As a current student of Professor Umar A. Pate at the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano, I must confess that his appointment is well deserved and could not have come at a better time. Professor Pate is not just a lecturer but a distinguished personality who is excellent in manners and mannerisms, human relations, conflict resolutions and social development. This is why Professor Ralph A. Akinfeleye always describes him as the loss of University of Maiduguri and the gain of Bayero University, Kano.
I must make it categorically clear that we at Bayero University are very happy that our own is about to join Federal University of Kashere as the third Vice-Chancellor. We are sure that he will make us proud by moving the baby university to greater heights. We are, however, jealous that we are going to miss a moving encyclopedia and a man of respect whose contributions towards BUK can never be measured.
At this juncture, I will like to remind the newly appointed vice-chancellor that every promotion comes with a lot of responsibilities. FUK is a new tertiary institution that was commissioned in 2011 under the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. And the university is faced with a lot of challenges.
One of the challenges is that about 90% of the staff of the university – both academic and non-academic- have to shuttle from Gombe to Kashere daily which is 65 kilometres – 130 kilometres to and fro. This contributes towards making lecturers less productive. Accidents do occur, hold-ups sometimes delay them and the long journey exhausts the lecturers leading to even missing of lectures.
This development is not unconnected to the fact that Federal University of Kashere has fewer than 50 staff quarters in Kashere. The quarters cannot even accommodate the staff of three departments. This shows that the incoming vice-chancellor has the task of embarking on massive construction of staff quarters if he wants to see visible change.
Another challenge that impedes the progress of the university is that many lecturers have no offices. One of the lecturers who pleaded anonymity and have been lecturing for over six years informed me that he still uses his car as his office. This applies to many staff. If senior academic staff will be roaming about using shade of trees and their cars as their offices, then how productive would they be? They at least need offices to charge their laptops, keep academic documents, plan their lecture notes and give students easy room to access their lecturers.
I have also gathered that some of the newly constructed blocks to serve as extension of departments are inhabitable because they are not electrified and watered. And it is difficult for learning to take place under unconducive atmosphere. Another issue that is related to this, is the inadequate lecture halls. Reliable sources revealed that, like in other universities, students even sit on the floor to receive lectures due to the limited halls and seats. Sources narrated that no lecture hall with standard seats that will last for a complete semester without being broken. They attributed this to poorly executed projects by contractors.
Furthermore, it is a known fact that the staff school in Federal University of Kashere has only kindergarten and primary sections. This has been forcing staff to take their wards to other secondary schools. And it distracts them especially, looking at the fact that they have to always convey them on daily basis.
Still on staff welfare, genuine sources narrated that the outgoing vice-chancellor, Professor Alhassan Mohammed Gani has been up and doing towards promotion of staff. The incoming one has to ponder on this by sustaining the tempo. As a communication scholar, Professor Pate must also ensure mutual understanding between the management and other staff via public relations techniques and other workable methods.
On security issues, there is a need for employing additional security personnel as well as training and retraining the existing ones to make them productive. This will help to curb cases of burglary and theft bedevilling the university.
On the side of students, non-existence of Students’ Union Government in the university has been hindering the success and happiness of students who have grievances or suggestions. According to one of the students whom I interviewed, some of their hostels are not electrified, they depend solely on generator between 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm. They are also facing challenges of water scarcity as well as inadequate hostels. Hostel inadequacy has forced students to rent rooms that are closed to the school but at exorbitant charges. Investigations revealed that landlords charge between 80 and 120 thousand per single room.
Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol,
Mass Communication Department,
Bayero University, Kano