The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono, has called for restraint among warring parties in the leadership transition at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
Echono made the call in a statement by the Deputy Director, Press, Mr. Ben Goong, in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that ministry was apprised of the circumstances leading to the directive by the Governing Council of ABU, Zaria to the out-going Vice Chancellor to proceed on leave ahead of his terminal date of April 30, 2020.
“Acknowledging that it is within the powers and authority of the Governing Council to direct the Vice-Chancellor to enjoy his accumulated earned leave, the ministry considered it unfortunate that this purely administrative matter has been escalated beyond proportion.
“Accordingly, all parties to the matter have been advised to exercise restraint in the interest of the University.”
Prof Garba was asked to leave office as ABU VC
Recall that the outgoing Vice-chancellor was asked to leave the office. In a letter to him dated February 7, signed by the Registrar of the university, A. A. Kundila, the council headed by its Chairman, Malam Adamu Fika (Wazirin Fika), directed Prof. Umar Garba to proceed on terminal leave with effect from March 1, 2020.
The letter, which was copied the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Inspector General of Police, Director, Department of State Service, among others, asked the vice-chancellor to handover leadership of the university to the deputy vice-chancellor, Academic.
The two-paragraph letter seen by this newspaper reads: “At the 190th (emergency) meeting of the Governing Council of the university held on Thursday, 6 February 2020, council resolved and directed that you should proceed on terminal leave from 1 March 2020.
“You are to handover the instruments of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor to Prof. D. A. Ameh, the deputy vice-chancellor (Academic) who will manage the affairs of the university until the new vice-chancellor assumes duty on 1 May 2020.”
Responding, the vice-chancellor Prof. Umar Garba said by all standards, the directive was unfair and not in line with any law or due process governing activities of a federal university.
“I will request for further clarification on whether the directive was advisory and subject to my acceptance or is a disciplinary action against me and of which I am not aware of any charges that warrant such a heavy sanction if that was what it was meant to be,” he told Daily Trust.
He said he was fully aware that his tenure would end on 30 April 2020.
“I need all the remaining time to tidy up and ensure a smooth and comprehensive handing-over to a new vice-chancellor who should assume office on 1 May 2020,” he said.