers is in percentage and not forthcoming to sustain the daily running of various homes,with poor business environment.

Most parents can not even afford such payment as it is on the high side,as many of the pupils may loose the chances of transiting to secondary schools for lack of funds.

The state government has resorted to mopping up of funds from agecises of government and parastatatals, owing to dwindling federal allcations and inability to access further loans from commercial Banks or financial institutions.

Kogi,though not on the disadvantaged states list educationally,but the indices in the last five years shows alot of backwardness in its education program owing to policy somersault.

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