PERISCOPE is a Plateau watchdog on governance issues in our dear State. It has watched with great concern the ferocious clamp down on our tetiary institutions which are our common heritage by the Plateau State Governor, Barr. Caleb Mutfwang.
He, via a release on social and electronic media signed by the Secretary to the Government of the State, Arc. Samuel Jatau ordered in a military fashion the immediate removal of the Vice Chancellor of the Plateau State University, Professor Benard Matur Malau, a son of the soil of the University benefiting community, Bokkos. He was only appointed last year for a five year tenure by the governor’s predecessor, Senator Simon Bako Lalong.
Not only did he order by fiat the sack of the Vice Chancellor but also ordered the immediate dissolution of the PLASU Governing Council which interviewed and recommended the appointment of the Vice Chancellor to the former governor.
Periscope views this brazen act of the governor as unwarranted at this particular period as it smacks of insensitivity and bad faith. It tantamounts to gross abuse of power which he is supposed to hold in trust for the entire citizens of our beloved state which he is toying with as he treats the people as guinea pigs and sees himself as a conqueror-in – Chief following the disputed Supreme Court judgement which affirmed him as the Governor.
He also viciously descended on the heads of other tertiary institutions in the state, namely the Provosts of the Colleges of Health Technology located in Zawan and Pankshin who had their terms renewed by his predecessor only last year.
The Rector of Plateau State Polytechnic who has less than one year to go in that position also had the big stick visited on him. He was asked to pack and go. Not equally spared was the Provost College of Education Gindiri.
We are for now particularly concerned about the plight of PLASU as we shall embark on one issue at a time approach as a deliberate strategy. The purportedly removed Vice Chancellor, to be sure, had brought so many innovations to the University. He is a versatile egg head who had served at the University of Abuja before moving to the University of Jos.
Within his less than one year in office as Vice Chancellor of the State University, he has attracted a lot of benefits to the institution in academia, infrastructural development and security.
Many faculties were approved and accredited in the fields of humanity, social sciences and medicine.
This action of the governor constitutes a serious setback to the university which was established by then Governor Joshua Chibi Dariye and was ingloriously closed down by his successor Jonah David Jang, Barr. Caleb Mutfwang’s god father.
Throughout the eight years of his tenure from 2007 – 2015 the gate of the University remained under lock and key to the extent that one of his key PDP members described the governor as Boko Haram based on his allergy to education.
Though a state owned university, the regulatory body of universities in the country, the National Universities Commission would not turn a blind eye on the unfortunate development at PLASU. There are conditions for the appointment and termination of appointments of Vice Chancellors.
A governor cannot wake on the wrong side of his bed and directs the removal of a Vice Chancellor. That is why there is a Governing Council which ensures the health and policy implementation of the university which is supposed to enjoy a comfortable level of autonomy.
The University which does not enjoy sound financial funding from the state government depends largely on removal of funds from local government monthly allocations.
TETFUND interventions account for the huge infrastructural development of PLASU. NUC and TETFUND can be provoked into taking some drastic actions over the governor’s dictatorial clampdown on the university which he should be prepared to solely bear the consequences.
The 6 February 2023 action by the governor is a very unpopular and condemnable one. Already, students of the university have risen in unison in condemning the sack of the Vice Chancellor who had within only one year raised the bar of the university which was elevated to academic excellence.
Members of the benefitting community for three days at a stretch, poured out on the highway around the university location to express their displeasure with the removal of their son who is the first from the community which freely donated the land for the university which spans thousands of hectares free of charge.
Governor Mutfwang’s hammer on the state- owned university has put paid to the PDP often stated policy of starting from where Jonah Jang stopped in 2015.
The PDP, especially former governor Jang’s wing have always discredited the Simon Bako Lalong eight years as “wasted years” which all discerning minds believe to the contrary. It was under Lalong’s administration that the University which was closed down for eight years of Jang came back to life. He appointed a world renowned scholar in the person of Professor Attahiru Jega as Chairman of the Governing Council.
Most courses were accredited. The University had four combined convocations and subsequently annual convocations for the graduating students to enable them pass out and go for the mandatory National Youth Service Corp, NYSC or apply for job.
In all these, Plateau Periscope is worried by the studied silence of our religious leaders especially the Christian religious leaders. By keeping quiet as supposed conscience of the society only lends credence to the long held belief that the Church on the Plateau has turned itself into a shameless wing of the Jang PDP. It has indeed lost its saltiness with its deliberate silence on and has estranged itself from the people it is supposed to shepherd.
Even when elections are over and it is supposed to be time for governance, we are witnessing these unabated attrocious attacks on our institutions and our collective psyche by a governor who narrowly escaped removal by the Supreme Court. He ought to have shown some level of humility and respect for the people.
The Church on the Plateau should speak and stem the tide of the ” bull in a Chinese shop” which the governor has fast turned himself into.The remote control from Du will leave Plateau in the worst crises ever imagined given the way Governor Mutfwang is going.
He has employed his demi god’s strategy of embarking on shadow dressing of road construction ostensibly to pull the wool across people’s eyes and distract attention from his social dislocation of the people’s social well being.
The Plateau Initiative for the Advancement of the Natives ( PIDAN) has also gone to sleep as it has turned its face and feigned ignorance of the sack of heads of tertiary institutions and the mass relief of all workers employed in the tertiary and state civil service by the immediate past dispensation.
PIDAN must be burying its head in shame over its ungodly claim of working for the interest of the indigenous communities in the state if it cannot come out boldly to take a stand on the wickedness being visited on the people.
Plateau Periscope is watching closely and would continue to checkmate and speak the minds of the ordinary Plateau people.