By Marie-Therese Nanlong
UNIVERSITY of Jos, situated in the heart of Jos, has had its fair share of the negative impact of crises; the institution has also witnessed myriad of internal problems which disrupted academic activities for months leaving the staff and students stranded.
In the past one year, the institution has had to grapple with many challenges including the razing of a 40 year old library as well as lecture halls and staff offices; a situation which has added to the infrastructural deficit in the university.
But since assumption of office a year ago, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sebastian Maimako, has tried to put the institution on track and made staff and students to have a sense of belonging in the academic environment despite the threat to his life as recorded in an attack on his home barely a month that he resumed duty. Appraising his performance in the year, Professor Maimako admitted that he was jolted by the realities he met on ground but had to tighten his girdle with his management team to overcome the challenges ahead.
Among the areas where modest achievements have been made were in staff development and welfare; academic calendar/admissions; accreditation; students’ welfare; sports; infrastructural development estate and land administration; accountability in governance; library development and security.
On how he did these, the VC explained, “Our slogan from the beginning has been ‘Performance, Prosperity and Happiness’ and we have never lost focus. Hitherto, our staff who were on approved full time study leave used to lose promotion because they were not on ground but we have introduced a new policy on promotion which has been approved by the Governing Council.
“We have offset backlog of salary arrears of Assistant Lecturers and Graduate Assistants which have been pending; we have paid hazard allowance and arrears of responsibility allowance for 2016 have been paid. The Governing Council has also approved a new scheme of service to ensure career growth.
“With the support of staff and students, we had a seamless academic calendar in 2015/2016 Academic session; we are working to see that programmes that were denied accreditation are back on stream. The university has commenced the IJMB programme and we have repaired and put to use shuttle buses to convey students from hostels to the academic areas.”
On the burnt library, he added, “The federal government through the Tertiary Education Fund, TETFund has given the University an Award Letter to the tune of N729million for the renovation of the burnt library. We have relocated the Medical Library from the Township campus to Lamingo campus.
“About 70 individuals and institutions of goodwill from Nigeria and Abroad have responded to our call for assistance and we have received books, journals, computers and cash and there has been fire drill by men of the University Fire Service Station as we are not leaving anything to chance.”
The VC maintained that the modest achievements are not the peak but he is determined in the remaining years of his tenure to create an enabling environment for teaching, research and community service and called on all stakeholders to give him the needed support to give the best to the University.