Stakeholders must complement govt’s efforts in education sector, says Rector
Dr. Abubakar Abdul Dzukogi is the outgoing Rector, Federal Polytechnic Bida, Niger State. He joined the service of the Polytechnic as lecturer III in 1984 and rose through the ranks to become Chief Lecturer in 2005.
He became the Acting Dean, School of Applied Art and Sciences in 2005, Director, Academic Planning Unit in 2006, Director, Directorate of Continuing Education in 2008 and Deputy Rector in 2011. He became the Rector in 2015. Dzukogi spoke with AHMADU BABA IDRIS on his seven years tenure and how he has led the institution to enviable heights.
After seven years as the rector of the Federal Polytechnic Bida, what can you say is your greatest achievement?
My tenure as the rector of Federal Polytechnic Bida witnessed great achievements as I promised to leave a good legacy behind as academician, astute administrator and meticulous communication teacher, when I assumed office.
In 2014, I promised to restructure the institution. Now, there is a remarkable impact such that the institution was able to tap from the wealth of my experience leading to transformation in all critical sectors of the school. Since assuming office, I have worked round the clock to make some positive impact in the general administration of the polytechnic affairs. Within the period of my tenure as rector, I have recorded modest achievements in the areas of physical and nonphysical development, which made me operate an open door policy in terms of transparency, accountability and truthfulness.
I had a seven-point agenda that brought development. This has been kept and sustained almost throughout my tenure. However, in the area of discipline, the polytechnic leadership has helped to restore sanity in the system. This has to do with the way people now report to work earlier and leave for home as and when due. So, some of the organs used in maintaining discipline are the SERVICOM Unit and the Directorate of Quality Assurance, who are always putting members of staff on their toes to do the right thing at the right time.
Within the period under review, the polytechnic under my leadership, has received accreditation and re-accreditation visitors from NBTE for some of its programmes, which had expired as far back as 2012/2013 session. This actually assisted the institution to raise its academic standard and maintain integrity. As a result of my desire to always improve on what I net on ground, my administration has put up a proposal for programme expansion. I created three additional schools in addition to the existing four, making it a total of seven schools and thirty-one academic departments which will create rooms for expansion and introduction of more academic programmes.
In addition, the polytechnic has started degree programmes, in affiliation with Kwara State University, Malete-Ilorin and Federal University of Technology, Minna. These programmes would not only put our name on the map of higher institutions in the country, but also provide an avenue for growth and expansion, both in manpower development and facilities. The library has also acquired over 2, 000 volumes of textbooks within the period under review.
My administration has also achieved a lot in the area of staff development. I have
increased the drive of acquisition of higher qualification for higher productivity, while the polytechnic can boast of over 50 PhD holders and a large number of PhD awaiting candidates today. Those are in addition to about 273 academic and non-academic staff with master degrees in their respective disciplines. In the area of research and manuscript development, the management has always given necessary support towards academic excellence. Members of academic staff in particular, have been encouraged in the area of research, fabrication and manuscript development. Prior to 2015, the institution has not been assessing the TETFund intervention for manuscript, but with proper sanitisation, progress has been made in 2016. Eight manuscripts from academic staff members were submitted to the manuscript development committee of the polytechnic, where they were assessed both internally and externally and forwarded to TETfund for consideration and approval.
On infrastructural level, many projects are completed while others are at completion stage such as 1000 seater capacity Twin Lecture Theatre in the Lagos area of the institution, rehabilitation of the chemical and SAAS complexes, with additional eight lecture halls recovered in SAAS complex. We also completed academic staff complex III next to Twin Lecture Theatre, completed, furnished and occupy the OTM complex. There is also the completion, furnishing and occupation of electrical engineering complex; rehabilitation and occupation of old school and preliminary study blocks – now school of basic and general studies – housing three departments and Dean office. My team also renovated the department of accountancy complex, embark on the completion and occupation of the entrepreneur building, completion and occupation of physical planning and development building, renovation and occupation of works and engineering service building, supply and installation of 10 units one horsepower air conditioner with 500KVA stabilisers in the Maths/Statistics complex. Part of my achievements includes the supply and installation of equipment in the various laboratories and workshops in various departments, as well as the supply of seats and magnetic boards to various lecture halls.
The issue of insecurity in various institutions is becoming alarming. What effort have you put in to checkmate insecurity in the polytechnic?
My administration has successfully improved the security situation in the campus. The school security men are well kitted for proper identification and are now more efficient than ever, having been placed under the direct supervision of the chief security officer. Ever since, the polytechnic committee has enjoyed peaceful coexistence. Criminal activities such as cultism, house breaking, snatching of handsets, and so on, have all been on the decline.
My administration has also been involved in the establishment of a microfinance bank, provision of adequate water to the hostels, laboratory and staff quarters, establishment of CISCO academy with a technical support centre with the University of Jos and signed MoU with A3 Foundation with coverage of online registration, training and final examination for about 100 capable, but disadvantaged youths. We also signed MoU with JAMB for online registration and conduct of CBT examination, expansion of Internet facilities, and renovation of two blocks of flats in the staff quarters, among others.
As your tenure ends this year, what are the challenges you have been facing?
Yes, there are many challenges in any leadership, but glory be to God, I was able to overcome. Besides, there are a lot of challenges in the education sector, but we are grateful that with the support of TETFund, I was able to overcome most of these challenges. I also want to use this medium to call on the stakeholders, individuals, philanthropists and donor agencies to always complement government efforts in promoting and developing the education sector. The challenge in administration gave me more experience in relating to people, but with God’s intervention and wisdom, at least, I was able to overcome it.
Recently, there was a misunderstanding between you and the union, how did you resolve the conflict?
Actually, I had little challenges with the union, but it was resolved amicably, which made me record these achievements. The misunderstanding wasn’t serious, but it was due to a communication gap. As human beings, we are bound to hurt each other. I want to use this avenue to call on my staff, both academic and non-academic, to forgive me in any aspect I have wronged them.
What is your advice to stakeholders in the sector, especially lecturers and students?
My advice to them is that they should always be honest, dedicated to their work and students should be committed to their studies, as education is the best record of any society. Education teaches morals and discipline, among others.