16th November, 2021
Femi Fani-Kayode has thrown his weight behind Isa Pantami after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) rejected the report submitted by a committee in its Owerri, Imo State zone on the appointment of Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy as a professor of cybersecurity by the management of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
The president of the lecturer’s union, Emmanuel Osodeke, a professor, while addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday at the end of its two-day meeting of the National Executive Council, said ”there are many unanswered questions on Mr. Ibrahim’s professorship’.
He also said the public should await its verdict at the end of the probe by another panel it had already set up.
He said; “ASUU NEC members, like many other concerned Nigerians, did not accept the report of the ASUU FUTO congress. There are serious doubts and unanswered questions bordering on the qualification of Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) for the position. The FUTO Branch Committee’s report failed to justify Dr. Isah Ali Ibrahim’s (Pantami’s) appointment to professor on the basis of requisite experience, professional suitability, and antecedents at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (ATBU).”
The union said even though the congress of its FUTO branch had endorsed the appointment of Mr. Ibrahim as a professor, the secretary of the committee the FUTO branch set up had made a u-turn to reject the verdict, giving a dissenting report.
The union said it would probe the activities of its members in the award of the professorship, saying the report raised more questions than answers.
Mr. Osodeke said: “Some critical questions begging for answers include the following: Has Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) met the 12-year post-qualification requirement as contained in the advertisement? Does he possess the required relevant academic publications and 70 percent being in web presence? Can a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria take a tenured appointment in the university? Is he capable of carrying out his official duties as required of a professor at the same time as a serving minister? Has Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) met the conditions of teaching, supervision, mentorship of younger academics and academic leadership required of a professor?
“What did the external assessors’ reports on the documents submitted by Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) say about his publications? As it has always been the culture of academics, what did the referee reports from his places of previous employment say about him? What is the general assessment of the students previously taught by him? Did the Governing Council meet to approve the appointment?
“In view of the foregoing and having rejected the ASUU-FUTO Committee’s report, NEC set up an independent committee to investigate all issues surrounding the controversial appointment of Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) as a Professor of Cyber Security in the University. Thereafter, the position of ASUU-NEC shall be made known to the public. In addition, another committee shall visit the ASUU-FUTO branch with a view to determining the role of members in the controversial appointment and report back to NEC for further action.”
However, Fani-Kayode via a statement released on Tuesday said Pantami deserved to be a professor.
“What has Isa Pantami done to ASUU? When will the hatred stop? Is it because he is Muslim? I know Pantami well and he is eminently qualified to be a Professor, “Fani-Kayode wrote on Facebook.
“Let us be guided by love and not hate. Lies, disinformation, prejudice, ignorance and religious bigotry have blinded many in our country.”