Office of the Provost and the Vagaries of Desperadoes: A Need to set the Record Straight in Federal College of Education, Pankshin

By Owoicho Omaje

Ordinarily, I would have remained silent and watched from beside the stage, the series of implausible dramatic scenes which are scripted and are recently being played out in Federal College of Education, Pankshin.

But for the reason that my silence would leave the continuous spread of the implausibility in the dramatic errors to spiral into a threshold of make belief which may twist the sensibilities of the audience and the general public, setting the record aright has become not just necessary but highly imperative.

Besides, I will fall guilty of Frank Fanons sobriquet that “Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor.

Not once, not twice a minute group of self serving elements in this Institution have hidden under fictitious names to bedraggle the person of the Provost and by extension set aback the wheel of College progress.

This fiction which has always been replete with incongruities came to a head sometime in December, 2019, when the character design was latched on members of one of the campus trade unions.

During one of the unions congresses, the stock characters were dispatched to play their assigned roles; to make sure the aim of calling the congress was not achieved just to frustrate the College Management.

The plot was brought to nullity and the characters received congress opprobrium; No sooner did they start than the well meaning congress men and women present did understand that there was a plot directed at the person of Dr. Amos Bulus Cirfat.

Consequently, the plot failed woefully and the Provosts name came out clean.

The dramatists did not relent. This time around their plot fell on what they called Affected Graduates of the College. A silhouette character was designed and named Kazi and placed on the social media locale.

This drama of errors was entitled: Collapsing House of Cards: the Untold Story and Power Play at Plateau State Federal College of Education, Pankshin. Unwittingly, the thematic issues raised there were that: (1) College Management had endorsed the Provost for a second tenure. (2) Some staffers who served on a College committee chaired by the Provost were denied allowances (3) The Provost changed established procedure, to relegate his perceived opponents and that the attempt put the Provost at loggerhead with the Governing Council.

(4) Some NANS Officials gave the Provost an award and he purportedly refused to pay for the award.
Now listen and listen attentively! Kazi, you alleged that the Provost refused to pay for the award of excellence bestowed on him, but your morbid curiosity beclouded your sense of reasoning to understand that the award was not put up for sale in the first place. Secondly, it is on record that the Provost at several fora declared that he had not, and would never request, any group or individual to give him award. It therefore, goes without stating the fact that if the national officials NANS gave him an award for meritorious service, it was a matter of their own ardent volition and recognition of hard work; and what they saw as an act of giving merit to those who deserve it. To bring up an issue of money payment in this matter is an act of mischief.

This mischief maker and author of House of Cards demonstrated a crass ignorance of the rules and procedures guiding the selection and appointment of Provost by jumping into the careless conclusion that the current Provost changed the procedure for appointment of the provosts.

I ask, what is the procedure, which part of the procedure did he change? Just in case you want to know, there are documents of Federal Government of Nigeria transmitted through Federal Ministry of Education and the National Commission for Colleges of Education to Federal College of Education Pankshin. These documents include Establishment Decree and Circular(s) which spell out in clear terms the processes and guidelines for appointment of Provost and renewal of such appointment. As a law abiding Academic and Chief Executive who has won many laurels for diligence and splendor in service, Dr Cirfat has not and will not consciously act or be in any way involved in flouting those rules that brought him to office as Provost.

On the examination results you alluded to, the challenges did not occur in Cirfats era. They were as old as four years before Dr Cirfat assumed office as Provost. Some times between 2013 and 2015, the entire College was closed down twice for periods of six months each. The closure happened due to persistent industrial disharmony. In 2016 there was another strike action that lasted for about three months.

Cumulatively, the College lost about one and half academic sessions. Thus the College was forced to run two academic sessions parripassu.

As a consequence, staff became over worked and the resultant effect slowed down academic activities including marking and compilation of examinations results. On assumption of office in January 2017, Dr Cirfat undaunted by the development set out and successfully over came the challenges.

The success even earned him accolades not just from the students and their parents/ guardians but from the Governing Council and NCCE. The efforts that brought about this success were not latched on external motivation but purely an inbuilt patriotism and altruism.

Having made these achievements, how on earth could this patriotic and altruistic chief executive be the one to spew the feat he has achieved, why would anyone think that Dr Cirfat could deceive students about their examinations results? Of course there is no logic in reasoning that he could do that. He is a God fearing father to all.

This deluded author also stated that the Provost was at loggerhead with the Governing Council but he did not tell us how, when, where and on what occasion the Provost had this negative engagemant. Mr Kazi stated that a member of the Council said he did not want to be involved in any local politics.

Oh yes! I am sure it was the Council members polite way of saying you lied.
In a further demonstration of ignorance, you said some staffers who served on a College committee were defrauded of their entitlements by the Provost and that he was Chairman of the Committee. Imagine, how can the Chief Executive who gives approvals to constitute College Committees turn round to be the chairman of an adhoc committee, as if he does not have his executive schedules; who will agree to this lopsided logic? It is only a figment of your imagination and the childish maneuvers of desperadoes who are trying to run faster than their shadows.
You said a member of the College Management who was opposed to the endorsement of second tenure for the Provost promised to come out in protest of the supposed endorsement. Please know that the College Management members have always remained united and that there was no endorsement as you alleged. Management did just what the law of the Government of the Federation stipulated. Going by such laws and guidelines, only a bandwagon of desperadoes who have been pushed by blind rush to drive their cars without wheels that can say the Provost was given an endorsement by College Management.

Thank God the College staff who cherished and upheld the tenets of truth sought explanations on this rumour and the Provost, along with his supportive Management members, held official meeting with these staffers where he(Provost) gave copious explanations. The staffers who stated that they were satisfied with the explanation rose with profuse appreciation for the Provost and his team, and the rumour has since been buried.

As the dust generated by the rumour was about to settle and the accentuated bad blood was beginning to abet, these tribalists resurrected with their hegemonic antics; not from death but from the stupor they have suffered so far in their deluded moves. This time around they found Achilles hill in FCE Pankshin Alumni Association:

An online publication anchored by one James Abraham entitled, “FCE Group Kick against Tenure Extension for Provost”. In the opening paragraph of the paper, the writer alleged that ‘crisis was brewing at the Federal College of Education, Pankshin in Plateau State’ because in the writers haluscsinatory over statement that, ‘different groups within the institution were kicking against the alleged plans to extend the tenure of the Provost’.

For crying out loud sake, there are four trade unions in the College viz: COESU, SSUCOEN, NASU and NAAT. Alumni is an assemblage of ex students who are distant from, and therefore have little or no knowledge of the administrative underpinnings of the College. COESU and NAAT are associations of Academics who are currently in their respective homes due to COVID 19. NASU and SSUCOEN are non teaching segment of the College who are charged with the duties of policy designs and implementation, and therefore the very competent groups to talk about qualification in this regard. If these four trade unions do not have problems with the Provost coming back for second tenure, what you called tenure extension, I wonder why James Abraham would state that crisis is brewing in the College because of what you called tenure extension. Crisis for what? Dr Cirfat is only in his first tenure which is renewable.

You can only talk of tenure extension where the Chief Executive completes his first and second tenures and goes on to request for a third tenure. Are you imagining that the Provost is going for third term in office? How many alumni associations do we have in the College? One we know as recognized by the College is made up of law abiding officials and none of the officials was mentioned in your paper. Therefore, it could be safely concluded that you put on your rubble rouser garb and conscripted a group of boys, most of whom have even come out and dissociated themselves, and used the word groups (plural) in the caption to refer to your own alumni association who ostensibly held a phantom meeting. If anything, it should be known that Alumni is just one out of many groups in the College and that the one recognized as a registered association has no hand in this matter. After all, many of the names mentioned in that shenanigan have come out not only to deny involvement, but to vehemently denounce the sinister action of this so called groups members.

In a stage managed press conference you allegedly held in Jos you stated as follows:
by our own expectation and collectively agreed vision, FCE Pankshin today needs better suited course programmes (not simply the reaccreditation of existing ones), better facilties (and not just TETFund sponsored ones)all these aspiration of [ours] are presently almost vanished or nonexistent in [our] own estimation.

The fairest conclusion I have drawn on this statement is that you and members of your group are oblivious of what is happening in FCE Pankshin and your ignorance of the development in the College is pardonable for the simple reason that you said in your statement the assessment of the development of the College was based on your own estimation. And I say the estimation is founded on warped knowledge because it did not reflect the realities on ground.
Placing fact against fact, it should be understood that the last time there was fully blown employment in the College was in 2010.

Since then, the Federal Government slammed an embargo against the College. On assumption of office in January, 2017, the Provost embacked on diplomatic demanche shuttling between Pankshin and Abuja in rain and in shine, in the day and at night just to get the embargo lifted (remember the embargo was for no fault of his). He was just trying to atone for the sins committed by others). Glory be to God; today the embargo is no more and the indefatigable Chief Executive is leaving no stone unturned to get Government permission and funds to carry staff recruitment.

At the beginning of the year 2017, FCE Pankshin could not access a single TETFund projects that were officially allocated over a period of three years. The inability to access these allocations was caused by non-completion of earlier awarded ones. Today, the story is one of success. Dr Cirfat ensured that all the projects were accessed and fully completed and handed over. Through a dint of his hard work as recognized by TETFund the College has won and was awarded TETFund Special High Impact Project allocation. Record has it that FCE Pankshin is the only College that won that allocation in the entire Northern Nigeria. Infact the College never had it better.

You alleged that the College only had re accreditation of course programmes, because your little knowledge and malevolence did not tell you that two Schools, School of Adult, Non Formal And Special Education (ANF&SPE) as well as that of Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) came on board during the tenure of Dr Amos Bulus Cirfat, and all the Departments there have been accredited. You are not aware that the Provost has gone very far in getting the Federal Government approval to convert Federal College of Education, Pankshin to a University of Education. Allah Sarki !
Dr Cirfat is on the right keel and has remained focused. Ours is not a move for tenure extension but a quest to legally get a second tenure of office to complete the good works he has started. Those who think they can be used to stop him should think twice; what goes around comes around. To the rubble rousers it should be known that Dr Cirfat is undaunted and impervious to your sponsored campaign of calumny because he subsists in the belief that all powers come from God. We also believe that no man can alter his destiny. In God we trust.

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Office of the Provost and the Vagaries of Desperadoes: A Need to set the Record Straight in Federal College of Education, Pankshin

About The Author
- A graduate of mass communication ABU Zaria, journalist, media consultant and a Film maker. Giving a voice to the voiceless