There is tension at the Federal University, Gashua, one of Nigeria’s 12 Federal Universities established by President Goodluck Ebelle Jonathan’s Administration in 2013 following the recent appointments of principal officers and promotion of staff of the University.
A Senior academic staff, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, explained that the University, which started academic activities in 2014/15 Academic Session, until recently, has maintained some level of decency and due process in the appointment and promotion of its staff.
“However, recent development leaves one in utter dismay as to how the appointment and promotion of staff are being handled. This development calls for deep concern as the University is supposed to be a citadel of knowledge and truth. To x-ray some of the recent actions of the University’s authority that defile due process and promote selective justice on issues under examination,” he stated.
” Recently, the University advertised for applications into the offices of its Principal Officers and Director of Works and Physical Planning. It is on record that staff within the University who are eligible and also met the requirements for the advertised positions applied but their applications were scheme out by fraudulent, reckless and rubber stamp council members of the University who are just there for privy and are ruled by dirty sentiments.
“Otherwise, how would one justify a case where an internal applicant who applied for a specific position that required a minimum of 15 years working experience at the University level or 20 years at other tertiary institutions level being denied shortlisting, despite having put in a total of 15 years at the Polytechnic level plus additional 10 years at the University level and have been a University based Deputy Registrar for over 5 years and two times Acting Registrar of an University,” the source said.
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Another staff, who also spoke on the situation while asking that his name not mentioned, said the process has breached every logic and common sense.
“To worsen the situation, the yardstick for which this candidate was denied was not applied to other positions except the position of the Director of Works and Physical Planning where reports revealed that the candidate was from within and has been a University based Deputy Director for over 15 years and has served the University for 4 years as Acting Director of Works and Physical Planning. In his own case, he was denied and replaced with a candidate from his own locality who is much junior and not qualified to even occupy the seat (by Law of the Federal University, Gashua)”
He lamented that the process was a clear case of selective justice and total discrimination being perpetrated by the governing council of the university.
“This development is not healthy for the retention of productive employees and growth of the young University. At the end of the University’s recruitment exercise of its principal officers, most appointees have serious issues against them”
He alleged that the Bursar had no single university experience, the Librarian is over aged (according to his employee report) while the Director of Works is a Mechanical Engineer who by law cannot became the Head of Directorate of Works and Physical Planning of a University.
“This narrative must change if quality and excellence in service delivery must be achieved”
It was also gathered that a Professor of Library and Information Science applied for the position of the University Librarian, his application duly signed in the Registry of the University.
It was alleged that his application was reported to have been lost or not found when the shortlisting exercise was been done.
“Till today, nothing is been heard about the whereabouts of the Professor’s application nor is the officer who received that application been made to account for his action and inaction, ” he noted
The situation of staff promotion has also generated rancour.
There were complaints that since two or more sessions running staff promotion procedure has become a nightmare in the University.
“For two consecutive years now no External Assessment has been conducted for those academic staff who have been recommended for promotion to higher ranks. Their publications which they already submitted were yet to be sent out to External Assessors by the authority of the University,” one of those affected confined in our correspondent.
“For those staff whose promotion were for the ranks of Senior Lecturer and below, the ideal Salary Steps were not given to them after waiting for so long. For example how can one explain a situation where a staff whose previous rank was Lecturer I on CONUASS 4/8 but is now promoted to the rank of Senior Lecturer CONUASS 5 and be given step 01 (i.e. CONUASS 5/1) along others who have been on CONUASS 4/3 and CONUASS 4/6” he quried.
“Ideally , such an officer should have been dropped down by two steps in order not to lose his/her seniority and not to have the whole steps ripped down simply because he/she has been moved to the next rank.
“This practice is against every known regulations and guidelines for appointment and promotion in a University system. In addition to these acts of maladministration and ineptitude, certain category of staff are favoured for promotion while others are generally being denied promotion.
“These should not be allowed to take root in the system, as the short and long terms effects of this will be very devastating to the accomplishment of the University’s strategic objectives. In view of the above, it is pertinent that the NUC, Federal Ministry of Education and the Presidency should swift into action to investigate these alleged infractions and nip these ugly developments in the bud. There can never be a smoke without fire and a stich in time, they say, saves nine,” the staff said.