ASUU Rejects ATBU Advertisement For Vice Chancellor Position

  • We Not Violent Any Law – Management

By Khalid Idris Doya

The Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU) ATBU Bauchi chapter has rejected in totality advertisement for the position of the Vice Chancellor for the university for using absence of the council.

ASUU – ATBU, Bauchi in a press conference in Bauchi yesterday expressed worrisome that a substantive Vice Chancellor who derives his powers from the laws establishing public universities will stand so low to violate the laws and allow nepotism and impunity to guide his judgment.

The press conference which was presided by Ibrahim Ibrahim Inuwa (PhD) Chairperson ASUU ATBU Bauchi, said that the union finds this move very disturbing and unbecoming of the Management of ATBU Bauchi in using the absence of the Council to perpetuate illegality even in the face of unambiguous provisions of the laws, “This attitude of abusing the university laws by the University Management has gradually become a norm.”

It could be recalled that the management of the ATBU, Bauchi has placed an advertisement of the vacancy for the post of Vice Chancellor in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi (Internal & External Advertisement) published on Sunday January 13th, 2024 in one of the national dailies.

ASUU also called on Minister of Education and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as supervisory Minister and visitor to the University respectively to protect what remains in the sanctity of public universities in Nigeria by immediately halting the illegally started process of appointment of a Vice Chancellor for the University.

The Union also wants President Tinubu and the Minister of Education to ensure that Governing Councils of Universities are restored immediately to ensure that the Universities run according to the laws of the land.

Dr. Ibrahim Inuwa said, “Another display of impunity by the University Management is the appointment of an acting Bursar who in the last Presidential Visitation Panel White paper’s report was indicted for refusing to honour the invitation of the Panel”.

Inuwa explained that the University Management knowing fully well that there is no Council in place when it went ahead to sign contracts and illegally employ staff into the University, “Even when it knows that such powers solely rests with the University Council”.

“The said advertisement signed by the Acting Registrar (Custodian of the Law) of the University Hajiya Aisha Idris stated that the advertisement is at the behest of the Honourable Minister of Education: “The Hon. Minister, Federal Ministry of Education hereby announces that the position of the Vice Chancellor of the University shall be vacant by the end of 2024”.

According to the union, there are no circumstances whatsoever in neither the spirit nor the letters of all the University Laws where anybody else rather than the Council, is given the powers to appoint a substantive Vice Chancellor.

“However, in an abnormal situation, the Law allows the University Senate to appoint an acting Vice Chancellor to hold the office for a maximum period of six months. This position is clearly spelt out in Chapter 16 Subsection A (b) xi-xii of the ATBU Conditions of Service”, conference frowned.

The advertisement further stated that “Pursuant to the provisions of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1993 as amended, is hereby initiating the process of filling the impending vacancy.”

“The Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1993 as amended, Part A (A83-A84) section 2-4 states that “(2) Where a vacancy occurs in the post of a Vice Chancellor, the Council shall, among others, advertise the vacancy in a reputable journal or a widely read newspaper in Nigeria”.

While responding, the management of ATBU has denied all the allegations, saying that it not violate any law.

Speaking with journalists the Director, the Directorate of Information of the ATBU, Zailani Bappa, “The University Management did not violate any law, yes, there’s no Governing Council now, in the absence of that, the Minister of Education performs the responsibilities of the Council. He performs that until such a time a Council will be constituted.”

“Let me give you an example, ASUU itself, why has it been silent over so many things that have been happening in the absence of the Council that it is only the issue of the Vice Chancellor that is their problem?

According to him, “In the absence of the Council, there were promotions that were released across all the University. Even during the last convocation, all the communication for the programme were done with the Minister of Education, though the issue of convocation is the purview of the Chancellor.”

Zailani Bappa added, “What I want you to know about University administration is that, of course, employment of staff, promotion and discipline are the responsibility of the Council, but, in the absence of a Council, the Minister of Education performs the responsibilities.”

“All these that they are alleging that people were placed in offices to act, of course, there must be acting officers but for six months after the expiration of the 6 months and no substantive officer, it can be renewed for another 6 months,” he stressed.

The Director of Information further said “The Registrar and the Bursar are all acting. But the University has advertised for the offices that are vacant, ASUU did not mention that to you, including the University Librarian.”

According to him, “All these procedures are done in the absence of the Governing Council, it can be started and concluded with the Minister of Education supervising the process on behalf of the Federal Government, don’t forget that the Universities belong to the Federal Government and it can reconstitute the Council at anytime it deems fit and necessary.”

He also said that, “All these things are procedural and there are a lot of salient things that are about the laws but a vacuum must not be left.”

“Because of that, the advertisement that was placed was done in order in accordance with the law because, 6 months before the expiration of the tenure of the Vice Chancellor, the announcement must be published, that is the law,” he added.

Zailani Bappa added that “The tenure of the present Vice Chancellor was coming to the end, the position must be advertised and it was done within the realms of the law, no law was broken as alleged by ASUU.”

According to him, “The process of appointing a substantive Vice Chancellor, it is vested in the Council which will, after going through the submissions, recommend to the Visitor (Federal Government) which will then announce the person.”

He also said, “Therefore, the Minister can perform that responsibility in the absence of the Council, that is exactly what the University Management is doing, so, there is no contradiction here.”

“The issue of acting were done within the purview of the Laws, no any of the laws of the University were broken as far as the Management is concerned,” he added.

Zailani Bappa concluded by saying that, “All the observations raised by ASUU are noted because the relevance of the Union is to call attention to anything not done properly for correction but in this case nothing was done by the Management of the University to contravene any law. Whatever the Federal Government decides, let it be done and it must be done in the absence of the Council.”

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