Nnamdi Azikwe’s Response: Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Boniface Egboka And The Future

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The attention of concerned staff of Nnamdi Azikiwe University has been drawn to an internet posting by a little known source which calls itself International Center for Investigative Reporting (www.icirnigeria.org). The posting which has been widely shared on the net contained a lot of lies and half truths which we suspect were intended to hurt our University’s image and rubbish the massive efforts and successes we have achieved in the last couple of years especially since Prof. Boniface Egboka became Vice-Chancellor. We are therefore to answer to the various allegations against our University and the active Vice-Chancellor Prof. Boniface C. E. Egboka.

1. It is well-known within and around the University community that there are some reactionary people, still working as staff or who are retired,  that want to remote-control the active Vice-Chancellor of this great University to do their evil-intentioned demonic and pecuniary biddings: they believe that the Vice-Chancellor must stop his method of governance of goodwill and the rule of truth/law; he must stop his avowed insistence of a Students-first Philosophy of governance whereby problems and welfare of students are given the highest priority treatment; the VC must be maligned/blackmailed for solving the problems of overstayed students who were driven away from the University just like that to roam about wild in the streets; the VC must misuse funds to wet their financial appetites; he must dole out injustice to staff and students to maintain the status quo ante bellum; he must allow the injustices of the past on staff and students to remain; he must be punished for legally- and justifiably-recalling maltreated staff and students who were unjustly-expelled or suspended from the University; he must take excuses from such demons-incarnate before he made/makes any progressive moves of development in running the University; he must be stopped from his present massive achievements on the ground that can be seen by anyone who visits the University today; the present Vice-Chancellor must be well-intimidated to play dumb for vampires to incapacitate the system etc. Professor Boniface Egboka, the Owelle of Umuchu has said NO to all these sheghanigans!


2. A faceless group that calls itself concerned staff of Nnamdi Azikiwe University wrote an unsigned petition to the EFCC alleging several wrongdoings which are currently under investigation by the EFCC that must be allowed to do its work. The allegations are heavily-false and largely unfounded. We acknowledge that the University is a public Institution, which can be investigated if there is need for such. Therefore, the University recognizes the fact that the EFCC is carrying out its statutory duties under the law and there are also other organisations and individuals who are currently being investigated by the EFCC. That a petition is being investigated by the EFCC does not confer a verdict of guilt on those being investigated. Therefore the case of UNIZIK is peculiar in view of the actions of a misguided few whose selfish interests are the major driving force for these petitions.

3. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Boniface C. E. Egboka, did not order for the vehicles (two 2011 Toyota 4 Runner Jeeps worth N27m) as alleged. They are not used or refurbished vehicles as petitioned; they are new 2011 models. The truth is that due to the need to acquire some vehicles for the University, three companies’ submitted bids and finally Grech Resources Ltd. was authorized to supply the vehicles. Prof. Egboka never made any deposit for the vehicles as alleged. The normal process of doing business in a public institution was fully-met.

4. It is an insult on the University to write that the Vice-Chancellor without due process and against regulations, selectively awarded contracts or just merely invited whosoever he wanted. This notion is totally wrong. The University is properly staffed by competent officers who do not in any circumstance circumvent the due process or the regulations. The fact is that these petitioners have ulterior selfish motives which they placed above UNIZIK community interests. Their former contractor mentors and sponsors may not have had their ways of perfidy to ‘share out’ in their usual manner and, hence, their angst.

5. In the case of Porras and Oliva, this properly-registered company whose one of the Directors is an alumnus of this great University, competitively bided for and won the contract for the renovation of the University Auditorium at a little over N20M. The scope of the work was to be later reviewed by the Physical Planning Unit and approved by the appropriate authority with the introduction of the following changes as the work went on and when it was imperative to do so, namely: (a) Ventrified floor tiles; (b) Suspended ceiling; (c) Package air conditioners; (d) Burglary proofing; (e) External works with interlocking tiles; (f) Rear entrance staircase; and (g) Customized auditorium seats. Because of these additional works, our external consultants worked out the cost which corresponded with the University’s internal costing mechanism, hence, the upward review and the said variation. All contracts awarded to Porras and Oliva followed due processes.

6. Regibel, an active construction Company that is executing projects in parts of this country and whose one of the young Directors is an alumnus of this University, was mentioned as being awarded contracts without proper tendering. This allegation is baseless and false. Quotations for the construction of Senator Dr. Joy Emodi Road were received from three companies as follows: (1) Regibel Ltd. – N78,450,062.32 (2) Cotabs Engineering Ltd. – N86,532,041.08 (3) Adama Benjo Nig Ltd. – N84, 532, 041.08 Based on the above, Messrs. Regibel Ltd. had the least and most responsive tender and the Procurement Planning Committee recommended the award of the contract to the firm at the quoted sum N78,450,062.32. The evil detractors of Professor Egboka would prefer the old contractors rather than younger and new ones, some of whom may be alumni/alumnae of the University who do in addition, offer some free services to their alma mater.

Equally three firms submitted bids for the construction of walkway within the school premises. They are as follows: (a) Cotabs Engineering Ltd. – N130,672,968.75 (b) Adama Banjo Ltd.             – N138,651,271.88 (c) Regibel Ltd.                     – N122,144,500.85 The Procurement Planning Committee recommended the award of the contract to Regibel at the quoted sum of N122,144,500.88. This was approved by the University’s Tenders Board. So the allegation that there was no tender process, agreement or any document is totally false and a calculated attempt to ridicule the University Administration.

7. There have been cases of collapsing of buildings in this University because of poor foundational structure. Four of such buildings were rehabilitated and recovered by the present Administration that carried out a detailed Hydrological/Hydrogeological/Geophysical/Pedological Surveys of the University environment to find out why earlier constructed buildings were cracking helplessly and collapsing! This Administration has ensured that no civil works/buildings are to be built, now, in the University without proper civil/structural foundation including those structures that were started before the studies as given below.

8. The University Administration was also accused of unilateral   variations in contract costs and again this is not true. The Faculty of Arts building was awarded initially but had to be reviewed upwards because of changes in the structural foundation and scope of the work in order to prevent possible-eventual failure in the future. Also it must be stated that the variation cost was as a result of fluctuations and  increases in    the prices of materials from the inception of the project to date. The assessments were first carried out independently by an external consultant and secondly by the Physical Planning Unit of the University before arriving at that amount due to the contractor. Therefore the allegation that officials of the    University Administration siphoned the variation costs is not true in its entirety. Again this is the figment of imagination of these evil-minded petitioners.

9. Currently over 80 percent of UNIZIK student population live outside the University due to shortage of accommodation on campus. The University is currently developing hostel complex inside the University in partnership with Elmada Consulting Inc. (a Canadian Company). The Vice- Chancellor’s Son-in-law is the representative of Elmada in Nigeria. Already the first phase of the hostel project has been completed and commissioned by the Hon. Minister of Education who praised the University Administration for achieving the feat. Understandably and as a result of the success of the UNIZIK hostel project, some other universities have visited the University to see such a successful experience in a BOT/PPP      hostel project and are, now also, in partnership with Elmada for similar projects in their universities. The partnership agreement was scrutinized and approved by the University Governing Council. No wrong doing is involved in this project.

10. The bone of contention is that Prof. Boniface Egboka is clearly outworking outperforming some of the past leaders of the University who are not happy that their much talked-about high achievements are gradually being eclipsed and they are growing restless and reactionary by the day.

11. The Faculties of Biosciences and Physical Sciences were intended to be built through the Development Levy paid by students (Internally Generated Revenue). The contract was initially awarded to Messrs Bechtel Nig. Ltd. Based on the earlier good performance of this contractor in the successful completion of the gigantic Faculty of Law building, the University administration awarded this contract to the company based on its track record. Based on a petition by the faceless group to the Bureau of Public Procurement, the University was advised to initiate a fresh process. The University has since advertised the job which signaled the commencement of fresh bidding process. The University is grateful to the BPP for the advice which the University has accepted and is implementing, due largely to inter-agency cooperation in the interest of our people.

12. It must be emphasized that the due process of handling funds generated from the Development Levy from students were followed by the earlier Administration that handed over to Professor Egboka’s in the building of all projects at the Science Village, the gigantic Aghagbo Nwakor Library, the Faculty of Law and the present ongoing Faculty of Arts etc. For some reasons best known to these website-hacker-petitioners, they left out these many buildings and mentioned only the ones now being handled by the present Administration. Their missions are obvious: to distract, malign, blackmail and impugn an innocent man’s integrity but unfortunately for them, the reading public is wise!

13. Dr. Mrs. Chioma Emelumadu (nee Egboka) and Ms. Nkechi Egboka are fellow Nigerians who are well-qualified and were employed like others. It is saddening to note that the petitioners have concocted some falsehood over this for their selfish reasons. The University records can show that they are qualified and they were employed just as others. Dr. Chioma Emelumadu was employed as a medical officer with the Medical Centre and not as Medical Director as the merchants of falsehood insinuated. Also the other daughter has BSc. 2nd Class Hons. Degree Upper Division from this University and a Masters degree from the University of Aberdeen in Applied Geophysics and was working in an Oil Company at PortHarcourt before she was interviewed and subsequently appointed as Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Geological Sciences and Sub-Department of Applied Geophysics. Incidentally some of these petitioners also have close family members who are working in the University. Why the Vice-Chancellor’s case has found the headlines is this same pull-him-down syndrome.

14. Mrs. Uchenna Okeke is the wife of Ven. Prof. Ben Chuks Okeke the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration). She has a first degree in Business Administration (Cooperative), Second Class Hons. Upper division, Masters’ degree in Management and presently a PhD student. The complication in her appointment started when the Registry omitted including her first degree in her papers as submitted to it. This flaw was later corrected and she was appointed as Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Cooperative Economics and Management. Ever since her appointment, she has been discharging her duties satisfactorily.

15. Engr. Godwin Orji has a Masters degree in Polymer Science from the United Kingdom. He was to be employed as Technologist but when it was discovered that he had a Masters degree, he was interviewed and appointed as an Assistant Lecturer in Polymer Science. The sad story, however, is that two months after assuming this position, he passed away. So for, now, Engr. Orji is no more with us but we plead with these petitioners to allow the dead have an eternal rest. May the gentle soul of Engr. Orji and the Faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

16. At no time did the University employ any six Consultants in the University Medical Centre. These are senior Consultants who are lecturers in the University Medical School at Nnewi and Consultants at the Teaching Hospital Nnewi. The University Administration approached them to assist the University Medical Centre free of charge with their expertise once a week. Since they are already staff of the University, they would render their consulting services free. They agreed to work free in the interest of the University staff and students. For anyone to now say that they were employed and paid salary is mischief and a major dis-service to this University and humanity.

17. A Deputy-Director of the University Medical Centre who ignorantly thought that the helpful Consultants would be paid salaries and that they were placed to displace him accused the Administration falsely. He is not a Professor as falsely-stated by the avid petitioners. He was posted to Nnewi as routine tour of duty and not punitive as the petitioners falsely-painted.

18. We reiterate that these petitioners are only interested in stalling development in the University. In the last few years, the University has continued to witness enormous growth. For instance all previous efforts to solve the problem of water in the University in the last 30 years had failed; the University was served with water supplied by few water tankers from Oji River about 35kms away until Prof. Egboka became Vice-Chancellor. He deployed his world-acclaimed skill as a Professor of Environmental Hydrogeology and hit artesian aquifer within the University lands with water gushing out eternally to the ground surface and which is currently being reticulated across the University. This means a good bye to the water tankers which the University had depended upon for water supplies of doubtful quality for over thirty years.

19. It must be stated to the world that our University under Prof. Egboka has recorded tremendous successes for the University in various ways as may be summarized thus:

• Just recently our University has passed the 2011 Institutional Accreditation by the NUC with at a Grade A Level that will last her for the next five years; • Under Prof. Egboka, the University is the second most highly-sought after by candidates who seek admission with over 82,000. This shows the level of acceptability by parents, guardians, stakeholders and the candidates; • Successful graduation and induction of the first set of graduates of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences within their five years of existence; • Take off of the Faculty of Agriculture; • Linkages and collaborations with Universities across the world for exchange of staff and students; and • many other achievements too numerous to mention here such as infrastructural development, road network, construction of ramps in all buildings to enable the disabled move conveniently about, rehabilitation of hostels etc. that may be found in the University website.

20. Finally, the administration of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Boniface C. E. Egboka is staff and students friendly. No one has been maltreated for his/her views. Infact the VC received the newly elected executive of the Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU) few days back where he restated his resolve to work selflessly to make the University a model in the comity of universities in Nigeria and beyond. We, therefore, express our disapproval of the determination of these faceless and evil petitioners to drag the image of the University to the mud. We recognize that the Vice-Chancellor is human and can make mistakes in the course of selflessly working to better the life and development of the University community and her members but such negligible mistakes cannot be used as basis to malign an innocent person and paint the University black.

21. We hope and pray to God Almighty, the Defender of both the strong and the weak, that at the end of the EFCC investigations as well as the organizations where copies of the petitions were copiously-distributed, these false allegations can be shown for what they are – TRASH-IN-THE-CAN of perfidy.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Wow! I read the 21 points detailed response offered by UNIZIK to what it said was a false distraction published by a little known group in the cyber wave. The thorough details speak for themselves on the issues raised.

    Contract awarding and executing procedures of the university, like other institutions, should always conform to the laid down principles and practices of running a university. I want to applaud this submission to clear the air of any suspicion and conspiracy.

    However, I think the details are too much and should have been made shorter with an invitation to doubting Thomas’s to read such details in the website of the university with a required link. It is one thing to conspire and to accuse, including to succeed with an upsetting distraction like the accusers have perhaps aimed to achieve, yet it is obviously another to prove their allegations. Institutions and their star administrators that do clean affairs and keep their records simple and straight need not be troubled when detractors attempt to use 419 posts to undermine the works of such institutions.

    We have trust in UNIZIK and its administrators and we will never imagine that what was posted by the little known group will in any way be accurate.

    Universities and other institutions should frequently and consistently post what they do in their websites. It is hoped that such fair and accurate publications will help to cushion off allegations and frivolities that emerge from detractors, even before they tailor their 419 posts in the cyber wave and other forms of social networking.

  2. Though Prof. Egboka’s accusers don’t deserve undue attention in giving long details of explanations, i think this response was done so as to set the records straight because of the gullible public. I advice those fanning this ember of hate,discord and distraction in the university to have a rethink. Allow this man to finish his tenure. others were there before him and he will also quit for others at the end of his own. Professors and academicians should not convert their doctorate degrees to pull-him-down. there are many issues in nigeria begging for solution, let the okammutas channel their productive energy into research so as to make our place better. Ndigbo kanyi dozienu beanyi, kanyi nyere onwe anyi aka. God bless us.

  3. From all indication is true that NAU has turn to family Business nd were things re döne according to one person.wel i wont belm the Vc but does dat re petitioning him,were re u people wen he ask student to pay another accreditation of 10,000 where were u pple wen he riased hostel fees witout rendering the propare services.

  4. the ilochis, the ezeonus and nonyelus should leave our Erudite prof Egboka to work. there are distractions to the university. from record, Prof. Egboka is the best VC of unizik so far. at least his is compassionate, he is humane, he has listening ear, and operates open door policy. his developmental strides are unequaled.

  5. the Ilochis, the Ezeonus, the Nonyelus and co. are distractions to the university. when the Ilochis where the vice chancellor, our astute and amiable prof. Egboka supported them. they should desist from their evil acts and give Egboka Support.

  6. when the ilochis were the vice chancellor, Erudite Prof. Egboka supported them. they should give Egboka support, if they are sensible

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