ASUU ATBU faults Mgt’s congratulatory message to Pantami over “controversial” professorship

ASUU Chairperson, Dr. Ibrahim Inuwa, flanked by other executive members during the interaction

*** Says Pantami not qualified to be professor


The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi branch, has faulted the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Abdulazeez Muhammad, for sending a congratulatory message to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on his “controversial” appointment as Professor of Cyber Security by the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo state.

The ASUU Chairperson, ATBU branch, Ibrahim Inuwa, made the union’s position known while speaking to some journalists at the ASUU Secretariat.

He said Pantami’s appointment is shrouded in a lot of controversies and it has created a lot of rancour nationwide.

Inuwa said: “Our congress felt we need to act, and what really informed our acting was the congratulatory letter sent to the Minister by our own Vice Chancellor, Professor Abdulazeez Muhammad. We felt we were not carried along.

“In that letter, he said that on behalf is of staff, students, the Senate of the university, he said he was congratulating the Minister. We are not involved and that appointment is shrouded in a lot of controversies.

“We feel we are an institution that commands respect and what must be done must be done right, and we are not really convinced of the uprightness of that appointment.

“We held a congress on November 4th and we had a resolution from the Congress that we should dissociate ourselves from that congratulatory message sent to the Minister, we were mandated to do that.”

He said that the Union’s Congress described the congratulatory message as “appalling” and is therefore, not a part of it and hence, its stand of dissociating itself

The resolution was entitled: “Disclaimer on the Vice Chancellor of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi’s congratulatory letter to Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, on his appointment to the rank of Professor.”

It read partly: “The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), ATBU Bauchi branch, wishes to unequivocally state that o no occasion did the critical stakeholders such as the Senate and the congregation of ATBU, Bauchi consulted for such congratulatory letter despite the controversies surrounding the appointment.

“It is indeed appalling that the VC used such a fiat on the university community. It is in view of this that the Congress of ASUU, ATBU, Bauchi resolved that it is not a party to such decision and has absolved itself from attempts to smear the corporate image of the university, the citadel of learning and ASUU, ATBU Bauchi.

“It is our affirmation that we are not a party to such decision by the Vice Chancellor of ATBU.”

Inuwa stated that the report of the Union in Federal University of Technology, Owerri is surrounded by “a lot of holes. If you look at the report, it does not follow the character and manner that ASUU does things.

“Though, investigation is still going on. The Zone has yet to state their position at the NEC, we will be having a NEC meeting on the 14th.”

According to him, the Union is not convinced that all the procedures of becoming a professor were exhausted. “Appointing somebody to the rank of professor follows some procedures, to some extent we are convinced that these procedures are exhaustively followed, it is still questionable.

“But if it is proven beyond reasonable doubt we don’t have an option other than to acknowledge it but for now we are not convinced.”

The Union argued that according to information available to it, the minister left Nigeria for a varsity in Saudi Arabia as senior lecturer, noting that his last appointment in a university, Saudi Arabia, was as an assistant professor – a nomenclature that is used by the Americans.

“Assistant professor is equivalent to a senior lecturer in Commonwealth countries. As a senior lecturer you are supposed to satisfy a waiting period of three years. You must have some publications locally and internationally.

“One must have attended conferences and presented papers, one must have been involved in teaching undergraduates and postgraduates –depending on the conditions of service of a university to become an associate professor(reader).

“What we heard about the Minister is that he’s an assistant professor. The year he left for Saudi Arabia, he claimed that he’s an associate professor, that he applied to them as an associate professor but unfortunately, when they were referring people to check his publications online he forgot to remove a journal that captured him as an assistant professor,” Inuwa stated.

He said an assistant professor must satisfy a waiting period of three years, graduate postgraduate students, involved in university administration, must have been involved in community service.

He added that teaching quality and style are part of the assessment requirement to rise to professsorial rank. He said that the minister was not in the academic environment the period and could not have been qualified for that appointment.


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