Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Acting Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Dr. Shettima Bukar Abba, on Wednesday admitted that the appointment of Vice Chancellors of the 40 Federal Universities in Nigeria were lopsided, a situation he noted, occasioned public outcry and protests across the country in recent times.
Abba stated this while expressing the Commission’s resentment on how government ministries and parastatals disregard and flouts due process in appointment and placement of infrastructure before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Governmental Affairs.
Taking notation of appointment of Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities recently at the zonal level, he said, some zones were not equitably represented.
“Mr. Chairman, they are 40 Federal Universities in Nigeria and when we took stock of Vice Chancellors especially the recent appointment that bred protest here and there at the 6 geopolitical level, some zone were not adequately represented,” he repeated.
The Acting Chairman, who appeared with his commissioners in the agency, however, exempted the Military from the Commission’s approved guidelines in their recruitment exercise on grounds of peculiarities.
“I took up the matter of recruitment into the Army with Chief of Army Staff, but he said, if we are being killed in War front, do we talk about federal character? So, I agree with him that Military be exempted,” he said.
Commissioners from the Commission, who took turns to explain the challenges being faced by the agency, were emphatic that there was need to look into the Acts that set up Federal Character Commission, suggesting that sanctions for flouting FCC were inadequate.
A member of the Committee, Senator Duro Faseyi, who was visibly worried by the turn of events at the Commission assured that Senate would enact laws to establish Tribunal to try MDAs that disobey FCC rules.
“We will make that a Tribunal is established through enabling laws in order to sanction erring MDAs,” Duro maintained.
In his opening speech, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Tijjani Yahaya Kaura, said that the Committee would swiftly respond to executive and administrative arbitrariness, if such was found out in the course of oversight functions.
“We will ensure enforcement of equitable and proportional distribution of infrastructural facilities and socio-economic amenities and will stick these principles and discourage Executive and administrative arbitrariness,” he stressed.