The attention of the Plateau State Youth Council has been called to a video that went viral on the internet on the interactive meeting between the House Committee on Federal Character and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos, Jos Nigeria. Having watched the interactive session several times and making a critical analysis of the discuss, the Plateau State Youth Council, which is the umbrella body of all youths on the Plateau irrespective of their political party, tribal extraction or religious beliefs wishes to;

1. Thank the House Committee on Federal Character for their tireless and relentless efforts in bringing sanity to our Federal Institutions and ensuring equity for all Nigerians irrespective of where they are coming from. However, the Council wishes to unequivocally call on the House Committee on Federal Character to request for the nominal roll of all Federal Universities in Nigeria and their employment status in the last five (5) years, and as well make an audit of the Human Resources of all Federal Universities and Institutions, so we can better appreciate this great job, and to dispel the thoughts that this is a witch hunt.

2. The Council noticed that the so-called interactive meeting did not meet the minimum acceptable standards. From the start to the finish, (assuming the meeting ended with the Vice Chancellor), the Vice Chancellor Professor Sabastian Seddi Maimako was not given the space and opportunity to defend himself. Rather, the House Committee on Federal Character came prepared with a mindset to embarrass, ridicule and intimidate the Vice Chancellor.

3. From the comments of the Vice Chancellor which the House Committee members where not keen to pay attention to, it is obvious that approvals were acquired and certificates of compliance have been obtained from the Federal Character Commission for these appointments. We have no doubt that given the opportunity, the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar would have given adequate explanations to these enquiries on the procedures on the employments carried for the period under review. However, supposed the University of Jos did not strictly adhered to Federal Character in employment as claimed by the House Committee on Federal Character, this should have been handled in a civil and holistic manner. Thus, the discourteous manner in which the Vice Chancellor was addressed is unprecedented, which leaves us with a bigger question.

4. We also wish to call the attention of the House Committee on Federal Character to the obvious fact that the Prestigious University of Jos is not the Federal University of Plateau people as claimed by a Hon member of the House Committee. The House Committee will not use the Office of the Vice Chancellor and that of the Registrar alone to make conclusions on such. Of the six (6) ranking members in the administration of the University of Jos, four (4) are not from Plateau State. The spread of principal officers in the University of Jos is one of the best in the country. Both Deputy Vice Chancellors, the Bursar and Librarian are not from Plateau State. The prearranged ambush on the person of the Vice Chancellor is a cheap blackmail, which should be condemned by all.

5. Additionally, it might also interest the House Committee on Federal Character to know that the University Council is constituted and inaugurated by the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria who also happens to be the Visitor of the University according to extant rule. The appointments of these Council members were strategically done to represent the geographical spread in the country. This same Council conducted the interviews of the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar. Your attention is therefore drawn to the fact that the appointments of these two principal Officers were both based on merit and not based on quarter system hence due procedure was strictly adhered to in the selection process.

6. The House Committee on Federal Character may wish to be reminded that Prof Sabastian Seddi Maimako has performed exceedingly well in infrastructural development in the history of the University of Jos and should be given the accolades that he deserves rather than dwelling on mundane issues thereby distracting him. They may do well by avoiding setting double standards in their investigation, and also applying selective justice. What happened at that meeting was a mere harassment and intimidation from people we elected and that too is unacceptable. Members of the House Committee on Federal Character should tell Nigerians what is obtainable in their states and stop making a mockery of proceedings.

7. The House Committee on Federal Character may also wish to be reminded that Federal Character is Federal Character. It should and must be applied universally. They should probably tell Plateau people how many Plateau sons and daughters have Federal appointments as compared to the north east and north west or south west. The selective amnesia displayed by the Honourable members is simply absurd. It portrays institutional blackmail and intimidation. The House Committee on Federal Character should first do a self-search and purge themselves of the constant accusations meted on them with respect to giving employment opportunities to their constituents.

8. The Council wishes to salute the composure, calmness and display of statesmanship by Prof Sabastian Seddi Maimako and the Registrar. The duo are true heroes and patriotic Nigerians who refused to be intimidated by the House Committee members. The Plateau State Youth Council stands with you at this moment. We are proud of your achievements which includes reclaiming lands that belong to the University of Jos that were illegally acquired and restoring hope in the University Community.

9. Until the House Committee on Federal Character takes the initiative of summoning all Federal Government Institutions and Universities, they should stop this dance of shame and excuse the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos from this unfortunate court where they served as both judge and jury in the matter. We remain law abiding citizens and will continue to support government policies and frown at government policies that are obnoxious. We also wish to call on our Representative in the House Committee on Federal Character to come out clear so we do not assume he is part of the ploy to bring our own down amidst this selective focus. We also called on our Representatives in the Federal House of Representatives to look at this matter closely, for an injury to one is an injury to all.

Dr Fabong Jemchang Yildam

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