* By Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu
The authorities of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka (UNIZIK) Thursday, responded to the allegations made by the president of Students' Union Government (SUG) Noble Eyisi against the university Vice Chancellor Prof. Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku.
Mr Eyisi had through a letter dated 4th May 2015, accused the Vice Chancellor of maladministration and exploitation of the students. In the letter, Mr Eyisi demanded answers from Mr. Ahaneku to some questions he raised. He asked the vice chancellor to disclose the status of the students' account and alleged that the SUG lacks access to it despite the fact that the students contribute annually to that through their school fees. He also demanded the reason why the Post UTME fees were increased from N1000 to N2000. Mr. Eyisi also asked the reason why newly admitted candidates were asked to pay N7500 as biometric capturing fees alleging that a total sum of N45,000 000 was generated from that since 6000 candidates were admitted in the 2014/2015 academic session.
In reaction to the issues raised by the president, the Director, Directorate of Information and Public Relations of the university Dr. Emmanuel Ojukwu in a long telephone chat with me Thursday night, apologised to the public especially the university community for the university's delayed response to the issues raised by the SUG president, he attributed that to a very busy week due to ongoing meeting of the university's governing council, and accused the SUG president Mr. Noble Eyisi of been over desperate to gain fame with the aid of some greedy persons. According to Mr. Ojukwu, Mr. Eyisi wrote the Vice Chancellor and instead of waiting for a response, he rushed to the press to publish same letter and also started publicising it in the university.
In reaction to the alleged increment in Post UTME fees and introduction biometric fees charges to newly admitted candidates, Mr. Ojukwu said that the students' leader lacks powers to demand answers to such from the Vice chancellor because Post-UTME candidates and newly admitted candidates that are yet to receive their registration numbers from the university are not undergraduates of the university who Mr. Eyisi represents. Mr. Ojukwu however, said that in order to promote transparency, the university decided to respond to that. According to him, Post-UTME organisation is usually an expensive task and in order to promote its standard, the university had no option than to increase its costs on candidates. He further maintained that due to the reforms by Mr. Ahaneku's led administration, for the first time in the university's history Post-UTME results were released 3hours after its conduct thereby preventing fraudsters from gaining opportunity to sabotage the process.
Mr. Ojukwu also disclosed that the N7,500 biometric charges on the newly admitted candidates were adequately utilised in the biometric screening of candidates during the Post-UTME which highly reduced impersonation. According to him, about 88 impostors were arrested during the exercise.
On the alleged prohibition of the SUG from students' account, Mr. Ojukwu said that the Vice Chancellor is never a signatory to the account. He said that signatories to SUG account include the Dean of Students and the SUG Financial Secretary. Mr. Ojukwu explained that the delay in the payment of the allowances of the SUG officials is due to the nonavailability of SUG budget as the President Mr. Eyisi is yet to present the union's budget.
On the alleged frustration of the union's efforts to compel food vendors within the university to reduce their charges to N150 per plate and other alleged harassments of the union officials, Mr. Ojukwu said the president acted without the approval of the students' representative council and the university had no option than to prohibit such which can lead to anarchy.
On the alleged late night invitation of the SUG president by the vice chancellor to sign some documents, the university's information and public relations director disclosed that such never happened and that the vice chancellor never invited him to sign any document as he alleged. Mr. Ojukwu disclosed that the vice chancellor called a meeting to address students in order to promote peace and justice in the university but the SUG president refused to attend. Mr. Ojukwu further said that Mr. Eyisi has failed to unite his fellow union officials as all of them are against him. He said that Mr. Eyisi has been having problem with other executives of the union including his vice but the university sees such as an internal affair of the students and therefore has always avoided to intervene in line with the policy of non interference in students' matters championed by the vice chancellor. He however advised Mr. Eyisi to reconcile with his fellow elected officials and face his obligations to the students instead of seeking for cheap popularity. He further advised the students' leader to avoid been influenced further by some aggrieved greedy persons who never want the progress of the university.
Mr. Ojukwu finally said that accusing the person of Prof. Joseph Ahaneku of corruption is ridiculous because he is a highly disciplined and principled man. "Can you imagine that when I made a request for the replacement of the toner of my printer, the vice chancellor ordered an investigation to certify the last time such replacement was made, I have worked with two vice chancellors before Prof. Ahaneku and to be honest with you, he Ahaneku is the most disciplined" he said.