Thursday, 5 March 2020

UNICAL 33rd Convocation: Post graduate students set for show down as PGSG wade into crisis

Main Gate of the University of Calabar, UNICAL 
5 March 2020

With the imminence of the 33rd Convocation of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), post-graduate students of the second generation tertiary institution, have threatened to carry out a walk protest due to the inability of the management of Graduate School and the School Bursar to meet up with their sundry needs NEGROIDHAVEN has garnered. However, the leadership of the students union has waded into the matter. 

In a recently held congress, the students descended heavily on the leadership of the Post Graduate Students Government PGSG led by Ofem Usani, which came on board on the 9th of October in an election that was heavily contested, claiming that while infrastructural facilities and other welfare packages are duly applauded particularly under his leadership, however issues that bother on the academics of the students have not been catered for. They even accused the president of PGSG of compromise.

Issues raised by the obviously disappointed students revolve around the undue delay by one Mr. Princewill who combined lecturing with Turn-it-in work, consultancy and studentship. In an interview with a postgraduate student in the Faculty of Art of UNICAL who pleaded anonymity 'the young man has been very rude and arrogant to PG students. In fact, he kept up to more than 100 work unturned and this almost affected the graduation of students until the intervention of the leadership of union and the new Dean of Graduate School. The charges across faculties and departments are outrageous, exorbitant, and discouraging. Also, what is contained in the senate approved memo for external examination is not what is charged and the dues as contained in the graduate handbook is not what is obtained.' 

Another student added that the charges for research methodology text which was compulsorily imposed on the students through the instrumentality of Akpo Pious Undie, the impeached former president which has been deducted has not been provided to students as at press time. She said 'Students were levied N10,000 each and the total sum of money realised without usage for the purpose is up to the tune of N20, 000,000. Approximately, about 20, 000 postgraduate students have paid the money. More so, the postgraduate hostel common lounge where students relax for social activities is an eye saw. Other issues raised are delay in organising defense for students, delay in issuance of certificates, bursar's inability to release funds that are meant for the union to aid implementation of the objectives of the current administration.'

In an interview with the President of PGSG, Comr. Ofem who noted that he is not perturbed by the allegation of compromise added that: 'First of all, I want to thank the capacity Vice Chancellor, Prof. Zana Akpagu for his friendly disposition to the leadership of the Postgraduate Students Government. I say it unequivocally that the relationship I enjoyed with him, the Deans of  Students Affairs and Graduate School are unquantifiable. The bursar is equally not left out. They have been very wonderful and supportive to this government.  There is no justifiable and rational approval that I demanded for  that attention has not been given to. What else ?

'I understand the terrain of the union and the demands of the students.  I should be the one complaining of funds for the union but as I speak to you, the Vice Chancellor has approved funds for the furnishing of common lounge in the female postgraduate hotel which was executed and the dean of student's affairs representative and some members of the welfare board  gone to commission it. 

'Of recent, the vice chancellor approved the takeoff grant of the leadership of the union as well as the renovation of the common lounge in Male postgraduate hostel. The Bursar has been supportive to ensure that these monies are released. The takeoff grant is paid and as I speak, the bursar is on official engagement and she has never hesitated to attend to the union demand. I am hopeful that she is with the payment voucher (PV) number and will make the fund available for the renovation of the common lounge as she returns. Other approvals have been given by the vice chancellor which I will not like to trumpetize for security reasons. It could be because I have not told them that the allowances for all the officials have been approved and they will be paid as soon as possible, that is why I have compromised. The management of the university has been supportive and I encourage the students to die down any form of agitation. 

'Concerning , the issues of turn-it-in, charges across departments, research methodology, certificate issuance, pile up of work for defense among others, I will encourage the students to be patient. I have severally met with our  proactive Dean of Graduate School , Prof I. E. Umoinyang who has not relented in providing solutions to this problems. Infact , in the latest congress that seem to spark all this fire, the dean has asked that I catalogue all these issues to him which I have done and is keenly working on them.  He is just new in the office and if not mistaken, barely two months. He needs to study the terrain and understand the environment and offices in graduate school so as not to give responses that are antithetical to the university objectives. These issues are with him. He responded to the turnitin wahala by appointing a deputy turn-it-in administrator who has broken the monopoly of Princewill and has done so well so far. I am also a student who will be exposed to this entire problem if they are not properly handled. So, why will I not stand for them?  Currently, there are a lot of works ongoing in the male hostel in respect of provision of routers or access points in the block for  the Wi-Fi which is problematic to the research of the students.  The other areas as pointed are true but the work will soon commence as the bursar returns. I don't disagree completely with them because, it is a characteristic of the student unionism. However, going behind to stage a protest over what is ongoing is illogical and immature. 
Comr Ofem Usani Joseph the President of the Post Graduate Students Government PGSG of the University of Calabar, UNICAL 

'Yesterday at 6.30pm, I was able to meet with the management of Graduate school and they have paid key attention to these issues even demanding that students should be bold enough to provide the leadership information of extortion so as to take it up from there. the management is working hard to sanitize the system. The problem is that most of them are afraid to speak out  and prefer to complain in drinking joints.  I want to appeal to the conscience of all postgraduate students who have so far believed in my administration to remain calm as nothing is out of control. The vice chancellor, bursar, dean of students affairs and graduate school are there for us and will help us to achieve our academic objectives. I trust in your capacity to listen and continue in the brotherhood and comradeship that we share.'

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