When the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jos, Professor Sebastian Maimako’s tenure was due for completion in June, the University’s Governing Council, in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act 2003, commenced the search for Professor Maimako’s successor.
Over 18 professors within and outside the University of Jos indicated an interest in becoming the 9th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the institution, however, the selection was halted following an instruction from the National Universities Commission (NUC), a decision that was protested by some staff and students of the University in April.
The seat of the Vice-Chancellor remained vacant until June when Professor Gray Goziem Ejikeme was appointed as acting Vice-Chancellor. Fast forward to November, the Governing Council led by Professor Attahiru Jega appointed Professor Tanko Ishaya as the substantive Vice-Chancellor of the University.
Until his appointment, Professor Ishaya was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), he was also one of the candidates that came under numerous criticisms, which were mainly founded on nepotism. That aside, the new Vice-Chancellor has a big shoe to fit in. With the giant strides in infrastructural and academic development during Professor Maimako’s tenure, all eyes are set to see what he will do significantly.
For Sokombaa Cal’ Egeja, a graduate of Law, Professor Tanko Ishaya should focus on “making the University of Jos an institution with a focus on building a structure that will make the studying interesting to the students by enabling them to showcase their abilities to the World.” Mr Egeja also said that “lecturers should be trained to fit into the modern teaching standards were its 70% student involvement in the learning process.”
With the continuous disruption of the University’s calendar due to the reoccurring crises in the Jos metropolis, adequate security is one of the areas the new Vice-Chancellor will need to collaborate with security operatives to facilitate. Akpuz Emmanuel, the President of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students at the University of Jos, led UNIJOS Voices to get student recommendations regarding possible ways to secure students on Campus.
The research made the following recommendations:
Provision of sufficient hostel accommodation on campus.
Completion of a perimeter fence around the University’s permanent site.
Intimation of local leaders at various student residential areas.
More registered means of transportation to be provided at strategic locations within the metropolis.
The facilitation of e-learning to ensure that academic activities are not completely placed on hold.
Last week during his inauguration, Professor Ishaya expressed his concern about the poor quality of graduates and research in the Nigerian university system.
“The quality of research and the graduates our universities churn out today has drastically declined. So, we shall prioritise quality research and enhance teaching and learning for a better society. Sadly, the decline in quality of teaching and learning in our universities is forcing Nigerians to move to neighbouring countries as better options. We will do our best to place the university on a good footing so it can address both local and global challenges,” he said.
He also acknowledged the inability of the University to accommodate a large percentage of the students on campus stating that “we will make efforts to address the huge accommodation deficit for our students so that they can be secure at all times.”
Commenting on Mr Ishaya’s appointment, the University of Jos Alumni Association in a statement said: “The advantage the University of Jos has in Prof Ishaya’s Vice Chancellorship is his multi-skills in Information Technology IT, data engineering, computer security and forensics. These are the highly-rated 21st-century skills that every Administrator must be on top of. As DVC Academics, Prof Ishaya’s ICT input into the burnt Library helped to transform it into a modern infrastructure and core service provision. We, therefore, expect much more from him now that he is the substantive Vice-Chancellor, especially in improving the University of Jos in the world ranking of universities.”
About Professor Tanko Ishaya
Professor Tanko was the founding Director of the University’s Directorate of Information and Communication Technology and doubled as the pioneer Head of the Computer Science Department, which he helped to establish. A Fellow of both the British Computer Society (BCS) and Nigerian Computer Society (NCS), he is a seasoned multi-skilled IT professional, equipped with over twenty-five (25) years of industry experience.
According to Abdullahi Abdullahi, the University’s Deputy Registrar, “As an IT expert, Professor Tanko established an effective and robust ICT governance structure that ensured that the University’s ICT strategy and its execution were aligned to the University’s strategic plans. He provided direct leadership that attracted over One Billion Naira in ICT infrastructure grants that led to the designed implementation of a triple play 10 Gigabit Fibre Optic network across three campuses of the University, a state-of-the-art Data Centre with a robust Network Operating Centre (NOC) as well as robust cloud infrastructure.”
The current Laity Council Chairman of the Good Shepherd Catholic Chaplaincy in the University of Jos, he obtained his B.Sc. in Mathematics Education (2nd Class Upper Division) in 1992 at the University of Jos. He later went to the University of Manchester, the United Kingdom where he completed his MSc. programme in Computation in 1997 and later his PhD in Computing Studies in 2001. Professor Tanko was promoted to the rank of Professor of Computer Science in 2012.
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