Since the series of announcements regarding take-off of the Karl Kum University (KKU), appointments of Board of Trustees, some pioneer Management Staff, and the Governing Council, the general public saw it as another giant step within the Christiandom towards complementing Government’s efforts in providing quality Education, Human and Capital Development. The avalanche of applause that welcomed what I consider as a Magnum opus of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) cannot be overemphasized.
However, no sooner or barely less than two months of take-off, some Members of the KKU host community rose in arms “crying blue murder” on issues that bother on appointment(s) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This is SAD and a SHAME.
HONESTLY, for the records and without prejudice, I have keenly watched and listened with interest the varied “arguments” over issues on the ground concerning the baby institution. I have also followed the phenomenal development of the baby institution since conception. I also picked interest in the concerns shown by one of our Patriots, Davidson Rotshak Lar JP who, this time around took the benedictine approach as a typical Clergy and with kids gloves in appealing to the consciences of all concerned. That was good enough and I commend him, despite his not being a COCIN Member like myself.
In this day and time, I offer to share my thoughts and sympathy and make a clarion call with characteristic bluntness to save a situation that appears to present a clear danger to institutional survival and sustainability.
To my mind, and from EXPERIENCE, this BABY UNIVERSITY does NOT deserve this NEEDLESS HULLABALOO that is ongoing and predicated on ethnicity. KKU should be seen hitting the ground, running, MOST ESPECIALLY as a FAITH-BASED RELIGIOUS institution aimed at PRO-EXCELLENCE.
Looking back in time, it took KKU over 25 years of CONCEPTUALIZING, ADVOCACY, STRUGGLING, PULLING financial & material resources together from hard toiled efforts of its Parishioners and well-meaning government and private organizations for its take-off. The time for reaping the fruits of its labor and other positive multiplier effects of having a University was just about to start, given all the advertisements for recruitment of Academic and Non-teaching Staff as well as Students Admissions… but imminent threats are starring the baby on the face.
Even with the impending threats through creative selfishness, xenophobic sentiments, emotional blackmail, and worst still, sacrificing integrity and honesty to the altar of mediocrity and ethnicity, the KKU must NOT be a “dead on arrival project.” Hauling gigantic curses or aspersions on innocent individuals, Statesmen, Clergymen, and threatening showdowns through ultimatum are not the ways to go. Taking an individual like Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, Chairman Board of Trustees to the cleaners is most uncharitable and unfair. He is a man of impeccable integrity who has built a name and reputation for himself in his over 30 years of sojourn in the academics, public and private services. His singular, patriotic, and God-fearing contributions to the development, recognition, and take-off of KKU and to the COCIN Alumni and family are unparalleled and cannot be quantified. He has gone through greater baptism of fire concerning the attitude and “hearts of men”. The same can be said of other elders on the Board, Council, and Management. These are some of the burdens of leadership in taking on the thankless job of managing public institutions and people. Having seen and experienced many things of life, including “betrayal of truth” at least for the sake of the fledgling institution, the future of mankind and to the glory of God they should hold forth. They should therefore not be provoked, discouraged and tempted to “throw in the towel”, please.
BE STRENGTHENED and ensure that you GET THINGS DONE properly and strategically. I had experienced it before, having been thrown into the detention dungeon of security agencies to capitulate, betray and crush or kill the dreams of survival of the Plateau State University (PLASU), Bokkos, but I refused to bulge and God eventually saw us through and the University today is still standing as one of the best and fastest growing Universities in the Country.
Many of the overzealous protesters are not truly enlightened and knowledgeable about the concept and philosophy of a University. A University by common consent is the highest citadel of learning. Once established through approved licensing from the Quality Control/Assurance body, namely, National Universities Commission, (NUC), it becomes a COMMONWEALTH for the COMMON GOOD. At this point, it becomes a “bulletproof glasshouse” that can only be watched and left quietly to carry out its mandate without deadly interference. In fact, at the point of recognition, licensing and take-off, the public institution automatically transcends claim to “ownership” by the proprietor or “land donors” as being propagated.” This must be brought into sharp focus in the public domain before the spirit and zeal of the founders, people of goodwill, and financiers are diminished and killed.
I have chosen to only minimally comment on the “root cause(s)” of the demonstration or agitation over the appointment of a Registrar or Acting Registrar as the case may be, because there are clear cut guidelines or criteria regarding conditions of service, qualifications, and integrity of the interviewee(s). The Interview/Search Panel drawn from the Council are eminent personalities with cognate experience in the University system and administration. They are best disposed to make public the relevant official clarifications on what transpired during the interview before we attempt jumping over our shadows and making conclusions as we are currently witnessing in this “macabre dance”. But for all I know is that in any organization, including Universities, the custodians must be seen to exhibit DUTY OF CARE in upholding the TRUTH, defending both institutional and personal integrities. IF, and where an organization is misled on matters of one’s Curriculum Vitae, experience, exposure, service records/delivery, etc, the organization has the inalienable right to withdraw its offer, whether appointment or a qualification. At this point, it bothers on honesty and integrity, which are essential ingredients or hallmarks in an institution or system that has the duty of hosting and nurturing MENTORS and MENTEES in perpetuity.
The MoU, presently couched as an “institutional document” appears FLAWED, and an ambush rather than an expression of genuine concern(s) for the interest and progress of KKU. The MoU must have been hastily put in place and therefore did not have the benefit of a legal draughtsman’s “Eagle eye” on it. The MoU lamentably commits the University to dangerous antecedents that will only rear its ugly head in the long run. If the MoU with its ambush contents were part of the document for registering the University, I am sure NUC wouldn’t have granted the license as it would have amounted to needless and risky compromise by an institution that is ideally supposed to be “equal opportunity” and non compromising in standards. However, with a full Governing Council in place, it is not too late for the document, which is not a legal instrument to be reviewed through due process and in line with international best practice for SUSTAINABILITY of the system.
A CLARION CALL to all and sundry, particularly Elders and Youths: Elders must not allow the system to capitulate to this infantile disorder and emotional blackmail that appears to be instigated by some persons who do not understand what a University is all about or even mean well for the Church and Society. In this era of “Not too young to run” the Youth groups should see this project as theirs and their future. Elders should not watch the youths playing with fire around a combustible environment threatening a hard-earned fledgling university project.
The Board of Trustees; Governing Council and Management should stand firm on and abide by the principles and ideals for which the University was established, namely, KNOWLEDGE, CHARACTER, & SERVICE; TRUTH & LIGHT, all aimed at promoting honesty, excellent service to humanity and to the glory of God. Period!
The COCIN family is blessed with an immense reservoir of Academics, Administrators, Technocrats, Elders and God-fearing people from the public and private sectors. They must step in and encourage the Board of Trustees, Governing Council and the Vice-Chancellor, and his Management Team in nurturing KKU.
Please, in KEEPING DATE WITH HISTORY and for the sake of institutional integrity, I urge that common sense prevails, beyond the rhetorics of primordial sentiments and emotional blackmail of individuals or groups.
Experience has shown that any attempt to tamper with or delay the machinery of motion of a University system by a day, week, a month can cause its setback by at least five to ten years. I stand to be contradicted.
KKU as God’s project BELONGS TO ALL, and so all stakeholders must not allow it to come to ruins before the eyes of creatively selfish individuals.
KKU cannot afford this imbroglio.
PAX CHRISTI & DEO GRATIAS!
Professor John W. Wade, PhD (Stirling, U.K), KSM, mni.
Former Provost, College of Education, Gindiri.
Former Chairman, Implementation Committee for the Establishment of Plateau State University.
Pioneer Vice-Chancellor, Plateau State University, Bokkos.