By Yusuf Shehu Usman
If ASUU is on strike because the Government has failed to meet it’s contractual obligations to the Association, they are justified and it’s within their right
But to call a NEC meeting to discuss an isolated case of the elevation of Dr Isa Pantami to the rank of a Professor in FUTO and pass a resolution to the effect that the appointment is irregular and illegal without equally investigating the many cases of academic fraud alleged against many of it’s members across the university system, is not only discriminatory but also smacks of a witch hunt and a phobia
I am sure it’s only Dr Pantami that has been elevated to the rank of a Professor in circumstances that may call for Investigation
There are many other allegations of irregular appointments to academic positions in the University system which should not escape the attention of ASUU
Why have they kept mute about others, which have been a subject of controversy in many universities even before Dr Pantami’s elevation?
Why did ASUU also not include on the agenda of their NEC meeting the issue of professors who have been convicted by the courts for electotal fraud during elections and those still undergoing criminal trials before various courts across Nigeria for electotal offences?
Why has the ASUU NEC not considered the issue of lecturers employed by more than one university and collecting multiple salaries?
Why did ASUU not address the issue of lecturers who do not turn up for their lectures as at when due but heap the week’s lectures and stress the students on Saturdays and even Sundays when they should be preparing for the next week’s academic activities?
Why did ASUU not address the issue of forcing studets to purchase hand out and self published books by some lecturers which is still prevalent across the university system?
Why did ASUU not investigate the prevalent cases of sexual harassment of students, which is a matter of grave concern to the parents?
There are also allegations of incompetence and dereliction of duty against many of the ASUU members by the students they teach
In addition, the allegations are rife in the public space that the quality of delivery and and contents of the curri cular in most universities are sub standard and below par compared to the minimum standards even on the African continent
In the face of all these questions begging for answers from ASUU, they decided to elevate the isolated case of Dr Pantami’s elevation to the rank of a professor to an issue of national discourse
I think there is more than meets the eyes in the Pantami case. It’s either that the ASUU is inflicted by a disease called Pantamiphobia or they have singled out Dr Pantami for persecution on other grounds not necessarily related to his academic qualifications and are only using his elevation to the tank of professor as a facade
In any case, ASUU has neither the right nor the power under the extant university laws and regulations to direct the academic community in Nigeria not to address Dr Pantami as a professor when the rank has not been withdrawn from him by the conferring authority or the elevation has not been nullified by a court of competent Jurisdiction
ASUU is at best a trade union and it can not usurp the powers of the Council and management of the university to declare illegal or reverse a decision reached by the relevant University authorities
I am sure ASUU knows that it has over reached the Council and Management of FUTO by it’s illegal pronouncement on the professorial status of Dr Isa Pantami
I challenge ASUU to tell the public the provisions of the law they acted upon that empowers them to declare a professorial appointment illegal or even irregular