TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY MOVEMENT FOR THE ADVANCEMENT AND PROTECTION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF JOS (MAAPU) READ BY COMRADE DANIEL SATI TANKO ON THE 12TH DAY OF MAY, 2021 IN JOS.
Gentlemen of the Press
We crave the indulgence of the general public to give a vivid background of unfolding developments at the University.
For a University that has operated for over four decades with a turnover of hundreds of thousands of graduates to be turned into a ground for uncanny political grandstanding by certain centrifugal forces is rather a very sad commentary on our educational system.
We address you today to voice out our concern over negative developments at the University of Jos in recent times and the unfolding drama going on there, in respect of the selection of a new Vice Chancellor.
You are aware that as a tradition, a process was put in place for a smooth transition as the tenure of the current Vice-Chancellor Professor Sebastian Seddi Maimako, is to elapse.
First, as mandated by Section 3 (2)a of the University’s Act, advertisements were placed in some notable National Dailies for suitable qualified candidates to apply for the Vice-Chancellorship of the University between the periods of 23rd December 2020 to the 4th of February 2021.
Two, a Search Panel, in line with Section 3 (2)b of the Institution’s Act, headed by Hon. Usman Lamido was set up by the University Governing Council, kick-starting the selection process. Sadly, tragedy struck on 1st February, 2021 when the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University Governing Council Hon. Prince Tony Momoh passed on. May his soul rest in peace.
Since nature abhors vacuum, the Governing Council met to continue the process as stipulated by the University Act which spells out clearly that in the absence of the Chairman of Council, Members Present can elect one of them to preside over a meeting when a quorum is formed. This was done and Dr. Mrs. Philomena Mutbam was elected to chair the meeting. The same Council met and selected a three man Interview Panel with Dr. Mrs. Philomena Mutbam elected as its Chairman.
However, four days to the interview proper, a new twist was introduced into the exercise when the National Universities Commission ( NUC) ordered the immediate suspension of interview. Thereafter, the Council was invited to Abuja for a meeting with the NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education. The meeting was held and its outcome never faulted the process but said that since Dr. Mrs. Philomena Mutbam was not the Pro-Chancellor she can not chair the interview session. What a travesty! The meeting later agreed that the Hon. Minister of Education should convey the outcome of the meeting to the Visitor, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the resolution to appeal that the Visitor should cause a letter to be issued to Dr. Mrs. Philomena Mutbam to complete the process within four days.
Gentleman of the Press as we speak to you now, nothing has been heard from either the Minister or NUC, thereby making us to be curious and suspicious of the powers that be, that an agenda to short-change the process and bring in a cohort as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jos is clearly unfolding.
We of the Movement for the Advancement and Protection of University of Jos strongly feel that there is a deliberate attempt to stampede and cause confusion by some people who do not have the interest of the University and indeed Plateau State at heart.
Given the history of the University of Jos when the late J.D. Gomwalk, of blessed memory toiled to bring it to bear, we are consternated that a group that has never seen anything good in the Plateau project is bend on truncating the progress that the University has achieved since its establishment. We refused to be intimidated by retrogressive forces that are ganged up against this progressive institution, we also know that some of our sons and daughters are in this conspiracy that is directed at the Indigenous academia in the University.
All the excuses given by the National University Commission and the Federal Ministry of Education in demonizing the Dr Philomena Mutbam Election Panel on the Vice Chancellor’s issue are lame and mere academic idiosyncrasy created to give credence to their plot to short change Plateau from its rightful position in the University. Or how can one justify this act of injustice when in the same vain, the University of Benin (UNIBEN) was able to elect a Vice Chancellor without a sitting Pro-Chancellor? We certainly find it funny that whenever any matter concerns Plateau, merchants of disharmony and crises would come in to play their satanic script. Enough is enough!
Having narrated the ordeal to which this University has been subjected, we are compelled to appeal to all men and women of conscience to rally round and condemn the current reprehensible acts that tend to undermine the great fortunes of this citadel of learning.
Finally, we call on the visitor of University of Jos, the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to quickly intervene in the on going drama at the University of Jos, as Plateau state has had its fair portion of the crisis that has bedeviled the nation. We trust that the President is a man of peace who can not support a group that would want to upturn the process that has not been faulted by both the National University Commission and the Federal Ministry of Education as clearly shown in their meeting of 21st April 2021 with the University Governing Council.
All we want is justice, equity and fair play.
Comrade Daniel Sati Tanko
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