PIDAN, PYC Task Reps C’ttee on Federal Character
By Ralph Madugu
The Plateau Initiative for Development and Advancement of the Natives (PIDAN) has tasked the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Character to investigate the spread of management and staff of all federal universities and institutions in the country to determine the implementation of the Federal Character principle therein.
In a statement issued in Jos, PIDAN also challenged the lawmakers to make public the outcome of their scrutiny of those institutions in the country.
The body was reacting to a video making the rounds in the social media claiming to be an interactive meeting between the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jos and the Committee of the House of Representatives on Federal Character focusing on the spread of the employees in the university which, according to the Committee, did not reflect federal character.
“While we agree that it is the constitutional responsibility of the Committee to do oversight function in all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, to however single out the University of Jos and few others for castigation, looks like some institutions are been targeted from some quarters,” PIDAN said.
PIDAN, maintained that it was curious that the Chairman of the Committee refused to allow the Vice Chancellor to tender the permissions he got from the Federal Character Commission to conduct the recruitments he made, even when he said he had all of them with him at the interactive meeting.
“During the interactive session, the House Committee had asked the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar which states they came from and they had both said they were from Plateau State, the House Committee then concluded that the university had become a “Plateau State University.”
“PIDAN views the refusal to listen to the VC as clear manifestation of the Committee’s skewed position of a passed judgement of ‘guilty’ on the Vice Chancellor even before he appeared. No wonder he was not given the opportunity to defend himself. Our conclusion on the mindset of the House Committee is further strengthened when they stood logic on its head and threatened to prosecute the Vice Chancellor, thereby usurping the powers of the Federal Character Commission, the custodians of the law on Federal Character.”
The group revealed that Unijos had abided by the Federal Character principle in its recruitments which earned her public accolades and commendations even from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
PIDAN noted that singling out the institution and a few others for castigation was as an attempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it, adding that the University of Jos had national spread.
“PIDAN wishes to reemphasize here that for the House Committee on Federal Character to be seen to be working on the basis of equity and justice, we challenge it to undertake a comprehensive audit of the spread of management and staff of all Federal Universities and Institutions in the country, with a view to ascertaining the extent to which the Federal Character principle has been observed. The report of such an audit should be made PUBLIC. Until then, we hold it that what transpired between the House Committee on Federal Character and the University was against the principle of natural justice.”
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Plateau Youth Council, PYC, has also reacted to the online video by calling on the House of Representative Committee on Federal Character to request for the nominal roll of all federal universities in Nigeria and their employment status in the last five years as well as make an audit of the human resources of all federal universities and institutions so that the public could appreciate the oversight function being carried out by the committee so as to dispel the thoughts that the committee’s assignment was a witch hunt.
In a press release signed by its Chairman, Dr. Fabong Jemchang Yildam, disclosed that the Council noticed that the so-called interactive meeting did not meet the minimum acceptable standards, adding that the meeting ended without any space given to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Sabastian Seddi Maimako to defend himself.
PYC said: “From the comments of the Vice Chancellor which the House Committee members where not keen to pay attention to, it is obvious that approvals were acquired and certificates of compliance have been obtained from the Federal Character Commission for these appointments. We have no doubt that given the opportunity, the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar would have given adequate explanations to these enquiries on the procedures on the employments carried for the period under review. However, supposed the University of Jos did not strictly adhere to Federal Character in employment as claimed by the House Committee on Federal Character, this should have been handled in a civil and holistic manner. Thus, the discourteous manner in which the Vice Chancellor was addressed is unprecedented, which leaves us with a bigger question.”
While drawing the attention of the Committee to what it termed the “obvious fact that the Prestigious University of Jos is not the Federal University of Plateau people” as claimed by a Honourable member of the House Committee, PYC urged them not to use the office of the vice chancellor and that of the registrar alone to make conclusions on such.
“Of the six (6) ranking members in the administration of the University of Jos, four (4) are not from Plateau State. The spread of principal officers in the University of Jos is one of the best in the country. Both Deputy Vice Chancellors, the Bursar and Librarian are not from Plateau State. The prearranged ambush on the person of the Vice Chancellor is a cheap blackmail, which should be condemned by all,” they said.
PYC reminded the Committee that the UNIJOS VC, Prof Sabastian Seddi Maimako, had performed well in infrastructural development in the history of the institution and should be praised rather than dwelling on mundane issues thereby distracting him.
“What happened at that meeting was a mere harassment and intimidation from people we elected and that too is unacceptable. Members of the House Committee on Federal Character should tell Nigerians what is obtainable in their states and stop making a mockery of proceedings.”