By Sumayyah Auwal Usman
With time racing down to the end of the administration of the incumbent Vice-Chancellor of the Kaduna State University, Professor Muhammad Tanko, schemings have begun by many academics who have indicated an interest in clinching the highest executive but challenging position in the university.
Indications emerged recently that there are strong contenders within the university who are out to slug it out to succeed Prof. Tanko, as the 6th Vice-Chancellor of the University. Even though the names of the candidates have remained top secret up to the time of filing this report, there are contestants that are believed to have applied.
One of the leading contenders in the race, who many believe should have naturally been the successor to Professor Tanko is the incumbent Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic matters, Professor Abdullahi Musa Ashafa. Before his appointment as the DVC, Academic, Professor Ashafa served as Head, Department of History, Dean, Faculty of Arts, a member of the 2nd Governing Council of the university led by Professor Idris Abdulkadir, and also Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies on two occasions. Ashafa and the outgoing VC were the first set of KASU to become Professors by promotion over ten years ago.
Another contender is Professor Yusha’u Ango, the Dean School of Postgraduate Studies. Although he was only promoted to the rank of professor last year, Ango is seen as a force to reckon with based on his political standing. He is believed to be supported by the one commissioner in Governor Nasiru El-Rufa’i cabinet, and he also held some administrative positions in the university as a Head of Department and Director.
It has also been gathered that Professor Bala Dogo, Department of Geography who was the first to be appointed a Professor from NDA Kaduna where he was an Associate Professor, is seriously in the race. Dogo has been a regular customer in applying for the post even outside KASU, but his low rating may likely see his ambition fly to anywhere. Others who are said to be in the race include Prof. John Laah, Department of Geography, Prof. Ahmed Kofa Babajo, Department of English and Drama, Prof. Hauwa Evelyn Yusuf, Department of Sociology, Prof Zainab Dabo of the Department of Business Administration & current Director of KASU Global Consult among others.
However, a source in the university said there are many Professors outside the university that have also indicated an interest in becoming the next VC. Other academics within KASU eyeing the position but are not from Kaduna State include Professor Ibrahim Malumfashi, Department of Nigerian Languages.
The major controversy in the process were the two contradictory advertisements made for the position. The first advertisement, signed by the then Commissioner of Education, Hon. Dr Shehu Usman Makarfi, instead of the University Registrar, stipulated the major criteria as a candidate must be a Professor of at least ten standing. But the second advertisement came out a week to the expiration of the deadline. In the new advertisement, the ten years standing for a professorship was removed. Contradictorily, it was signed by the same Commissioner Makarfi who had by then been redeployed to the Ministry for Local Government. This was said to have been made neither with the knowledge of the current Hon. Commissioner of Education nor her input.
The most controversial aspect of the second advert is that it did not indicate if it supersedes the previous one or not. The question interested parties thus asked is which of the advertisements would be used for the selection process of the new VC for KASU?
Another issue is that there is no Governing Council currently in the University to take charge of the process as stipulated in the University laws. It was reliably gathered that the academic union, ASUU, Kaduna State University Chapter have written to the Visitor of its opposition to the process outside the Council mandate. Though the Visitor was said to have directed for the collation of names for the constitution of a Council, how soon would it come out? If the Council is eventually constituted, observers expressed the likelihood of doing another advertisement without controversy. This, they also observed, will further delay the process. If this should happen until the incumbent Vice-Chancellor vacates office in January 2022, this will mean leaving the University with an Acting VC.
What pundits argue on this matter is why should a serious government like that of Governor El-Rufai who has another excellent and brilliant personality like Emir Muhammad Sanusi II as Chancellor allowed KASU’s excellent academic and administrative reputation tainted. The tenure of the current VC, Prof. Tanko is expiring on January 22, 2022.