The Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) branch of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has called on politicians to stop playing destructive politics with the issues affecting the institution.
Chairman of FUTO SSANU, Nwokeji Uchenna (KSJI) made the call on Sunday when fielding questions from newsmen in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Nwokeji, who doubles as the chairman of the university’s Joint Action Committee (JAC), noted with regret that most of the issues bringing FUTO to the spotlight such as the Pantami professorship and the host communities grabbing of FUTO land were being sponsored by politicians for selfish political gains.
He disclosed that since the current Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nnenna Oti came on board, staff welfare has become one of the top priorities despite the prevailing economic realities in the country.
Nwokeji said, “We feel that the VC is being distracted on all fronts ranging from the host communities grabbing of FUTO land and this Pantami issue. We have seen people bringing coffins to the university gate in protests. These things are rather derailing the purpose of the university.
“Pantami’s professorship should not be used to destroy FUTO. The issue has been deeply tainted with politics. This is a university that has a governing council that is vested with the power to handle such issues.
“You are not a professor in FUTO; you are not a member of the FUTO governing council; you are not a stakeholder of any sort in FUTO, but you are writing every day against FUTO. Rather than allow the council do its job, persons who have little or nothing to do with FUTO are being used to cause confusion.
“If all these attacks are coming from FUTO, I think it can be properly addressed by the management. But in a situation where the concerns are only coming from outside in what can be regarded as a meddlesome interloper, we see it as politically motivated.
“We want to call on politicians who have their personal political issues to settle to leave FUTO out of it. This is the only federal university of technology in the entire Southeast and Southsouth.
“We want to implore Southeast and Imo State politicians, in particular, to help protect FUTO from the ongoing destructive politics because this is the only such institution we have around here. Our people should support FUTO management to achieve its purpose which is to turn out world-class scientists and technologists.
“We feel that the land grabbing issue and all these distractions are being sponsored by politicians in Imo State particularly those of them from Owerri zone which is why we are calling on them to ceasefire. They are destroying what we have in Imo State. They should leave the FUTO land alone to allow the university expand and commence its teaching hospital site”.
The SSANU chairman, however, expressed happiness that Prof. Oti had remained undaunted in her efforts to reposition FUTO despite the distractions and attempt to derail the university.
“Our only consolation is that the VC is a focused and committed administrator whose eyes are always on the ball.
“We call on the state and the federal governments to look into these issues to let the university focus on its core mandate of building our youths to be more responsible members of the society”, Nwokeji said.