Tribute To A "fallen" Anti- Corruption Fighter As Adamawa State University Vice Chancellor Is Removed Over Uncompromising Stand On Graft.
A wind of violent change has blown over the Adamawa State University in the process sweeping out the Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa who is strongly suspected to have fallen victim of his uncompromising stand on graft and all other forms of corrupt practices which have become the order of the day in that Ivory Tower. The whirlwind also claimed the jobs of the Registrar and Deputy Vice Chancellor who are strongly believed to be behind the petition that saw to the Vice Chancellor's ouster as well as that of the entire Governing Council of the institution some of whose members played signiﬁcant roles in the series of conspiracies against the Vice Chancellor.
The Council had recommended his sack based on this petition citing the poor relationship between him, his Deputy and his Registrar as well as the various unions which had earlier embarked on a four month strike as reason. It therefore became obvious that the Vice Chancellor was all along standing alone in a battle of wits believing he had the support of his lieutenants. The Bursar of the University who had earlier been suspended and is facing court trial for many of the graft related issues in question was also affected by the exercise. Pointers were speculated as to his championing of the Vice Chancellor's downfall by funding the unions and possibly having something to blackmail some of the principal ofﬁcers with hence their collaboration with him.
The Commissioner of the supervising Ministry hon. Ahmed Rufai was also not left out either as he was redeployed to the Ministry of Water Resources in a bid to get him off the University's affairs because of his strict principles. It will be recalled that the institution was recently closed down for four months by a strike of all the unions in the institution which was spearheaded by the academic staff union and later joined by the non-academic unions and other henchmen. Among their demands which bordered mainly on poor funding and non- implementation of some approved negotiated allowances was the call for the sack of the indefatigable Vice Chancellor for alleged victimization of their members whom documents flying around showed had committed heinous crimes punishable with dismissal and even jail terms.
This queer demand had emanated over the sack of one of their own for proven acts of exam malpractice and forgery of the signature of an external examiner by the University Council as well as the indictment suspension of several staff in the Bursary department for various acts of gross f1nancialmisconduct' A number of academic staff have also been identified who had also turned their lecture periods into a forum for inciting students against the Vice Chancellor, Management and even the Government of Adamawa State nearing triggering off a students‘ riot a few days earlier. It is conservatively estimated that the sum of over one billion seven hundred million naira was stolen from the institution, a situation which had stunted the growth of the once very promising institution through such sharp practices as salary fraud, ghost workers, forgery of signatures of the Chief Executive on financial instruments to effect massive fictitious withdrawal of University funds.
The ousted Vice Chancellor’s determination to put an end to all these sharp practices and bring those who had soiled their hands to book had naturally put him on collision course with those behind these unholy acts who apparently formed a strong coalition to pursue his ouster. It will be recalled that the outgoing Vice Chancellor was appointed to act in the position in November 2015 following the sack of the then Vice Chancellor Professor David Shall who is also facing court trial for dipping his hand in the till. He was subsequently confirmed substantive Vice Chancellor in February 2016 by the Visitor of the University His Excellency Governor Bindo J ibrilla.
There are also strong indications that Dr .Zaruwa's deft moves which restored the University hitherto blacklisted for four years by the TETFUND onto the list of Institutions benefitting from its financial assistance and the subsequent approval of huge resources for release to the University representing four years backlog of funds may f1ave attracted the attention of some very inﬂuential citizens in the State who would want to lay their hands on this money. This desire was also practically impossible under the outgoing Vice Chancellor, in view of his avowed penchant for probity which may have prompted them joining the coalition of forces against the Vice Chancellor to seek his ouster.
It is however difficult to fathom how the various groups have been able convince Govemor Bindo Jibrilla (who himself has consistently demonstrated a morbid aversion for graft and had always expressed satisfaction with the Vice Chancellor's rigid and uncompromising stance on corrupt practices, even overtly encouraging him to recover the University's massive stolen funds as in the October 2016 Exco meeting held in ADSU Mubi) to recant and sack the Vice Chancellor whose hands have continued to remain spotlessly clean.
The last may however not have been heard of the matter even as many whose hands are tainted by various corrupt practices held celebration victories across the establishment on the assumption that the issues pending against them will now die a natural death. This tragic event or development also represents a major setback for the anti- corruption war at both the State and national level as all reform-minced chief executives may begin to reconsider self-preservation in preference over their mission to clean up Augean stables in line with the creed of this government at the national level.
It is also a blow to fair-play and natural justice whose effects will continue to reverberate in the society even as the academic staff of another national University recently enacted another variation of this last week when they blocked a courtroom and prevented a Vice Chancellor who is standing trial for corrupt practices at the instance of the E.F.C.C from being taken to prison custody after being remanded by the trial Judge. Their action was said to be based on his being very solicitous of staff wellbeing even as this act represents a gross violation of the rule of law as well as setting up a very dangerous precedent. The most saddening aspect of this all however is that the society watched while the State deliberately refused to fund its University which set a host of wolves restive against a man who tried to restore sanity and was consequently sacrificed for its enemies. What then is the hope of Nigerians who believe that graft, fraud and financial lechery will one day come to halt. That is probably the question on very many lips now.