Professor Marietu O. Tenuche is the vice chancellor of Kogi State University Anyigba. In this interview with members of the Correspondents Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kogi state chapter, she spoke extensively on achievements the new leadership of the university has recorded within one year. OYIBO SALIHU was there..
Kogi State University (KSU) Anyigba was established in 1999. How has the institution coped with the issue of courses accreditation?
Apparently, the core mandate of any university leadership is ensuring successful accreditation of programmes at her disposal. The greatest problem the university had faced after establishment was accreditation. In 2005 for instance, the university presented all the 30 programmes to the National Universities Commission (NUC) for accreditation; only nine were accredited on interim basis. The remaining 21 were denied. The institution however made history as it had 29 programmes accredited by NUC within 29 months. Since then, all her programmes were accredited, with the exception of the medical programme.
So far, all the only institutional accreditation conducted by NUC in 2011, KSU emerged overall seventh in the country and first among state owned institutions. I was the deputy vice chancellor (administration) at the time. In March and April this year, under our watch, 24 undergraduate programmes in Management Science, Agriculture, Arts, Law, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences were presented to NUC for accreditation.
I am glad to say that the result indicates that all the programmes have been fully accredited by NUC. This represents 100 per cent full accreditation. This feat is itself historic because even though cases of denied accreditation have been rare in the university in recent times, we also have rare cases in which all our programmes gained full accreditation.
The implication of a full accreditation status is that the affected programmes would have to be revisited after only five years. In addition to the accreditation of the 19 undergraduate programmes, five postgraduate programmes also got full accreditation. These are M.Sc Accounting, M.Sc Banking and Finance, M.Sc Business Administration, M.Sc Public Administration and Master in Public Administration (MPA). This brings to a total of 24 programmes accredited in 2021. Before now, a total of 29 programmes had full accreditation. In addition to the foregoing, four new programmes were presented to NUC for resource verification and the results gave the university the nod to commence undergraduate programmes in Human Anatomy (B.Sc), Human Physiology (B.Sc), Forestry (B. Forestry) and Education Administration and Management (B.Ed). So, I want to vehemently use this medium to express my profound gratitude to Kogi state and visitor for the support to navigate the hurdles. I am equally grateful to the governing council, principal officers, deans, directors, heads of departments/units and other support staff who rallied round me to ensure the historic feat.
Your students have been performing well at the Nigeria Law School. How did you achieve such feat in the face of challenges?
The performances of our students at the Nigeria Law School has over the years been very encouraging. This is a testimony to the calibre and quality of training our students have been exposed to during their undergraduate programmes. Last year, the tempo of performance even took a much more remarkable dimension when our law graduate, Barrister Lukman Joseph Adeola, bagged First Class in the final bar examinations conducted by the Council for Legal Education. He sat for the Bar finals with examination number 198696.
We were exceedingly delighted, not just because Lukman bagged First Class, but more so because he was one of the five out of 2,515 candidates drawn from universities across the country and abroad to have recorded the rare feat. Lukman’s performance was therefore a reflection of the quality of teaching, research and learning in the Law Faculty and the entire university. Also worthy of mention is the performance of our Law students in the last three years where the university has produced three First Class graduates from the Nigeria Law School in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively. In view of our outstanding performances, the Council for Legal Education has written to commend the university for the efforts put in to produce students who have not just done the institution proud, but has the potential of raising the standard of Law practice within and outside the country.
How are you able to tackle students welfare, general administration and work ethnics in the university?
Since we came on board, our cardinal focus has been on sustainability of our academic calendar, provision of infrastructures, decent and conducive environment for staff and students, security of lives and property and enthronement of general work ethics. In the area of academic calendar, we are grateful to God that we have been able to successfully navigate the hurdle thrown our way by one of the most devastating pandemics in our lifetime, the COVID-19. At the height of the tension generated by the pandemic, the university had to shut down for months, making it to be on the verge of losing an academic session if alternative measures were not taken. We therefore introduced e-learning through which lecturers and students were able to continue the session by way of virtual interface.
This assisted us greatly in sustaining our academic calendar and complete successfully immediately the state government announced the reopening of all schools in the state. On infrastructures, we have been able to complete some projects inherited from the previous administration. These include the new iconic buildings in the Faculties of Natural Sciences and Social Sciences, the new student hostels for male and female, the asphalt laying of the road linking the Dangana Hostel Junction and Law Faculty among others. We have also initiated and completed the landscaping of the Law Faculty, graded some of our roads and renovated existing hostels. We are also doing our best to sustain the municipal services like the provision of light, water. On light especially, we have installed some solar panels to boost illumination on campus at night, in addition to AEDC power supply and our generating sets. On work ethics, we have strengthened the culture of discipline among staff on campus. We have made it clear that we have zero tolerance for lateness, absenteeism, sexual harassment, victimisation of students and subordinates, extortion among others.
In the ‘light of the above, we constituted the Academic and Work Ethics Committee to such cases, investigate and make recommendations to us for action. Some cases of indiscipline in this regard are already before management for necessary action. To stamp out extortion of students, we have banned the regime of class representatives in the university beginning from the current academic session. This is because experience has shown that class representatives are the conduit through which dubious lecturers extort students. In the same vein, we recently adopted Campus Pal, an interactive Mobile App developed by Gender Mobile, a non-governmental organisation committed to stamping out sexual harassment on the campuses of Nigerian universities. We have also continued to strengthen the culture of acceptable social and moral conduct among our students. Among some anti-social vices we have continued to work against include drug abuse, cultism, armed robbery, indecent dressing, among others. In place of these, we have tried to channel the creative energy of our students into sporting activities, theatre for community development, and productive utilisation of the internet facilities which we have provided on the campus..
What about security challenges in the institution?.
When we took over, we noticed low morale among security personnel necessitated by high level of indiscipline in the security unit, inadequate security operatives, unavailability of functional vehicles, porous and unmanned entry points and wide spread availability of arms amongst students which they deployed at will. We therefore, devised means of tackling the situation head long through immediate purchase of two vehicles for the security unit and one for the Chief Security Coordinator to facilitate operational movements in and around the campus. The university also engaged the services of 40 officers of the State Vigilante Group as approved by the governor.
In addition, we also engaged a private security outfit which has provided 50 more security operatives for the institution. This complements the conventional security agencies like the military stationed outside the campus and some police officers who work on campus. In addition, concerted efforts have been made to improve sporting facilities, internet access expanded, frequenting staging of drama by the Department of Theatre Arts all geared towards taking the minds of students off criminalities. These measures have had remarkable effects as cult activities have declined for the first time in many years. We commend the efforts of the chairman, Dekina local government and Ogohi Onu Anyigba, Alhaji Shaibu Okolo. What effort have you put in place to ensure that students acquire skills aside academic certificates after their study?The university has keyed into national education agenda that graduates from tertiary institutions should be trained in skills acquisition under the entrepreneurship programme. In this university, we have decided that in addition to certificates students would acquire, they should also graduate with basic skills that would allow them to be employers of labour instead of waiting for white cola jobs that are not readily available thefactory. In view of this, we have established tailoring factory, shoe making factory, soap making factory and computer repair factory. All these factories are well equipped with state of the art equipment that would enable students gain required skills in any of the trades listed above.