By COMRADE MATHEW NWAIYIKE
Since our civil society group, Anti-Corruption Champions of Nigeria (ACON) blew whistle and petitioned the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Enugu State Government on the fraudulent and corrupt activities of the outgoing Vice Chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT ) Prof. Luke Anike and its management team, Anike has continued with impudence, impunity and audacity to plunge the university into mess as clock ticks for his exit.
Our investigations revealed that from the recent happenings in the university point to the fact that there is a deliberate and calculated attempt by Prof. Anike and his management team to run the university aground and thus make it ungovernable, not only to the newly inaugurated Governing Council, but also to the soon to be constituted management.
To achieve this, Prof. Anike has been massively recruiting his cronies and allies as staff. At the last count, more than 250 academic and non-academic staff have been recruited in the last six months without any recourse to due process. None of the recruitments was authorised by the outgone Governing Council of the university.
In carrying out the massive recruitments, Prof. Anike is not unaware of the fact that he has always found it very difficult paying staff salaries towards the end of every academic session, when students have all paid their school fees. Now that Prof. Anike has almost doubled the university workforce at the twilight of his administration, one wonders how the university will survive up to third quarter of this year, when its Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) would have been depleted totally as a result of increased wage bill.
It is obvious that Prof. Anike, behaving like a loose canon is not bothered about the impending or looming financial crisis and the concomitant labour unrest that may result from irregular and non-payment of worker’s emoluments, since he would have served out his tenure as VC then. Also in an attempt to lend credence and legitimacy to the illegal, fraudulent and tainted recruitments he did, Prof. Anike is presently conducting regularisation interviews for all the newly recruited staff including those he employed in March 2020.
Ideally, legally and procedurally, regularisation for staff offered temporary appointments should be carried out when such staff have worked for at least 12 months. Prof. Anike and his management team are aware of this policy, but blatantly and criminally they don’t want to observe, adhere or abide by it.
It is unfortunate that Prof. Anike has been allowed by the Council to entrench the most morbid cronyism in ESUT through the retention of incompetent hands in various post in the past five years. These same set of people have remained in their positions as Deans, Directors and Heads of Departments for the past four and half years under Anike’s watch, protection and cover. Statutorily, Deanship election should be conducted every two years, Heads of Departments should be changed every two years, while those in acting capacity ( Acting HODs) should serve one year, and renewable not more than a year.
That is the standard practice in universities including Nnamdi Azikiwe University, where Prof. Anike came from. Why won’t Prof. Anike do the right thing or the needful for once, knowing the adverse and negative effects of concentrating power in the hands of a few academics at the detriment and expense of other competent academics and personnel in the faculties and departments.
The worst and most disturbing is the fact that Prof. Anike has fraudulently introduced new and illegal dimension to the practice of conversion of non-academic staff to academic staff, simply asking such persons to voluntarily resign their appointments and be immediately offered new appointments as academic staff.
A case in point is that of his Personal Assistant, Mr. Chibuike Nwatu, who recently resigned his appointment as Administrative Officer and was immediately employed by Prof. Anike as lecturer 2 in the Department of Marketing when he does not possess a Ph.D or any tertiary teaching experience. There are several other cases. This practice is as crude as it is fraudulent, strange and unorthodox.
Prof. Anike’s rush to regularise these fraudulent and illegal appointments since the reconstitution of the new Governing Council clearly showed that he has sinister and ulterior motive, which if the members of the new Governing Council are genuine and sincere should not allow to stand without investigating and reviewing it. This is considering that these were recruitments Prof. Anike could not do in the last five years of his tenure as VC, ESUT. Why is he hurriedly recruiting now that his tenure is about to end?
The newly constituted Governing Council should not pretend to be passive or be overtaken by inertia, which had previously resulted in the near collapse of ESUT under Prof. Anike’s watch. To say the least, it is a public knowledge that most members of the last Governing Council were compromised, having benefitted immensely from Prof. Anike’s corrupt activities and ineptitude.
This is time for the Governing Council, Enugu State Government and EFCC to move in take urgent action. Prof. Anike should be probed and made to account for his stewardship in ESUT. This should not be politicised or swept under the carpet by relevant authorities and agencies.
Evidences are abound to easily bring Prof. Anike to book. The dossiers on Prof. Anike, which our group have made available to the anti-graft agencies and Enugu State Government is enough to compel him to account for his stewardship in ESUT.
Failure to do so under any guise will simply means that the State Government and anti-graft agencies have been compromised by Prof. Anike and his benefactors. This might be what has emboldened him to carry on as if nothing has, will and is happening. His last minute impunity and temerity is frightening and suspicious. Enough is enough.
Comrade Mathew Nwaiyike, National Coordinator, Anti-Corruption Champions of Nigeria (ACON) wrote from Abuja