TEXT OF AN ADDRESS BY PROFESSOR SEDDI SEBASTIAN MAIMAKO AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE MARKING HIS FIRST ANNIVERSARY AS VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY O F JOS ON THE 23RD OF JUNE, 2017 AT THE SENATE CHAMBER, UNIVERSITY OF JOS
- Members of Management
- Members of Senate
- Heads of Departments and Units
- Members of the University Community
- Members of the Third Estate of the Realm
- Ladies and Gentlemen
I want to welcome you to this auspicious occasion, the Press Conference heralding our one year in office. Ordinarily, one year out of a-five year tenure may seem too insignificant for any stock taking, but we are convinced that stock taking shows the direction in which an administration is headed. We decided to do a self-evaluation to know whether we are moving in the right direction or not.
When we assumed office on the 23rd of June, 2016, we were jolted by the realities we met on ground but we had to tighten our girdles for the challenges ahead. One year after, how has the journey been?
I am delighted to present to you my score card. My first year in office is the story of challenges and successes.
These challenges can be termed Personal and Institutional. Barely one month into my tenure, on the 27th July, 2016 was my personal residence attacked by armed men which led to the instant death of one University security personnel on duty, Mr. Owes Jibrin. The Police man on duty was fatally wounded during the attack. He is currently recuperating from that attack. While we were still mourning the death of Mr. Owes Jibrin, my nephew, Mr. Rientoe Raphael Maimako died in a fatal accident on the 5th of August, 2016. In the last one year, we have recorded the deaths of close family members, friends and colleagues. These have been very emotional and traumatic challenges. May their souls rest in peace, amen.
On the 8th of October, 2016 at the peak of the first semester examination for the 2015/2016 Academic Session, the Main Library Complex of the University situated at the Naraguta Campus was gutted by fire. The fire incident destroyed the learning resources of six Faculties. Two Faculties and six Departments that had cohabited with the Library were also destroyed. This incident created huge deficits in learning resources and infrastructure.
- STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND WELFARE
In spite of these challenges that heralded our administration, we resolved that our spirit would not be dampened. We made it a deliberate policy that human resource development would be pivotal to the success of our administration. Our slogan from the beginning was “Performance, Prosperity and Happiness.” As a result of this, we have never lost focus towards achieving perforamnce, prosperity and happiness of our staff.
Hitherto, our staff who were on approved full time study leave used to lose promotion because they were not on ground, but since our assumption of office, we have introduced a new policy on promotion which has been approved by the Governing Council. By this new policy, any staff who returns from study leave is promoted once he meets the criteria.
In the same vein, within the period under review, we have been able to offset backlog of salary arrears of Assistant Lecturers and Graduate Assistants which had been pending for several years.
We have also paid Hazard Allowance to NAAT members, while the arrears of Responsibility Allowance for 2016 has been paid to entitled staff.
In line with our policy of making staff welfare a priority, we were able to redeploy staff of the Centre for Continuing Education, Remedial Sciences and the University Staff School to relevant units and departments of the University so that the University will take full responsibility for their salaries.
Another milestone we were able to achieve was to secure the approval of the Governing Council for a new scheme of service.Before now, staff in the Registry and Bursary ended their carriers as Deputy Registrars or Deputy Bursars on level 14, but now with the new scheme they can advance to level 15 as Senior Deputy Registrars and Senior Deputy Bursars.It is the same for Academic Technologists who can now get to level 15; before now, they ended their carriers on level 13. New cadres have also been created for staff who had no cadre and stagnated since assumption of duty in the University.
We have equally reintroduced Part-Time Training Leave for staff to make it more convenient for them to learn while working.We have equally started implementing Research Leave for qualified academic staff.
Relationship with staff Unions
We have maintained in the last year cordial and harmonious working relationship with the four staff Unions on campus. We shall work hard to sustain the cordial working relationship and hope to improve by constant dialogue. We welcome constructive suggestions from all the Unions on how to make the University of Jos a better learning environment.
- ACADEMIC CALENDAR/ADMISSIONS
We wish to report that with the support of staff and students, we had a seamless academic calendar in the 2015/2016 Academic Session.
We are happy to say that broken or damaged seats in classrooms have been fixed and new ones added to improve on the learning environment of students. This has also made it possible for examinations to be conducted on stipulated dates without undue postponement which was hitherto the order of the day.
The University of Jos is steadily becoming the destination of choice for prospective JAMB candidates seeking admission into Nigerian Universities.In the 2016/2017 Admissions, over twenty five thousand candidates applied for admission into the University of Jos as first choice, but we were able to consider only about six thousand.For nearly five years now, candidates who were found wanting in their subject combinations for the course they were admitted for were out rightly rejected, but since we came on board, we have reintroduced Change of Courses for this category of candidates to departments that they are registrable.This has greatly reduced depression usually experienced by newly admitted students who were not registrable for the courses they were admitted for due to certain deficiencies.
We are also happy to announce that the University has commenced the IJMB programme.
We are also glad to announce that we have improved tremendously in processing transcripts for our old students who need them
In addition to having a seamless academic calendar, we have been working round the clock to see that programmes that were denied accreditation are back on stream.We have within the past one year made sure that funds were promptly released to upgrade facilities for the NUC Accreditation.It is in the light of this that we recently conducted and secured full accreditation for Postgraduate programmes in the Faculty of Management Sciences and Pharmaceutical Sciences.We are currently awaiting the result of NUC accreditation to undergraduate programmes.
- STUDENTS’ WELFARE
Conscious of our responsibility to the students who are the reason for our being here, we have within the period under review renovated the hostels and tried as much as possible to address the issues of light and water supply.
The shuttle buses which used to convey students from the hostels to the academic areas got grounded more than six years ago, but to God be the glory, we have repaired the buses and they are now fully on the roads conveying the students for lectures and back to the hostels thereby reducing the risk of commercial vehicles and the high cost of transportation for them.They are a lot happier for this.
The Directorate of Students Affairs is currently organizing elections into various positions of the students Union. We encourage and advise our students to remain law abiding the motto of the University is “Discipline and Dedication.” Students are reminded that only those found worthy in character and learning will be conferred with the University’s certificates.
As we journey into the second year, we are saddled with huge challenges including but not limited to:
- Creating an enabling environment that is conducive for learning and research.
- Meeting the expectations of stakeholders in terms of admission, recruitment and award of contracts.
- Creating the correct balance between performance, Prosperity and Happiness
It is said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.We are very conscious of this and have taken deliberate steps to improve our sporting facilities to encourage participation in sports, because a healthy body is a healthy mind.As a result of the support received by the Sports Committee, the University of Jos has never had it so good.At the recently concluded NUGA games in Makurdi, the University emerged the overall 2nd best in Zone E.The University won medals in all the games it entered for, except in one.The University is billed to represent Nigeria at the World Universities Games in Table Tennis, fall out of its gold medal in the game at the just concluded NUGA games.We are set on putting the University of Jos on the global map of University games.
- INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Projects achieved within the first one year of this administration include:
- Faculty of Social Sciences Complex and Faculty of Arts (Block ‘B’). Resolution of the dispute on the project through the intervention of ICPC. Work has resumed and is at different levels of completion. Hopefully, within the next three months some of the facilities will be in use, to reduce the accommodation needs of the Faculties.
- Senate Building. This administration has secured funding for the continuation of the work on the Senate building. The contractor has resumed work at the site.
- Provision of Facilities to new Faculties: The design of the Faculty complex for Management Sciences and Engineering have been completed and the funding prospectus is being processed through TETFund. The design of the proposed Veterinary Teaching Hospital has been completed, awaiting the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with the Plateau State Government.
- Proposed Visiting Scholars’ Lodge (now office facilities for the Faculties of Management Social Sciences). Two-storey-twelve number en-suit facilities designed and constructed as residence for visiting scholars, completed and commissioned. This facility is now being used by the Faculties of Management and Social Sciences on temporary basis due to the fire incident at the Library building in Naraguta campus.
- Extension of University Health Centre Building.
Resumption of the construction of additional facilities for records, pharmaceutical and maternity services; the construction work is at about 65% completion.
- Construction of new Student Hostels at Naraguta campus. Resumption of the construction of a 2 Storey building of 130 rooms en-suit accommodation plus supporting facilities such as common room, kitchen and restaurant. Work at practical completion, hopefully to be handed over in a month’s time.
- Renovation of Dalash Suites which was bought by the University. The facility has been rehabilitated for use by Africa Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development. Work at practical completion. The Centre has fully occupied the building.
- Rehabilitation of Demonstration Secondary School.
Facilities being progressively rehabilitated for use by the Department of Physical and Health Education and some Departments in the Faculty of Social Sciences
- Alumni Hall: Development of Proposed Lecture hall and administrative office facilities. Directorate of Alumni Relations sourcing for funds to undertake project.
Estate and Land Administration
- Furnishing of the new Student hostel in Naraguta – completed
- Furnishing of Medical Library/Offices at JUTH Lamingo – Completed
- Provision of mattresses in Naraguta hostels (Blocks A – D) and the Zion Female hostels. – completed
This administration has completed the following:
- Re-roofing of the 3-storey buildings and reconstruction of writing tables in classrooms for Medical Laboratory Sciences, at the Township Campus.
- Changing of the rain water discharge pipes from the roof parapets, in order to solve the roof leakage problems in the building for the Faculties of Education and Environmental Sciences.
- Rehabilitation of the blown-off roof of the building housing the Post Graduate School.
- Preparation of the structural integrity report and estimate for the rehabilitation of the burnt Library building at Naraguta Campus.
Civil Engineering Unit
We have also completed the following:
- Design and supervision of the construction of the water centralization/drainage system of the Naraguta hostels.
- Initiation of dialogue with the Plateau State Water Board.
- Re-activation of non-functional boreholes in the student hostels.
The following major projects were also executed within the period under review:
- The external electrification of the College of Medicine – JUTH.This project comprises the installation of 2.5MVA injection sub-station and two number 500KVA distribution transformers at Blocks A & C in June 2016, this gulped N60,981,326.96.The Sub-station has since been commissioned and working satisfactorily.
- Provision and installation of pre-paid electricity Meters at the Naraguta Senior Staff Quarters, permanent site in February 2017.
- The administration also purchased some generators in 2017 as backup for electricity supplies.They are at the University Health Services and residences of Principal Officers.
- ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNANCE
We are conscious of the fact that as leaders, we are holding our various offices in trust for the people. We cannot therefore betray that trust. We have since assuming office a year ago, been effectively using the internal mechanisms established to safeguard human and material resources.
This has saved the University money which would have been lost through inflated costing of goods and services rendered to the University.
We have also substantially addressed the problem of revenue leakages in the University.
- LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT
A Library is key in every citadel of learning as it is the repository of knowledge. It was therefore a rude shock to us when on the evening of 8th October, 2016, as mentioned earlier the Library complex at the Naraguta campus was completely gutted by an inferno. That Library was housing about 60% of the University Library’s collection of about 100,000 volumes, many computers and offices of two Faculties and several departments. As a result of the inferno, Management was proactive by launching a programme code named “Beauty from Ashes” to solicit for support all over the world to rehabilitate and restock the burnt library complex.
We want to report that as at today, about 70 individuals and institutions of goodwill from Nigeria and abroad have responded to our call for assistance. We have so far received books, journals, computers and cash. We have also established two collection points in the United States of America, in Florida and North Carolina and another one in South Africa. To crown it all, the Federal Government through the TETFund has given the University an Award Letter for the renovation of the burnt library to the tune of seven hundred and twenty-nine million naira only.
Within the period under review, we have also relocated the Medical Library from the Township Campus to Lamingo campus in February, 2017. We are equally training many of our Library staff to be abreast with global trends in managing a modern library.
Given the Security situation in the country, we are not leaving anything to chance.We have been proactive in our engagements with our internal security personnel and the external security operatives to ensure a safe and conducive learning and working environment for our students and staff.
We have embarked on the training of our internal security personnel which will be on a continuous basis.The most recent was the fire drills by men of the University Fire Service Station.
Fire Service Station
The University has had its fair share of the fire outbreaks in the past.After the fire incident of 8th October, 2016, the Federal Fire Service deployed eighth (8) staff to the University.We have established a mini Fire Service office at the Naraguta campus of the University.The station is being managed by staff of the Federal Fire Service. They have organized series of fire drills for the security personnel in the University and would soon do same for other staff and students.
Directorate of Alumni Relations
Given the fact that it is becoming very difficult for the Federal Government to meet the financial needs of the Federal Universities in the country; it has become expedient for the University to explore alternative sources of funding.One such alternative is strengthening of the Directorate of Alumni Relations towards cultivating the Alumni to give back to their Alma mata.The Alumni are responding positively with the Speaker of the House of Representatives setting the ball rolling.We want to urge all alumni amongst you and all over the world to begin to think seriously of what you can do for your Alma Mata.
In looking for alternative sources of income the University is giving vent to its advancement office to bring donors to assist the University. Indeed, every unit is being challenged to bring people of good will all over the world in helping the University of Jos towards actualization of its dream of being one of the best Universities in the world.
In its quest to become globally visible, the University of Jos has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the following:
- Kenyatta University
- Makerere Business University
- Gaston University
- University of Bea Cameroun
- Saint John’s University Tanzania
- University of Botswana
- Mansoura University Egypt
- European Union Technical Partner
Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies
The Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies (CES) had been accommodated in a temporary office at the Bauchi Road Campus since its establishment the Centre moved to its permanent site in September, 2016.
The Centre in partnership with the Centre for Gender Studies and the US Embassy hosted Ms Christine Seuffrant Ntim, who delivered a lecture to Women and students of the University.The Centre also hosted the South Korean Ambassador, His Excellency, Noh Kyu-Duk who delivered a lecture to the University Community.The Centre presented a proposal for the establishment of a vocational training Centre.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been a year of challenges and successes as we said at the beginning of this press conference and we want to give God the glory for the modest achievements we have so far recorded within the first year of our administration.We are convinced that with your continuous support and prayers we shall collectively move the University of Jos to the next level.We are calling especially on the students, staff Unions and all other stakeholders to join hands with Management towards enhancing the fortunes of the University rather dissipating energy on unnecessary fisticuffs.
Thank you and God bless
Professor Seddi Sebastian Maimako