The council of the University of Abuja recently set up a committee to verify the veracity of the allegations on September 20, 2011 as alleged by academic staffers of the institution. In its report submitted to the university’s council, the committee vindicated the position of the Academic Staff Universities Union (ASUU). The report, obtained by Blueprint, also gave highlights on what the management of the university should do to tackle the challenges being faced by the school. SEBAGEN HENRY NOBOH reports on the committee’s report that is causing a storm among staffers.
On 2 September 2011, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) made a submission to the Governing Council of the University of Abuja, complaining about the state of affairs of the university, thereby putting into question the leadership competence of its vice chancellor, Prof James Adedibu. The union raised serious concerns about its deplorable state of infrastructure, poor teaching and learning environment, non-accreditation of some courses, delayed promotion and irregular appointments, unpaid legitimate claims, poor structure and running of the office of the Vice-Chancellor, among others.
An overview of the whole issues raised by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Abuja Chapter, include: The deplorable state of infrastructure; poor teaching/learning environment/faculties; non-accreditation of four programmes namely medicine, agricultural science, vet medicine and engineering; delayed promotions and irregular appointments; poor university/academic culture; the culture of unpaid legitimate claims; defective structure and running of the office of the vice chancellor.
A committee was set up on September 20, 2011 to look into these issues and make appropriate recommendations to the council. The committee had the following members: Prof E.P. Ejembi (Chairman), Senator H. Idris, Hon A.M. Salvador, Prof S.E. Kakulu, Prof M.I.E. Evwierhoma and Mal. M.B. Modibo (Secretary).
According to the report submitted to the council by the committee, most of the allegations made by ASUU were correct. Some of the findings of the group include the following:
Most of the houses in Giri Staff Quarters as well as the network of roads, according to the committee, are overdue for renovation and rehabilitation. Some of the houses were found to be unoccupied and have seriously deteriorated. The roads and drainages are in a state of serious disrepair. Also, the design and construction of some of the faculty buildings at the main campus were poorly designed and constructed. The committee also found out that the Faculty of Arts building was not only inadequate but lacks basic conveniences and facilities.
The University of Abuja took off with facilities designed and built for a primary school. The twelve classrooms being used for lectures have a sitting capacity for 40 pupils each.
The university had added the under-mentioned facilities to the primary school structures to enable it cater for a large tertiary student population: A Multi-Purpose Hall with a sitting capacity of 150; Emanuel Abisoye Indoor Theatre with a sitting capacity of 250; Lecture Halls 1 and 2 with sitting capacity of 150 each; laboratory complex for biology, physics and chemistry; Faculty of law library; business administration block and main library.
The university at inception had a student enrolment of 250 which over the years increased to about 4,000 per session. The university started a phased movement to the main campus since May, 2009.
Given the total number of about 10,000 students, the available space and facilities are grossly inadequate and overstretched, the report noted. The three science laboratories, which also cater for post-graduate students, are similarly overstretched for meaningful practical teaching.
The report added: “The university library with a sitting capacity for 250 students is obviously inadequate for a student population of over 10,000.
“The library lacks sufficient books and journals in its stock. Its cooling system has since broken down, making the library hot and uncomfortable for students to concentrate and assimilate. In addition, there is no functional e-library.
Whereas the annual budget of the university made provision for recruitment of additional staff for both academic and non-academic staff to meet accreditation requirements in terms of staffing and staff mix, there has been no new appointment of academic staff since 2009.
In addition, the directive of the council to recruit additional academic staff as a result of the report of the Joint-Council and Senate Taskforce on accreditation of programmes was not implemented.
“Also, the appointments and promotions committee is yet to present the reviewed guidelines for appointments and promotions to council,” the committee said. “Staff who merit promotions should therefore be considered for promotions as when due.”
Accreditation of academic programmes
The Joint Council and Senate taskforce on accreditation studied the accreditation status of some academic programmes and made appropriate recommendations for the corrections of the inadequacies. However, the committee noted that “the recommendation of the taskforce as approved by the council have remained largely unimplemented. The recent suspension by the Federal Ministry of Education of some programmes is a case in point.”
The committee stated that ten (10) academic programmes have denied accreditation whereas only eight have interim accreditation. Meanwhile, the committee said, many more programmes are due for accreditation in 2012.
The committee thus recommended that the vice chancellor should be made to provide a cogent explanation for the non-implementation of the Joint Council and Senate taskforce on accreditation of programmes as approved by the council.
The committee noted that prior to 2009, before Adelabu’s tenure, Senate met once every month and the agenda of the meeting were usually adhered to.
But between January 2010 and September 2011, records show that the Senate held nine regular and seven extra-ordinary meetings.
In admission process, the committee said that some candidates, who did not make the JAMB and post-UTME cut-off points, were given admission. It noted that fake admission abound in the system.
“The sale of admissions has become a brisk business for some people in the system,” the report says. “Eleven of the thirteen students on the ASUU’s list have actually registered in the university.”
On approval limits for principal officers and other heads of units, the committee noted that this has been ineffective.
“There is over centralisation of financial control. Thus, the vice chancellor should be called to order for failing to carry out the earlier directive of the council.
“For example, a total of 8,000 plastic chairs and 4,250 plastic tables were purchased by the administration for examinations. The purchase amounted to N37,600,600.
“The items were purchased on four different dates, with three of the seven purchases above the approval limit of the vice chancellor. The purchase of plastic chairs and tables is a capital expenditure, and thus the purchase was a violation of the Public Procurement Act 2007.”
The VC office
According to the report, there have been no management meetings since October 2011. Failure to hold management meetings, the committee noted, deprives the vice chancellor the benefit of a wide-range ideas that can lead to sound decisions.
In addition, the committee says, it also deprives members of management the opportunity to know the policy directions of the administration.
The committee thus recommended that the VC should be directed to effectively delegate the functions and duties of his office to whomever is sitting in for him in his absence, and the university community be duly informed of this.
Overall, the committee has vindicated the position of ASUU, even though Adelabu would insist that the union is being sponsored by detractors. But the question is, will the governing council implement the recommendation of this committee?
Filed Under: Weekleaks