I want to leave the college with true sense of academic tradition- Prof Udo

I want to leave the college with true sense of academic tradition- Prof Udo

In an interview with our correspondent in his office, he disclosed the strategy adopted to reduce the issues of cultism and cult related activities raging the college, how he upheld discipline among staff, ‘exhumed’ 9000 abandoned certificates of graduates among other achievements in the college.

Excerpt:

There is visible improvement in terms of infrastructure in this college, how did it happen?

Well, apart from the State government, most of the infrastructure in the collage is from TETFUND. Actually when I came in, I met with some unpalatable impression. Tetfund issued the College an audit query due to its failure to conduct Tetfund assisted projects the way it should be conducted. That query could not be answered, therefore it withheld the tranche of money to be given to the college. When I was appointed the provost, I made some inquiries and discovered what happened, I approached Tetfund, answered the queries and also signed an undertaking with consent of the council that was in place that time. We had about N100 Million tax that was not remitted to Tetfund and as I speak we’ve remitted those taxes and by the last time the tax auditors came to check it was just something far below N40Million that was left in addition to all the taxes we have paid since the inception of the current administration in 2020. I was able to be up-to-date in tax remittance because I made it a policy that when a contract is awarded to a contractor, when I’m signing the cheque for your payment, I sign it along with the tax deduction. I calculate everything and sign it along, by so doing we did not owe any tax and we were able to clear the backlog.

There was this issue of cultism rocking the college, what is the situation now ?

Well, the situation is calm, and how did we make it calm, when I took over as the provost, I first assembled the community which hosts the college, knowing that these students live within the community, the students are not living on campus as the hostels are being renovated. I called their landlords and said to them, you own the houses these people live, therefore, you have to do something about the issue of cultism because if they come in for a raid, it is you that will first go down. They listened and began to monitor the activities of their tenants who are students to ensure that incidents of cultism are not found in the community.After that, I invited the immediate structures which include the lecturers, students and their executive and had a meeting with them on same issue. I can say that the issue of cultism has greatly reduced. The truth is that most of the students know who are cultists. We have a strong SUG and a committed Dean of students, we also coordinate the activities of NAKIS. So all these stakeholders are on top of their game.

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On the internal security, when I assumed office, I discovered that there is lack of manpower in the security department of the college. Most of the personnel are old, they are civil servants and no longer active. Therefore I made a proposal to to the former Council that they allow us get a private security outfit. That is why we have that Satana Security which we mandated to break every ranks in the community, and know where the issues lie, that, they are doing diligently. You know one of the reasons we have this social violence in the academic environment is in the Students Union Government and during elections in particular. So during elections we were using electronic voting and it has been fantastic, the students can vote from anywhere in the world and I stay at the comfort of my office or home to monitor it. So, this issue of voter intimidation by cultists does not
exist. No body will cajole you to vote him or her. They will go to the dashboard in the ICT unit and monitor
the votes as they drop, once it reaches the time voting will end, the system locks you out and the votes are counted.

 

Professor Daniel Udo is the provost, College of Education, Afaha Nsit, Akwa Ibom State.

 

The College had a problem of accreditation of courses, what is the situation now?

Well, it has improved significantly, in 2022 we had accreditation in both NCE and degree programmes. Out of the 22 departments we presented to the National Commission of Colleges of Education (NCCE), we had full accreditation in all of them and out of the 11 programmes we presented for accreditation for the Degree programme, 10 scaled through while one which incidentally is my Department had a partial accreditation and due for full accreditation in 2024. We had to go extra mile to employ experts from the University to put us through and do a follow up.

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What legacy will you like to leave as a provost?

I want to leave this college as an institution that propagates knowledge and disciple. Discipline on the part of students, on the part of staff even as a provost I have to be disciplined inorder to instill discipline in others. Imagine a situation where you have academic board meeting scheduled for 10:00AM and you, as a provost is going by 11:00AM, it does not make sense. I always tell my staff to always maintain their integrity. I told them that I can stand in the full glare of the world and ask any of my students who I have ever collected a dime from to pass him or any of the female student that I have ever asked out to pass my exams for whatever reasons to come out. I told them that sometimes we demean ourselves before our students, a situation where I know that a certain student did not do well in an examination and does not deserve a pass, because he brings money to me, I pass him and later that person becomes a Minister of Education, how do you think that person will look at me? I have already run down my integrity before him.

I want to leave the college with a true academic tradition, that is why I can not sweep an academic fraud under the carpet, no matter the reason. That is why when I came in newly as the provost, my staff and students thought that I was too mean and hard but later they realized that I was just trying to put things in their right perspectives.I want my records to speak for me because I may not be there to defend myself.

I want to retire from this job and go back to the community and be able to face people, incidentally, I’m from this community where the college is located. I want to go to town hall meetings and make my contributions when neccessary and not to bury my face in shame. I wouldn’t want to leave the college with the kind of indebtedness I inherited.

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I want to ensure that any student who graduates from the college must leave with a certificate as long as you did your part as a student. By God’s special grace I’ve been able to exhume over 9000 certificates dating back to year 2000 to 2010. These people have finished their academics many years ago but could not get their certificate.

What could be the reason?

You know that we have this dual mode of certificate at the college, that is after signing the certificates here you have to send it to Abuja, NCCE before it comes back to us. Some of the students, their results were not processed, some they were processed but the certificates were not signed and you have to pay the NCCE for the results to be printed in Nigeria printing and minting press. These are the processes, but over 9000 students on record who have finished without certificates, now have certificates. But we will check our records, if you’ve done your clearance and paid your school fees. I ensured that everyone who has not paid his or her fees, pay through the portal before your certificates would be issued. So now, as you graduate, your certificate would be issued to you as long as you’ve done your clearance and you don’t owe the school.