The promotion of Ali Isa Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, to rank of a professor by the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) has drawn strong criticism from the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU. The body described the elevation as “illegal”.
Recall that at the 186th council meeting of the university last year, the minister was named a professor of cybersecurity. That decision threw up a lot of questions which bother on the rationale behind the action. Many scholars and activists argued that Pantami was not qualified for the position because he was never a lecturer in the university while some claimed that his highest academic attainment before delving into politics was a lecturer.
At a briefing on Monday, ASUU’s national executive council (NEC) declared that Pantami was not qualified to be named a professor.
According to Emmanuel Victor Osodeke, national president of the union, the minister’s promotion violated established procedure for the appointment of a professor in the varsity system.
“From information made available to us, Dr Pantami was not qualified and he violated the established procedure for appointment of professor. We are surprised that the government still allowed him to stand,” he said.
“You cannot be a minister and a lecturer in a university. It is an encouragement of illegality.
“Pantami has to quit as a minister and be tried for doing double jobs within the same federal system. He is not qualified. Pantami should not be treated as a professor.”
ASUU also said it would sanction its members involved in Pantami’s promotion including FUTO’s vice-chancellor.
“We have resolved to sanction ASUU members involved in his promotion and the VC of FUTO,” he added.