A non-governmental organisation, Concerned Citizens for Educational Development (CCED), has decried some of the recent actions and policies of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, which it claimed is impacting very negatively in the education sector.
The group expressed worries that unless urgent steps are taken to reverse these ugly trends, the nation’s educational sector will be heading for implosion.
In a letter to the minister dated April 26, 2016 and signed by the group’s National Convener, Comrade Solomon Adodo, CCED expressed concerns that in the short spell of time since the former vice-chancellors of the 13 federal universities were wrongfully sacked by the minister, several of the succeeding vice-chancellors have unfortunately borrowed a leaf from that wrongful action and have continued to flout the relevant universities rules by sidelining the universities governing councils in most academic appointments.
The unfortunate implications of this, according to the group, is that merit is unwittingly being replaced by mediocrity, while ineptitude and intimidation prevails, even as academic excellence and scholarship continues to take the back seat in our institutions of higher learning.
Using the case of the Federal University of Lokoja as an instance, the group alleged that the new Vice-Chancellor of the institution, being a product of the unilateral appointment by the education minister, has continued to make other appointments in the school, including the Deputy Vice Chancellor without recourse to the institution’s governing council as provided by the act setting up the school.
The group also mentioned the appointment by the minister of the new Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Oye Ekiti, who is a retiree professor, noting that the extant laws setting up the federal universities does not permit such an appointment.
It further cited the case of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) with a unique establishment act, where the newly appointed vice chancellor of the institution has set in motion, a plan to reduce the academic standard of the school by attempting to unilaterally scrap several study centers of the institution, which was originally meant to cater for the academically unreached persons in Nigeria.
It also criticised the new VC of NOUN for contravening due process and the statute setting up the school by appointing the Director of Media and Protocol for the university without placing any form of advertorial or conferring with any other relevant organ within the university system.
The group regretted that, “The flagrant attitude of the newly appointed VCs are bolstered by the fact that they are not answerable to any other body within or outside the universities, since their appointments were friendly compensation from the Minister of Education.”
In the letter to the minister, which was also copied to the Senate and House of Representatives Committee Chairmen on Education, as well as the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), the group called on Adamu to urgently reverse his illegal action of sacking and appointing the 13 vice-chancellors by emulating the example of President Muhammadu Buhari that government can reverse itself when its actions are incongruent with the prevailing laws.