The Taraba Youth for Peace, Good Governance and Development has condemned what it described as attacks meant to distract the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba state, Professor O. Geoffrey Okogbaa.
In a communique jointly signed on Sunday by Samson Bwacha and Innocent Audu, President and Secretary of the group respectively, the Youth group said Professor Okogbaa should rather be commended for turning the institution around at a time when there is widespread concern over the standard of education.
The group said it is on record that the current VC conducted the affairs of the school in the most transparent, accountable and judicious manner since the establishment of the institution and should not be rewarded in a manner that suggests Taraba people are ingrates.
The communique reads in part, “Those sponsoring the allegations against Professor Okogbaa do not have the interest of Taraba at heart. The stage is open for any qualified person that will double the efforts already put in the establishment of the University and ensure its rapid growth not minding any ethnic or political affiliation. The professor should therefore be allowed to focus on his work irrespective of his ethnic background.” The group said the current attempt at politicizing the affairs of the University is highly uncalled for and unacceptable to the youths of Taraba State particularly when it is being done through trumped up corruption allegations. It noted that it would not have been possible for the alleged financial infraction being touted by some groups to take place because the National Assembly oversight of the institution would have exposed any underhand dealings. The youth group posited that “There is a Governing Board for the school so it is perplexing that some people can start writing petitions alleging lack of due process in the award of contracts and that those contracts were inflated when the Vice Chancellor does not have the sole discretionary powers to make such decisions. “We also have a strong feeling that those behind the petitions are either ignorant of how the processes work or that they are simply being deliberately mischievous. For instance, their claim about non-compliance with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) failed to understand the peculiarities of tertiary institutions. “Committee of Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities had expressed fears that the introduction of TSA would disrupt the operation of their tertiary institutions. Similarly, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had urged the Federal Government to exempt the universities from TSA. In both instances the concern was over disruption to running a university. So for some groups to now be writing a petition over the time it took the Federal University, Wukari to make that transition, despite the resulting disruptions is purely irresponsible.” The statement said. The group stressed that it would rather have a non-indigene running a world renowned university in Taraba state than having an indigene that will make the place into a glorified secondary school. It appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to help strengthen the university by finding out and providing what it needs to excel instead of entertaining frivolous petitions.