Aftermath of Prof Bala’s Emergence as ABU’s 12th Vice Chancellor:

  • Terminal Leave Directive to VC: Concerned Council Members Fault Registrar, Dissociate Selves
  • No Law Supports Council’s Decision, I Need Time For Proper Transition – VC
  • Federal Government Calls For Restraint
  • Beware of Corrupt Supporters – Concerned ABUSITES warn New VC

By Waziri Isa Adam

The election of the 12th substantive Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, has come and gone with Professor Kabiru Bala emerging as the luckiest of the eleven contenders and the divinely decreed successor of the incumbent or outgoing Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba.

Permutations and intrigues for the Vice Chancellor’s stool actually started more than one year ago when Professor Kabiru Bala was denied second term tenure as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) – a wrong step that was celebrated by his foes, but which later turned out to be a blessing or advantage for him because it earned him tremendous sympathy and support from people who, ordinarily, would not have supported him to assume the leadership of the university, even as most people knew that he has more capacity, skills, passion, enthusiasm, and experience to administer the university more than many of those that contested the position with him.

One of the bitterest aspects of the permutations was the needless lies, blackmail, propaganda, distasteful and unprecedented lobbying by different groups and supporters of different candidates in their efforts to outdo an eventually eliminate stronger contenders against their candidates.

Anybody with the slightest knowledge of how the struggle or fight stepped up against Professor Kabiru Bala by different interest groups who wanted to ensure that he did not emerge as Professor Ibrahim Garba’s successor renewed his/her belief that it is only Allah that gives power to whoever He wanted and denies whoever He did not want.

However, instead of all the warriors of the Vice Chancellor’s stool, especially the Victors and the Vanquished, to shed their swords, following Professor Kabiru Bala’s victory and eventual declaration by the Council, through its Chairman, the war for or against him has unfortunately continued to rage on about a month after.

The group that fired the first salvo was the Council, under its very strong Chairman, Mallam Adamu Fika, who the outgoing Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba, accused of prolonged attempt to disgrace him out of office even before commencement of the process for the selection/election of the just concluded Vice Chancellor stool race.

Barely two weeks after the emergence of Professor Kabiru Bala as the new Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and two months to the expiration of the tenure of the outgoing Vice Chancellor, the Malam Adamu Fika-led Governing Council of the University directed Professor Garba, through the University’s Regsistrar, to proceed on terminal leave effective from 30th March, 2020.

According to the letter dated 7th, February, 2020, signed by the Institution’s Registrar and Secretary to Council, Malam A.A. Kundila, decision to direct the Vice Chancellor to proceed on the terminal leave was arrived at the 190th  Emergency meeting of the Governing Council of the University which took place on Thursday 6th, February, 2020.

The letter which was copied to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, Pro-Chancellor and Council Chairman of the University, Inspector General of Police, DG DSS, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Professor D.A. Ameh, and the Institution’s Acting Chief Security Officer; has instructed Professor Garba to handover the instruments of the office of the Vice Chancellor to the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, Professor Ameh, who will oversee affairs of the University until the new Vice Chancellor assumed office on 1st May, 2020.

Curiously, ten days after the Council’s directive, a letter addressed to the Registrar, precisely on the 17th February, titled, “Concern Members of ABU Governing Council,” signed by the trio of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) and one of those who contested the VC’s stool with Professor Bala, Professor Sadiq Z. Abubakar, Professor Abba A. TIjjani and Professor Ahmed Tijjani Mora, who is also the President of ABU Alumni, faulted the letter written by the Registrar in which they claimed that he lied that the Council had directed the incumbent Vice Chancellor to, when proceeding on the terminal leave, which they described as a misnomer in the University system, hand over affairs of the University to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics).

The letter of the three internal Council members accused the Registrar for not playing his role as the Secretary to the Council as well as custodian of the university laws, whose responsibility is to properly guide the Council during its deliberations, especially when he allowed trial and punishment of the Vice Chancellor in his absence even when he was on official assignment to Abuja with notification to the Council through him (Registrar).

The three council members opined that the Registrar should have advised the Council to deter any discussion in respect of the ‘purported terminal leave’ until when the Vice Chancellor was around. “The university’s rule should have been followed in giving fair hearing to officers, especially in this case involving the Vice Chancellor, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the University,” the letter added.

On the ‘scandalous’ issue of handing over affairs of the university to the DVC (Academic), letter of the three council members claimed that, “there was never a discussion during the 190th Special meeting of the Council that the DVC (Academic) should take over affairs of the university” they stressed.

They therefore dissociated themselves from the content of the Registrar’s letter on the ground that the content was not the correct reflection of the proceedings of the said council meeting which they said they were all in attendance, and therefore advised the Registrar to withdraw it.

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor had reacted to the Council’s letter in which he was directed to proceed on terminal leave on the 30th of March.

Professor Garba who addressed his letter to the Council Chairman, said the letter instructing him to proceed on terminal leave did not capture any background that warranted such a directive or decision. He said he was therefore worried why such a decision was taking at his absence without informing him about what led to that.

The Vice Chancellor therefore said the decision to compel him to proceed on ‘Terminal leave’ is by all standards most unfair, unjust and not in line with any law or due process of University governance and therefore, “I have opted not to accept the directive even if it were on advisory basis.”

“The fact that my tenure only ends by 30th April, 2020, I need all the remaining time to tidy up and ensure a smooth and comprehensive handing over to a new Vice Chancellor, who should assume office on 1st May, 2020.” He pleaded.

Worried by the unending altercation, public fight and misunderstanding between the Adamu Fika-led larger Council and the Vice Chancellor, the Federal Government has, through the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echono, called for restraint among the warring parties in the leadership transition at the ABU.

Mr. Echono said the Ministry was apprised of the circumstances leading to the directive by the Governing Council of the ABU, to the outgoing Vice Chancellor to proceed on leave ahead of his terminal date of April, 30th, 2020.

“Acknowledging that it is within the powers and authority of the Governing Council to direct the Vice Chancellor to enjoy his accumulated earned leave,” Mr. Echono opined.

He however described as unfortunate that what started as a purely administrative matter has been escalated beyond proportion.

Commenting on the ongoing feud between the Adamu Fika-led council and the outgoing Vice Chancellor, on one hand and the incoming Vice Chancellor, Prof Kabiru Bala, on the other, some concerned ABUSITES have cautioned the new Vice Chancellor to beware of majority of his so called supporters and God Fathers  who were one time not only supporters but  those that benefitted from Professor Ibrahim Garba. The ABUSITES advised Prof Kabiru Bala that if those people can turn against Prof Ibrahim Garba today, then he must be rest assured that the same characters, whose history of corruption is not hidden in the university, they will certainly turn against him whenever he refused to dance to their tune. “To please some of these Pro-Kabiru Bala later-reverts, Prof Ibrahim Garba breached University rules on several occasions in the past to promote them, give them juicy appointments and contracts without retirements, when they claimed to be his loyalists. “Prof Bala must know the antecedents of these people for him to succeed.” They further advised the new VC.

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