‘Ok­para var­sity’ll probe ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in ap­point­ment of profs’

Daily Trust - - EDUCATION - From Li­nus Ef­fiong, Umuahia

Adanma Odefe is the spokesper­son of the Michael Ok­para Univer­sity of Agriculture, Umudike. He ex­plains the plans to probe ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the ap­point­ment of a num­ber of pro­fes­sors.

Ru­mours mak­ing the rounds say about 460 work­ers have been dis­missed from work, could you clar­ify this?

The his­tory or the back­ground to all this is that to­wards the end of the past vice chan­cel­lor’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, he hired over 440 peo­ple on tem­po­rary ap­point­ments. Th­ese peo­ple did not have the op­por­tu­nity of be­ing reg­u­larised. So when the issue of reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion came up in the new ad­min­is­tra­tion, they saw that the num­ber was so much; it was just il­le­gal to hire such num­ber of staff. It con­tra­venes the poli­cies of work­ing in the fed­eral civil ser­vice.

So in the in­terim, man­age­ment de­cided that th­ese peo­ple’s predica­ment was no fault of theirs and so they would not hon­our the terms of the rule of en­gage­ment be­cause they were on tem­po­rary ap­point­ment of one year, of which at the end they were ex­pected to leave if they were not reg­u­larised.

So the man­age­ment in­sisted they would keep pay­ing them un­til a new coun­cil was in­sti­tuted. Be­cause of that de­ci­sion, reg­u­larised work­ers of the univer­sity had to start earn­ing 75 per cent of their salaries just to try and ac­com­mo­date th­ese peo­ple. The next thing man­age­ment did in preparation of the new coun­cil com­ing was to ask th­ese peo­ple to re-ap­ply since their tem­po­rary ap­point­ments had elapsed so that when a new coun­cil comes they will de­cide what to do in terms of proper vet­ting and all that, and peo­ple who would be re­tained would be re­tained.

An­other rea­son man­age­ment could not just go on and reg­u­larise th­ese peo­ple is be­cause they no­ticed so many ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties. For ex­am­ple, peo­ple came from an­other fed­eral univer­sity and they were given tem­po­rary ap­point­ments here; that is il­le­gal. If you are in any fed­eral gov­ern­ment institution or or­gan­i­sa­tion and you want to move to a new one, what you do is a trans­fer of ser­vice and you con­tinue from where you stopped there, but what we found out was that peo­ple who were ju­nior lec­tur­ers, for ex­am­ple, in the Univer­sity of Cal­abar, would come here and be­come se­nior lec­tur­ers thereby jump­ing the steps they were sup­posed to go through nor­mally, and so there was no way man­age­ment could ac­cept this and just reg­u­larise them.

Again, the sys­tem be­came overbloated in some ar­eas, while we are de­fi­cient in some other ar­eas, this does not make any sense.

Again there was no sack. We only gave them let­ters of suspension to give hope to those who are qual­i­fied and might be taken back.

Were the peo­ple hired at once?

They were hired within a pe­riod of four months while there was a VC des­ig­nate.

How­ever, some of the lec­tur­ers who taught 400 Level plus who had stu­dents were asked to stay back and fin­ish with the ex­ams which were on. Im­me­di­ately that is done with, they will leave like­wise.

There are al­le­ga­tions that pro­ce­dures for the ap­point­ment of pro­fes­sors were vi­o­lated.

We had a lot of dis­crep­an­cies in the process of award­ing pro­fes­sor­ship here un­der the for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion. Peo­ple who rightly were sup­posed to be pro­fes­sors were cheated and those who did not have business to be pro­fes­sors were made pro­fes­sors in out­right dis­re­gard for the rules and guide­lines.

We also have a con­di­tion where pro­fes­sors are in a depart­ment and a lec­turer that has a PhD will be made the head of the depart­ment; which caused a lot griev­ances. How would you feel that you have worked hard for years and some small per­son who does not have the qual­i­fi­ca­tion that you have is now pro­moted ahead of you and you have to take in­struc­tion from that per­son? It con­tra­venes the guide­line for pub­lic ser­vice. You can’t pro­mote a ju­nior ahead of a se­nior. You don’t pro­mote peo­ple be­cause they are your friends or you like their faces; you pro­mote peo­ple be­cause they are qual­i­fied.

Adanma Odefe

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