A report submitted by Federal University of Technology (FUTO) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), endorsing the appointment of Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, as a professor of cybersecurity, has been rejected by the body’s National Executive Council.
Adddressing journalists in Abuja on Monday November 15 at the end of a two-day meeting of the National Executive Council, newly elected President of the association Victor Osodeke stated that ”there are many unanswered questions on Mr Ibrahim’s professorship’.
Osodeke said members of the public should await its verdict at the end of the probe by another panel it had already set up.
“ASUU NEC members, like many other concerned Nigerians, did not accept the report of the ASUU FUTO congress. There are serious doubts and unanswered questions bordering on the qualification of Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) for the position. The FUTO Branch Committee’s report failed to justify Dr. Isah Ali Ibrahim’s (Pantami’s) appointment to professor on the bases of requisite experience, professional suitability and antecedents at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (ATBU).”
Osodeke who maintained that vice-chancellors “have no business trading honorary degrees and academic positions for personal and immediate gains”, averred that doing so will continue to smear “the collective integrity of committed scholars and other patriots who are working day and night to uplift the system that produced them.”
ASUU President further announnced that the association will probe the activities of its members in the award of the professorship. He also pointed out that even though the congress of its FUTO branch had endorsed the appointment of Mr Ibrahim as a professor, the secretary of the committee the FUTO branch set up had made a u-turn to reject the verdict, giving a dissenting report.
“Some critical questions begging for answers include the following: Has Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) met the 12-year post-qualification requirement as contained in the advertisement? Does he possess the required relevant academic publications and 70 per cent being in web presence? Can a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria take a tenured appointment in the university? Is he capable of carrying out his official duties as required of a professor at the same time as a serving minister? Has Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) met the conditions of teaching, supervision, mentorship of younger academics and academic leadership required of a professor?
“What did the external assessors’ reports on the documents submitted by Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) say about his publications? As it has always been the culture of academics, what did the referee reports from his places of previous employment say about him? What is the general assessment of the students previously taught by him? Did the Governing Council meet to approve the appointment?
“In view of the foregoing and having rejected the ASUU-FUTO Committee’s report, NEC set up an independent committee to investigate all issues surrounding the controversial appointment of Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) as a Professor of Cyber Security in the University. Thereafter, the position of ASUU-NEC shall be made known to the public. In addition, another committee shall visit the ASUU-FUTO branch with a view to determining the role of members in the controversial appointment and report back to NEC for further action.”
US-based Nigerian Professor, Farooq Kperogi who backed ASUU’s national body’s stance on Pantami’s professorship, wrote;