Posted by News Express | 2 August 2021 | 936 times
By ABUBAKAR YUSUF
Since his assumption of duty a little over a year ago, the new Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, in his wisdom has embarked on major transformation of the over three decades institution located in the heart of Nigeria, that refused to grow in tandem with its status.
Operating on a multi-campus environment, with the old site located in the heart of Gwagwalada town and the new campus or permanent site on a stretch of land from Gwagwalada to Iddo on Airport Road, the institution had resisted all manner of strategy to become an envious and modest ivory tower until the assumption of duty of the new helmsman.
The multi-campus was prone to insecurity for lack of standard and perimeter fence to protect both the students, staff and equipment of the university.
This trend became unbearable not until the relocation and gradual movement of Nigerian Army headquarters commenced in phases, as staff and students hitherto exposed to criminal elements heaved a sigh of relief after the location of new 50 rooms army barracks in Giri and springing up of military formation directly opposite the university, that precluded the activities of criminal elements.
Even at that, the university was still exposed to so many unforeseen situations, as the porous nature of its location has not only exposed the institution to encroachment but made it a hide out to criminal elements and students who keep bad companies outside the mandate of the learning environment.
To forestall the continuation of the unfortunate situation, the professor of literary arts did not hide his feelings on the security lapses as he complemented the military presence and embarked on perimeter fencing project that had defied successive administrations in the university.
The two-way gradual approach of beautification and perimeter fencing of the university has paved way for gradual recovery of the university land exposed to encroachers and villagers spread from new Iddo along airport junction to parts of Gwagwalada town along Lokoja road.
The aggressive approach to protect the institution from vandals and criminal elements that had exposed students to illicit activities is also extended to physical development on the old/new campuses, embarked on major renovations, including major infrastructural development on the extended campus on airport junction axis.
The ongoing physical development will also put a halt to incessant encroachment of villagers, new settlers on large acres of land allocated to the university at inception, as plans is concluded to retrieve the already occupied part of the university parcel of land.
As an academic and university administrator, Na’Allah had deployed his wealth of experience as former Vice Chancellor, Kwara State University (KWASU) to either modify or introduce new academic requirements for the lecturers, students and workers of the institution.
This is related to the code of conduct for workers and students in line with the statues of the institution amidst recurring industrial action that involved all the unions, ranging from ASUU, NASU and SSANU to other affiliate unions of the university in the spirit of harmonious relationship among the unions and the university management.
University administrators are often bedevilled with admission process that involve absorption of students at all levels through racketeering from all ends – from staffers and students as well as their internal and external agents – characterised by bribery and corruption in the institution.
Na’Allah did not live any stone unturned that restored sanity to the admission process and procedures, and strict adherence and specification to the university rules and regulations as well as in line with JAMB requirements.
The admission policy has been reviewed to include only direct family members of staffers of the institution that are qualified for admission without any special waiver that gave room for admission rackets.
The seamless activities introduced by the new vice chancellor had brought the staff and management relationship in good stead, and paved way for the current development of the institution.
With the major successes recorded a little while after one year in office, it is obvious that much will be achieved between now and the end of his term.
Na'Allah has laid a solid foundation for the progress and development of not only the University of Abuja, but for other administrators of ivory towers in Nigeria to take cue.
•Yusuf, public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja; Tel: 08138238476.
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