Quite characteristically, Professor Andrew Efemini has, once again, staged the latest of his televisionstyle prime time shows in the public space. In flagrant disregard of all the extant rules and regulations that govern the conduct of staff of the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Efemini of the Department of Philosophy has quite inexplicably continued in his accustomed, grandstanding, and publishing highly libellous and uttering slanderous materials against the person and office of the Vice Chancellor, other Principal Officers and other perceived ‘enemies’ on his self destructive path.
Professor Efemini’s litany of official infractions recently hit a new low with the publication of a highly libellous threepage document in which he levied all manner of unprintable allegations against the Vice Chancellor and demanded the “immediate removal” of Professor Ndowa Lale from office. Let it be known that the allegation that constituted grounds for the “immediate removal of Professor N. E. S. Lale from office as Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt” are mere concoctions from the warped mind of Professor Efemini and his gang of professional trouble makers.
In his now characteristic bravado and clownish shadowboxing exercise, Professor Efemini levied unprintable accusations against the office and person of the Vice Chancellor , without providing irrefutable evidence to back up his bogus and reckless claims. For instance, he accused the Vice Chancellor of “criminal concealment of information” on the Federal Government’s directive on payment of charges by students, which he confused with “school fees.” It should be noted that no Federal University is allowed to collect “school fees” from students. Discerning observers would expect a selfadvertised champion of students’cause to know the differences between“statutory charges” and “school fees.” Such selective short sightedness is typical of Professor Efemini in his haste to reach conclusions before verifying the facts of any matter.
Unknown to him or in advancement of his characteristic grandstanding and proclivity to deceive the public, Professor Efemini failed or elected to gloss over item “e” of the “Recommended Schedule of Miscellaneous Charges in Federal Universities” (for Undergraduates), personally signed by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Julius Okojie. For the avoidance of doubt, that section of the memorandum states: “Any additional charge or increase in charge must be discussed and agreed upon with the relevant stakeholders.” Such “discussions” held under Professor Efemini’s watch as Acting Dean of the Student Affairs Department before the incumbent Vice Chancellor assumed office on 13 th July, 2015.
It is pertinent to state in very unmistakable terms here that it was my accuser, Dr Andrew Efemini (as he then was), who, together with my predecessor, sat in several consultative meetings to iron out what all Undergraduate students currently pay as nonstatutory charges, which he is now confusing as “school fees.” It is on record that I have not, alone or alongside my Principal Officers or Management Committee, contemplated or marginally increased the charges they agreed with student leaders since I assumed office as Vice Chancellor. Anybody with information to the contrary should make it public to substantiate the unremitting propaganda being peddled by Professor Efemini and his cohorts.
The subsisting “Acceptance Fee” was paid by students during the tenure of Professor Efemini as Acting Dean of Student Affairs. Maybe, he was in the habit of embezzling the money at that time to justify his current allegations of sleaze against the Vice Chancellor. The present occupant was NOT Vice Chancellor at the time the “Acceptance Fee” became official policy. So, Why did Professor Efemini not raise hell at the time? Could his silence at the time be predicated on enlightened selfinterest? Did the “Acceptance Fee” not have “damaging consequences” on “unsuspecting parents and students” at the time he was Acting Dean of Student Affairs? Was such fund also “stolen from parents and students” while Professor Efemini acted as Dean of Student Affairs in 2013?
Again, Professor Efemini was not smart enough to establish into which of the Vice Chancellor’s bank account the N2.7 billion “stolen fund from students” was paid. The records are there for anybody wishing to ascertain the real facts of the matter to evaluate.
The Vice Chancellor must be superhuman to, in the warped imagination of Professor Efemini, “mislead Senate” comprising very distinguished academics into coercing students to pay money into his personal account without consequences for over three years of his fiveyear tenure! He, indeed, is a “draconian Vice Chancellor” as alleged by Efemini. In an unguarded moment of grammatical malapropism, Professor Efemini alleged that the same students who “dropped out of school,” were also “forced to repeat classes.” Is this a laughable effort at the use of oxymoron ? On the tenure of eligibility to serve on the Governing Council, Professor Lale was NOT Vice Chancellor when Senate reached a gentlemanly agreement for its members to serve a two year tenure on the Governing Council. Nobody was ever prevented from contesting a second tenure as recent election into the Council has proved. The relevant sections of the “LAWS OF THE FEDERATIO N OF NIGERIA (Vol. 14)” are explicit on the statutory tenure of an elected member of Senate on the Governing Council. At no point did the Vice Chancellor “forcefully remove” any serving Senate member on the Governing Council as alleged this professional agitator.
Under extant rules, Senate has the right to decide how its members would represent it on any platform with reference to the University of Port Harcourt Act (as amended) because Senate has an inbuilt mechanism for self. This is regulation which is specified in the Act. Attempts by Efemini to reference Professor Lale is rather superfluous because these matters are regulated by the LAW OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA (Vol. 14).
The disciplinary measures taken against Professor Frank Ugiomoh (to which Efemini made reference) passed through due process and were ratified by the Governing Council after all mitigating circumstances were taken into account. It was NOT a unilateral decision taken by the Vice Chancellor as Professor Efemini would wish to deceive his audience to believe. It was clearly and irrefutably established that Professor Ugiomoh breeched all established rules for evaluation of candidates seeking promotion in the Department of Fine Arts and Design. From the foregoing, it is self evident that at the very best, Professor Efemini’s shallow knowledge of the rules did not advance his argument, and is even besides the point here.
As a philosophy graduate, Professor Efemini should know what is referred to under logic as: “appeal to sentiment” which is a funny way of defending a weak or untenable argument.
WHY DID EFEMINI RESUME HIS SHADOWBOXING EXERCISE
In 2013 when Professor Efemini was Acting Dean of the Student Affairs Department, he deftly manufactured an elaborate scheme of mass deception through which he reportedly extorted N37,000.00 from each PartTime student in the U2008 set of Science Laboratory Technology (SLT) programme at the time. Over 2,000 unsuspecting students were deceived into paying N37,000.00 each into a secret account to which he was signatory, contrary to the established financial regulations of the University. The elaborate extortion scheme was concocted on the pretext that Professor Efemini would “regularise” the admission status of the affected students with the National Service Corps.
It has since emerged that out of the N37,000.00 paid by each of the unsuspecting SLT students, Professor Efemini remitted only a paltry N12,000.00 on behalf of each student to some faceless fellow at the NYSC office in Abuja. It is on record that the balance of N25,000.00 was pocketed as profit by Professor Efemini and his cohorts. A rough calculation would reveal that Professor Efemini pocketed no less than a princely N52 million! Not a bad business at all for a selfhuman “rats styled ” crusader! Some of the victims who gave testimonies before the Professor Lucky Worika Investigation Panel have since revealed that Professor Efemini refused to allow anybody to accompany him to the point where he ‘paid’ for the ‘regularisation’ of each student. It is now obvious that Efemini’s involvement in the scam was entirely predicated on his characteristic love for official sleaze. And this is in spite of his professed ‘love and care’ for students.
It should be noted that Professor Efemini lacked the statutory authority to “regularise” the status of any student of the University of Port Harcourt. Anybody with rudimentary knowledge of how such a serious schedule works would promptly remind Professor Efemini that the authority to ‘regularise’ students from PartTime to FullTime study (or vice versa) rests squarely with the Admissions Office — and NOT the Student Affairs Department, which Professor Efemini headed at the time of the elaborate scam! There are no records to show that the Management of the University or the Registry Department outsourced the regularisation of students’ admission status to Professor Efemini at the time he designed such a dubious scheme of mass deception of unsuspecting Part-time Students in the SLT programme.
When Management received compelling evidence of the elaborate scam apparently involving some senior staff in the Admission and Student Affairs Department, it set up a Panel headed by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Lucky Worika, to investigate and ascertain the veracity of the weighty allegations. You would expect anybody whose conscience is not caught up in selfcontradiction to freely appear before such a Panel to clear his or her good name, and even demand an apology for false accusation. Alas! Old women are uneasy when dry bones are mentioned, as an African proverb declares. Professor Efemini promptly declared himself guilty by mounting a fickle selfdefence, even when his name was not expressly mentioned anywhere! In his morbid state of mind, Professor Efemini even contracted an imaginary ‘group’ to post a message online against his ‘impending sack’ by the Vice Chancellor based on the allegation! Professor Efemini even went to the rather ridiculous end of contracting a selfacclaimed ‘human rights’ lawyer to write to the Vice Chancellor, accusing him of “acts of tyranny, infamy, gross misconduct, incompetence, human rights violation, intimidation, and harassment of Professor Andrew Efemini.” In Professor Efemini blind rage, he inadvertently advised his lawyer (Higher King) to address his petition to the Vice Chancellor in his statutory position and also as Chairman of Senate! Isn’t it a disgrace that such a character once stood before students to pontificate as a Philosophy Lecturer? He must have taught the “poverty of philosophy.” What is beyond debate is that the weight of evidence before the Worika Panel is earthshattering and almost unimpeachable. To worsen Professor Efemini’s case, all those involved in the sleaze have already appeared before the Panel to state the extent of their involvement in the elaborate scam. Some of them have openly made startling revelations that have further dragged whatever remains of Professor Efemini’s malodorous name into the gutter where he is well known as endemic specie. With such humongous allegation of sleaze hanging on Professor Efemini’s neck, discerning observers do not have to search too deep to unravel the motive behind his renewed shadow boxing in the public arena — almost akin to an enraged bull in a china shop! Why would Professor Efemini collect N37,000.00 from each of the same students he claims to love before ascertaining the actual cost of the ‘regularisation’ exercise. Pray, how did he know the exact amount to be charged by his sources at the NYSC offices in Abuja before hand? Or is this a criminal mind at work and masquerading as a selfappointed dogooder? When God loved the world, He gave His only begotten son as a painful sacrifice. But Professor Efemini’s professed ‘love’ for students of the University had always translated to massively fleecing them to advance his pecuniary interest all in the spirit of aluta. — Here is a phony ‘hero’ who shuns personal sacrifice.
Quite unfortunately for Professor Efemini, the same students he claimed to be ‘defending’ for too long have publicly unmasked him and he is now dancing naked in the marketplace this time around. In their response to Professor Efemini’s “demand for the immediate removal of Professor N. E. S. Lale as Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt,” the Students’ Union Executive in concert with Zone “B” of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) roundly disowned him for libelling the Vice Chancellor and feeding the unsuspecting public on a diet of lies about the reputation of the University. This time, Professor Efemini is walking alone without those who confer a modicum of credibility on his sinister enterprise. UniPort and NANS students rightly recalled that “Professor Andrew Efemini was Acting Dean of Students Affairs whose quest for quick wealth caused him to make a presentation to the Committee of Vice Chancellors and ProChancellor’s Meeting for increment and quick payment of fees for the effective running of the University system.” They also remembered that he, in the same capacity, spearheaded the increment of charges to be paid by the same students he so much loved. They wondered how a con man who initiated a laptop ownership scam to the tune of N33,000 each, can turn around in good conscience to claim to be their defender. To prove to Professor Efemini that his litany of lies now walk on short legs, the Students’ Union and NANS joined forces to honour the Vice Chancellor with a leadership/performance award for his efforts at stabilising and taking the University to the next level in a non political way. What has so far emerged is that Professor Efemini’s populist rage on behalf of the ‘down trodden students’ has all along been a calculated ploy to generate ‘war without end’ on this campus with a view to lining his pocket on the basis of ‘aluta continua’ without ever aiming at any form of victory. To him, unceasing conflict provides an opportunity for profitable business and relevance. That back door has now been rudely slammed on his face by the students, who now know Professor Efemini far better.
PROFESSOR EFEMINI’S PAST INFRACTIONS
It should be noted that in his selfrighteous ‘holy rage’ Dr Andrew Efemini (as he then was), led a gang of hired thugs which unleashed an orgy of violence in the University and Aluu community under the pretext of protesting the unfortunate murder of four students of the University of Port Harcourt at Omokiri, Aluu on 5 th October, 2012. It is on record that his unruly gang burnt houses, looted shops, raped women and molested innocent residents, including staff of the University with catastrophic consequences. He did not stop there; Professor Efemini personally led the thugs who disguised as students to block long stretches of the East/West Road and extorted money and personal effects from innocent road users. It would be recalled that under his self Professor Efemini went to the busy serving populism, Mile Three Motor Park where he took up “employment” as a fulltime Bus Conductor for days with a swarm of media men and klieg lights in tow. ASUU was on strike at the time and he was in dire need of money to finance his rapacious lifestyle even when he claimed to be ‘diabetic and hypertensive’! In addition to generating negative publicity to the University, Professor Efemini hoodwinked some unsuspecting members of the public to donate money into his bank account aimed at sustaining his activism at the time. Such an act approximated undisguised extortion and obtaining by false pretence which is a criminal act in Nigeria. Emboldened by his limited success at presenting himself as a destitute in dire need of assistance then, Professor Efemini re launched his mass deception scheme by advertising his personal account details on Facebook for sympathisers to pay in money for his upkeep on the excuse that he is ‘hypertensive and diabetic’ and needed urgent public support to stay alive. Days later, Professor Efemini shamelessly posted a “thank you” message to his unsuspecting victims for donating unspecified sums of money into his personal account. He used a convoluted programme on Today FM (95.10), Port Harcourt to publicly solicit donations into his personal account week week– in and out. The Management of the radio station recently axed the programme for apparently derailing from its originally advertised revolutionary objective of “liberating Nigerians from their oppressors.” They promptly realised that the programme was secretly designed to ‘liberate’ Professor Efemini’s pocket as usual! Just like he did in the 2015/2016 academic session, Professor Efemini has, once again resurrected his claim that the National Universities Commission placed a ceiling on the exact amount that students were supposed to pay as charges to the University. He has again failed to acknowledge the fact that the NUC directed universities that may wish to exceed the N45,000.00 ceiling to consult students and other stakeholders for that purpose — something Professor Efemini did while he served as Acting Dean of Student Affairs in 2013. Then, as at now, Efemini wrote spurious protest letters which he copied to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Executive of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), openly goading them to take action against the ViceChancellor of the University of Port Harcourt for insisting on the implement ation of Senate’s directive on the payment of charges before being allowed into examination halls. Professor Efemini did not stop there; he openly incited students to rise against the administration for “charging” them more than N45,000.00 and “pocketing the balance” without specifying how much was so ‘stolen’ and into which bank account it was paid.
Professor Efemini’s reasons for mobilising to make the University ungovernable then were as shameful as they were laughable, even now: (a) The ViceChancellor “disgraced him out of office” as Acting Dean of Student Affairs (b) Charged students more than N45,000.00 (c) Refused to pay him N15 million which was the “balance” of a N30 million deal, being money ‘owed’ him and some faceless students for facilitating collection of an unspecified levy during the tenure of the Vice Chancellor’s predecessor. At another available opportunity, Professor Efemini claimed that the mysterious N15 million was the ‘balance’ of money expended on “Students’ Week” event in an unspecified year (d) Said he: “I will not labour for another person to reap”. The “labour” in question was never specified. (e) The ViceChancellor did not “ask questions on how things were done in the University” before going ahead to act on certain issues without consulting ‘critical’ stakeholders. him and other Alarmed by the combustible nature of Professor Efemini’s threats, Dr. Peter Alawa (a Catholic Priest in the same Faculty with Efemini), twice wrote to the Vice Chancellor, advising him to enter urgently initiate a dialogue with Professor Efemini to avert what he described as “a looming uprising in the University.” Efemini had told the Priest to inform the ViceChancellor of his plan to disrupt the peace of the Campus on the phony reasons stated above. A visibly worried Dr. Alawa wrote again to the Vice Chancellor on March 8, 2017, appealing to him to find a way to pacify Professor Efemini with a view to nipping his impending plot in the bud before it festered to consume the entire University community. Professor Efemini had told the Priest that ‘students’ of the University and ‘NANS officials’ were already mobilising to attack the University if the ‘balance’ of N15 million was not paid to him with immediate effect. He had obviously set up a ‘debt recovery office’ to collect the outstanding balance owed him for his services!Professor Efemini openly warned the Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Mr. Kingsley Wogwu, that there will be an “uprising” in the University, promising that the impending “attack” will be more destructive than the one he openly orchestrated on April 11, 2016 in which one student, Mr. Peter Ofurum, unfortunately lost his life on the East/West Road. The threat was issued in the office of the Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor on March 6, 2017. That was after Professor Efemini stormed out of the office of the Vice Chancellor where he had threatened unpleasant consequences should Professor Lale fail to “pay” the outstanding balance to him. During the 2015/2016 Convocation Ceremony, Prof Efemini took to Facebook to demand N100 million from the ViceChancellor to enable him stop rain from disrupting the event. When nobody listened to his hollow threat, the ‘rain maker’ went ahead to threaten a heavy downpour if his demand was not complied with by the Convocation Committee. Such a bizarre act calls Professor Efemini’s sanity into question. It is obvious that he has started ‘seeing vision’ and ‘hearing voices.’ As was the case on February 26, 2018, a fellow from “Higher King Chambers” — as elfacclaimed human rights activist recently wrote another toxic letter dated 25 th — May, 2019, in which he accused the ViceChancellor of all manner of misdeeds that could be conceived under the sun. The libellous information contained in the publication egregiously defamed and impugned the integrity of the ViceChancellor whose only ‘crime’ was not paying Professor Efemini the ‘balance’ of his money. Then, it was for implementing Senate’s decision on academic policies that were applied across board. Then, as now, Higher King relied on wild and unsubstantiated allegations obviously provided by Professor Efemini to accuse the ViceChancellor of “highhandedness, human rights abuses, intimidation of students, hijacking Senate proceedings and imposing his personal views on Senate members and the University community, including financial embezzlement,” among other infractions. Based on such trumped up charges, the author of the offending document then went ahead to call for the “immediate removal” of the ‘autocratic Vice Chancellor from office. Not done with exhibiting his madness on campus, Professor Efemini attempted to disrupt the convoy of the VicePresident along Rumuokoro Roundabout on November 27, 2017. Unknown to Professor Efemini, however, the Vice Chancellor was out of the country on that date when he organised a group of students and thugs to disrupt the convoy of the VicePresident, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was on an official visit to Rivers State. It took weeks for the authorities of the University learnt that the Police had quizzed Professor Efemini’s to ascertain his role in the contrived demonstration that was obviously meant to embarrass the Vice Chancellor and bring the University into disrepute.
In his warped imagination, the VicePresident stop and alight from his official vehicle and read the placards written by Professor Efemini. He would thereafter ‘remove’ Professor Lale from office on the spot. Not only did his antics fail, Professor Efemini and his gang of unruly thugs were promptly arrested and taken to the Kala Police Station, Rumuepirikom, where they were compelled to write their statements. The final report of Police investigation into the bizarre incident recommended summary prosecution of Professor Efemini and his criminal gang. No body knows why the Police are yet to commence the prosecution of this street fighter who properly belongs to the Motor Park. It later emerged that a few of those Professor Efemini mobilised to protest on that day were students he had advised against paying their charges for the 2015/2016 academic session. When questioned, he told the Police in writing that “only justice can bring peace in the University of Port Harcourt.” He keeps referring to “resolving the crisis in UniPort” without specifying what the socalled ‘crisis’ is all about, aside from festering his business interest. Realising that he has been consigned to the dustbin of history, Professor Efemini has been calling for a ‘meeting’ to ‘resolve the crisis’ between him and the Management of the University.
As Acting Dean of the Student Affairs Department, Dr. Andrew Efemini (as he then was), conspired with some fraudulent student to increase the annual levy paid by each student from N300.00 to N2,000.00 without reference to the Congress of the Students’ Union as specified by its Constitution . In one fell swoop, Professor Efemini and the fraudulent student leaders withdrew no less than N58 million from the Union account and frittered away same on phantom activities that could not be located in space contuum!time Professor Efemini did not stop there; he proceeded to secretly negotiate with a faceless Vendor to “supply” laptops to all students of the University of Port Harcourt — again, without reference to the Management that appointed him to the position of Acting Dean of Student Affairs. This scam was to cost N22,000.00, to which another N11,000.00 was characteristically padded by the selfacclaimed defender of student rights, bringing the amount to be paid by each student to N33,000.00 ! Multiply that amount by 35,000 students and the extent of Professor Efemini’s fraudulent propensity becomes manifest.
Furthermore, Professor Efemini committed the University as guarantor of the secret deal without authorisation from the then Vice Chancellor or management. Professor Efemini illegally allocated a large parcel of land at the Permanent Site of the University to private developers from outside the University without following due process. When questioned on the illegal allocations of Federal Government land, Professor Efemini insisted that the parcel of land in question belonged to ‘students’ under the custody of the Students’ Affairs Department When questioned further, he promised to produce the ‘allocation papers’ which he never did till date man on a profit mission!
PRIMA FACIE CASE FOR THE SUMMARY DISMISSAL OF PROFESSOR EFEMINI FROM THE SERVICES OF THE UNIVERSITY
Professor Efemini is a certified fraudster who has done incalculable damage to the hardearned image of the University of Port Harcourt. His sadistic urge for cyclical chaos is not in synch with the activities of a conventional University. Professor Efemini has not hidden his intention to disrupt normal academic activities in the University since the subsisting peace does not conduce to his operational structure. Professor Efemini has not just brazenly defamed the person of the Vice Chancellor; he also took to the social media to maximally advertise the highly libellous falsehood against Professor Lale. For instance, how did a ‘petition’ he sent to the Pro Chancellor find its way to over 160 universities, the media, the traditional media and students organisations across the country, if not a deliberate act of mischief aimed at bringing the Vice Chancellor to disrepute and public opprobrium? Why did he so wilfully circulate the contents of a letter meant for a distinguished Professor and Pro Chancellor in the public space, without waiting to hear from Council? By dragging President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General of the Federation, former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaeachi into the fray, Professor Efemini is simply trying to create political schism in the University. This is unheard of in the University system and extremely dangerous to say the least. Professor Efemini recently disparaged Senate to the extent that it demanded a written apology from him to be read at its next sitting. Council would recall that Professor Efemini was pardoned by Management on account of a previous infraction that almost earned him the sack! He prostrated from office to office and recruited all manner of persons to intercede on his behalf at the time. No sooner was he pardoned that Professor Efemini launched his latest shadowboxing exercise to the embarrassment of all those men and women of goodwill who pleaded for the waiver of his suspension. Is this the case of a leopard not changing his spot or the inability of decent intercessors to take the of the beast?
It is important to state here that Professor Efemini has long ceased to teach his courses and have contact hours with students as required by extant rules. There is irrefutable evidence that Professor Efemini now dedicates the abundant time available to him to unremitting agitations and activities that promote anarchy on campus. He is no longer an active academic or a ‘normal’ member of the University community. It is now time for Professor Efemini to be released from the services of the University to allow him enough time to pursue his destructive programme of unremitting anarchy outside the sane precincts of the campus. Such an eccentric anarchist has no place in an academic community that prides itself on polished behaviour, refined discourse and deference to the rights of others. Efemini should no longer be allowed to pollute the campus with his wild imagination and shadowboxing pranks. It is based on these and other brazen infractions that I am compelled to, once again, URGENTLY table the numerous infractions of Professor Efemini before the Governing Council for a final decision on the weighty charges preferred against him above. Nobody gave Professor Efemini a hunting license to keep the University in a state of cyclical crises.
The Governing Council is requested to give thoughtful consideration to the strong case against Professor Efemini and speedily reach a decision that would save the University from his riotous rules of engagement that have brought so much negative publicity to the University and defamed innocent persons carrying out their statutory functions. The unending apprehension generated by Professor Efemini’s unwholesome activities in this University must be brought to a speedy end for staff and students to pursue their core mandate of research, teaching and public service in an unencumbered environment.
NDOWA E. S. LALE FAvH , FESN, FISCEST, FNIMN, FIPS
Vice – Chancellor
July 2, 2019