The Alumni Association of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) has given the university seven days to respond to the issues it raised over the appointment of the Minister for ICT and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami as professor.
Pantami’s appointment has been an issue of much controversy especially as a Nigerian professor based in the US and newspaper columnist, Farooq Kperogi raised so many issues to allege that Pantami’s appointment was undeserved.
FUTO had announced the appointment of Pantami, a minister with so much controversy baggage around him, especially after his pro-Islamic terrorism teachings leaked to the public some four months ago.
Part of the controversy is that Pantami had his degrees in the social sciences and doesn’t qualify for cybercrime professorship, he had not taught at the university of appointment and also had not got so high to the level of appointment as a professor.
As the issues rage that seems to question the credibility of the appointing institution, a situation that was compounded by the registrar of the school in a press interview, the Alumni association waded in to save the reputation of their alma mater from further smear.
The body raised 12 posers they need answers to within seven to defend the appointment of Pantami.
President of FUTO Alumni Association, Ndubuisi Chijioke signed the document and disclosed that the association has given the FUTO Governing Council seven days to respond to the 12 issues raised in its letter to the council.
“The last few days have been very embarrassing to the reputation and image of our alma mater.
“Rising from our NEC meeting on the 12th of September, 2021, it was resolved that we write to the University on the subject matter. This was promptly done and by the 15th of September, 2021, the letter from the Alumni was received by the University. There has not been any response as of yet to the letter.
“Our letter set out to give the University the opportunity to explain the circumstance of this said appointment by way of specific questions asked regarding the process leading to this appointment.
“Our locus standi to ask the questions is grounded on the facts that the Alumni body is a key stakeholder in the University enterprise. More legally, the FOI Act permits the Alumni to ask for any information from a public institution or public servant regarding the operations, processes, and decisions of such public institution.
“The Act is a law that requires full compliance by responsible parties and we, therefore, expect the University to respond to the 12 questions we have raised.
“Providing these answers to the question should form the basis for our further engagement, investigation or outright determination of what transpired and what options and pathway to follow to remedy this ugly situation.
“For instance, their response will enable us to determine if this was a case of an individual or collective failure by the Governing Council. Was it sheer negligence in their fiduciary responsibilities or a case of impunity by the Chief Executive of the university.
“The University’s *reasonable* response will enable the Alumni to determine how to approach or progress further action.
“The FOI Act specifically requires the public institution to respond within 7 days to any request made to it. By the 22nd, it will be exactly 7 days after the University received our request. Failing to provide a reasonable response by the 22nd can only mean three things; it has failed the first test on accountability and transparency; it has defied an extant law requiring it to avail such information on request; it sadly has something to hide about this action that has attracted general public opprobrium.