‘Why Katsina gets lion’s share of admission quota’
[continued from last week]
From Desmond Mgboh and Abdullahi Hassan, in Zaria
One colourful thing that Ahmadu Bello University has going for it is its rich cosmopolitan culture of students and staff from diverse backgrounds, culture and tradition which The Sun team, noticing right from the university gate, wanted to know from the VC, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, how he has been able to manage the obvious differences that exist.
Thanking the team for being observant enough as to notice that, he boasts that that “there is no local government in Nigeria that has no representative in this University, either as a staff member or a student or both. And this has been the attribute of the University right from its inception in 1962 by the founding father, the Late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto of blessed memory, as he designed the University to be for all irrespective of creed, colour, race or gender. So, we are only respecting the wishes of the founding fathers of the University.”
On how the university under him has been able to maintain peace despite the challenges of this cosmopolitan nature, Prof. Garba attributes it to proactive nature of his collective visionary leadership.
“Some years ago, maybe about 20 years back, the University was really a tormenting place for all,” he admits. “All kinds of uprisings, protests and frictions between students and the University management, between students themselves…. sometimes, the dispute was between workers of the University and the management or across religious groups and tribes. So, it was very tough for us. In fact, it reached a point where, in 1994 or 1995, the Federal Government had to appoint a Sole Administrator in the person of the Late General Mamman Kontagora, who actually held the institution then and put it back on course. And I think since that time, it has been a recovery time for us, and by God’s grace, the past mistakes and experiences we had through crises, had been a great lesson.
“At the management level, we have been very proactive in observing things that could lead to those kinds of situations. Once we notice them, we arrest them. We are lucky that we have remained in peace and we have maintained a very stable academic calendar for quite a number of years now and we hope to continue to do so.”
During the interactive session, the consummate academic and university administrator also took time to debunk some of the misconceptions arising from the issue of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN)’s complaint about ABU overstretching its admission quota; of some Northern States’ complaint about being shortchanged in the admission exercises of the School of Basic and Remedial Studies, Funtua (SBRS), and the reason for ABUfailure to comply with the ruling of the National Industrial Court asking the university to reinstate 110 of its staff disengaged from its services for sundry administrative infractions.
On the allegation by MDCN, about the university’s overshooting of its admission quota, he noted that, “MDCN and other professional councils like COREN and ICAN, are monitoring us to ensure that we don’t admit and train students beyond our capacity.” He however, added that the right mix of resources like lecturers, library and teaching facilities made the councils to encourage the university to take in more students in the last admission exercise. “They lifted the ceiling from 120 to 180 because we have the capacity to do more.”
On the allegation of marginalisation by some Northern states, he accused the complaining states of being among those who have since the past 20 years refused to pay the N15 million levied on each of the 19 Northern states to help develop The School of Basic and Remedial Studies, Funtua. The former Governor of Kastina State and later President of Nigeria, Late Umar Musa Yar Adua took it upon himself to build the college, he revealed.
“So, how can we deny Katsina State a lion’s share of the admission?,” he asked. “Other states do not have right to complain that they were being treated unfairly. You see, this thing is no charity. They had agreed to fund it, but they refused to do so. That leaves Katsina State with the responsibility for the funding. It is natural for the state to have a lion’s share. The state government has continued to assist the school. Recently, the governor awarded contract for the construction of the school fence, apart from the clinic already built by Katsina State government….. we are resisting the urge not to make it a Katsina State College and we are still maintaining the character of 19 Northern states school, by admitting students that cut across all parts of the North.”
On the university’s failure to obey the Nigerian Industrial Court order, he said: “The University is governed by laws. There is a Council in the University, with a disciplinary committee under the Council and there is an entire due process in the University. Sometimes, it takes some years before they discharge a case. And at the end of it, if you are found guilty, you go. This is for both students and staff. The issue is that all those people were dismissed long ago according to due process …. I don’t know what the new judgment said but in any case we are yet to be provided with those court judgments. If they do, our legal unit is ready for them.”