By: Nurudeen Akewushola
The foremost of the importance of transition period after preparation to elect new leaders at the expiration of a tenure is to prepare an open transition meeting to enable proper and transparent transition and to ensure ‘free exit’ of any outgoing officers after tenure.
In Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, the Students’ Affairs Division used to announce the dissolution of officials at the end of their tenure instructing them to handover union properties to Students’ Affairs Officer or Staff Adviser(s) at the case maybe and releases guidelines for the next election which normally holds within a week or two.
This however is different this year where the 2018 executive officers left without properly handing over to the 2019 elected officials.
For the past few weeks, the immediate past administration of Students’ Union, Usmanu Danfodiyo University has been at loggerhead with the incumbent regarding the Financial Status of the Union,
the Current Administration alleged the previous for lack of transparency. The President, Comrade Faruku Barade in an interview noted that the amount left for his administration is unfair compared to the huge amount left to their predecessor.
According to the Bank details obtained by Pen Press, it’s confirmed that the previous administration inherited the sum of # 2,749,122(Two Million Seven Hundred And Forty Nine Thousand Naira) and a total amount of 8,418,900(Eight Million Four Hundred And Eighteen Thousand) was thereafter credited to the Union’s account through out the reign of their administration.
However, the administration left a total amount of 69,816(Sixty Nine Thousand Eight Hundred And Sixteen) making the amount spent to be 11,098,205(Eleven Million, Ninety Eight Thousand,Two Hundred And Five).
The Leadership of the current administration was left dumbfounded as to how, when, where and on what the sum of #11,098,205 was spent within a period of 14 months between February 15th, 2018 and April 2019 when the 2018 Executives were dissolved.
Why Kalgo Inherited A Huge Amount Of Money!
Comrade Idris Mubarak Maibasira was the President of the Students’ Union for 2016/17 session and the predecessor of Ibrahim Shehu Kalgo, president of the 2017/18 Administration. He took over from a Caretaker Committee that ended the 2015/16 academic year. His administration generated a revenue of only Four Million Naira but executed a lot of projects summing up-to Twenty Million Naira including the 153-metre Kofar Mata bridge by seeking external sponsorships from external sources, notable among is Mr Tony Elumelu.
By constitution and tradition, every administration of the Students’ Union distributes souvenirs and/or handbills annually to students which used to cost up to 1Million Naira estimatedly.
The University Management was unable to disburse the two million Naira which was budgeted for the production of Sourvenir to the Union’s account during Maibasira’s time until few days after he left office, that made Kalgo’s administration the beneficiary of the fund which according to the financial details was a sum of 2million Naira.
Before the 2million Naira was credited to the Union’s account, Kalgo’s administration met a sum of #641, 798 while after then another 2million Naira and #108,000 was credited to the Union’s making the amount they inherit to boost to 2.7million. All these happened within the first week of Kalgo’s assumption of office.
Kalgo’s Projects And The FlashBack On His Suspension
On the 30th of March 2018, the Union constructed a reservoir for the inhabitants of Kwankwasiya, a female hostel at the main campus of the University before presentation and assent of the year’s financial spending through the office of the Welfare Director, Comrade Abdulrahman Abubakar Funtua.
The President later explained that the reason for the urgent provision of the reservoir is to salvage the hardships female students residing in the hostel are going
‘We have heard from so many people, some students complain for the incompetency of the Union leaders, but we have nothing to prioritize than the welfare of the students”, Kalgo said in an interview.
On the 20th of April 2018, again, without legislative assent, contrary to section 89 item xii, which prohibits the executive to spend more than Fifty Thousand Naira without the approval of the Students’ Representative Assembly, Kalgo embarked on Jatau bridge extension, the students walkaway to the hostel where he spent about 1.2 Million Naira an act that earned him suspension from office on the 6th of May 2018 when summoned by the Students’ Representative Assembly including the Welfare Director for extra-withdrawal during the construction of the Reservoir at Kwankwasiyya and Financial Secretary for inability to present financial report after the disappearance of about Four Hundred Thousand Naira and later exonerated. The President bagged suspension for four weeks while the other officers were suspended for three weeks each though all were later reinstated after two weeks.
After these, the Union executed some other projects such as construction of parking lots, production of annual survenir, purchasing of an ambulance to supplement that of the University Health Center In Case of Emergencies.
The administration also organized many events such as Campus Awards, Health Day and Career Orientation for Secondary School Students amongst others. The amount spent to carry out the above enumerated projects was not divulged.
Current Administration’s Bone Of Contention
Faruk Barade, a 400level student of Faculty of Law was sworn-in as the president of Students’ Union on the 03rd of May 2019 and the amount that was handed over to him was a sum of #69,816 Pen Press reliably gathered.
Comrade Barade noted that the students have been complaining that his administration is yet to execute any project after about 2 months instead it’s due to the small amount left for them by the previous administration. He challenged the previous administration to explain to the public on how they spent the sum of #11,098,205 since the inception of their administration to expiration.
“Let kalgo explain to the students the alleged projects of 11,98,295 ( eleven million, ninety eight thousand two hundred and five naira.) Apart from these amounts, there are remitted amounts for at least not less than 30,000 Naira that usually goes to kalgo for each and every week. He said he has spent 15 months in office. If you calculate 30k per how many weeks in the 15 months of his administration, it’s a huge amount.
He however called on the corruption monitoring bodies to probe the previous administration so as to get the details of Union’s finance
“The zero Tolerance Club should please invite both of us to come and address. Let them invite both of us and justify our financial breakdown. I can tell I can address kobo by kobo of all what was accrued to my administration and the expenditure there in right from 3/03/2019 to date. And please let kalgo tell the media who did he give the financial records to? Ask him again how much was left for them by Maibasira? how much was remitted to him by the school? how much did he spent in all his administration and how much he left to his successors he can’t account for it!” Barade questions his predecessor, Kalgo.
Barade explained further that the whole concept of handing over of financial report, as financial report is vital and there was no reception of it from the last administration.
To get the details of spendings, the President wrote to the Zero Tolerance Club and Students Representative Assembly for them to investigate his predecessor up till his era how the Union’s fund was spent.
Former Fin.Sec Speaks On The Financial Details
The Immediate Past Financial Secretary, Comrade Muazu Bello has blamed the Current Administration for all improper transition by not showing up at the agreed meeting time for handing over which precluded them from transferring power to them formally.
“They failed to show up the day we agreed to meet for handing over, we agreed to meet at a certain time, I think it’s 8pm and we (past administration) reached the place at the scheduled time, the current administration failed to show up 2hours after the agreed time even me I was with my financial record that contained all the financial details including financial details of our predecessor”
“We arrived the place at 8pm it was even during the fasting, we even skipped Tarawih so as to meet up. Even if they were coincidentally late, it should not be more than 30minutes and the time was communicated to them, they started calling after I left the place because I had my primary assignments to attend to and I read Till Day Break that night and they were calling me around 10PM.” he added.
He however explained that the breakdown of how the Union’s fund was spent was done for the SRA and the financial details were left for the past Speaker before they left the office
“Before we left the office the SRA asked for the breakdown of how we spent the money which we did before we left the office.
It’s not even a tradition to bring that break down but I did it for accountability. If they need clarification they should call us rather than indicting our character” he said.
On the whereabouts of the financial details, he explained that since the current administration failed to show up at the scheduled time, he left it at the office of the Secretary General.
“I opened the drawer of the Secretary that night and I put it there— the records of all the expenses before and during our administration.
I didn’t see them, since that day they didn’t show up until one day when the President, Secretary and the Speaker came to me that they didn’t see the financial records which I later showed them at where I put it”
Clarifying the amount they inherited, he demistified that the 2million they met was credited to the Union’s account after they assumed office but the actual amount they met was 641,798 (Seven Hundred forty Nine Thousand)
“Maibasira administration was dissolved one week before the election and the 2million and #100,000 came in on the 19th of February after we came into office. The school system has a due process if they want to release money which used to take time. I think the past administration processed the money but the money was not credited until we assumed the office”
“We didn’t collect the money directly from Maibasira. I collected it from former Dean which he told me to print the financial statement from bank which made the amount inherited to be 2,749,000(Two Million Seven Hundred and Forty Nine Thousand) together with the money on ground”
Substantiating his claims, he spelled-out some of the projects executed during the administration and boasted that they really worth the expenditure.
“We don’t have anything to hide, we executed many projects which will serve as testimony— we built toilets at City Campus, we constructed 3 parking lots, we also bought tanks to Zamfara hostel, we built well for kwankwasiya residents, sometimes we gave money to students that are in dire need, we paid SRA allowances and we also organized many programs that benefitted students, the currency of Nigeria when you hear the amount you will think it’s huge but until when you start executing projects you will realise that it’s valueless. If you calculate the enumerated projects approximately, it will not be less than 8million.”
He further implored the current administration to call on them if they need any clarification on the financial status of their administration, he said:
“If we are called we will defend it, I’m the officer in charge and I can account for every amount spent like the officers that held other offices too even when the VC came to examine our work, he added more money for us to continue”
He however noted that all the monies spent were spent on students welfarsim,
“They may be under pressure because of the “envy” of the amount that we inherited due to the circumstance and it may not be the same as their own, we cannot say because we want to leave money that we should not use the money for the necessary projects so far the money is for the students welfarism” he advises.
He finally urged the current administration to embrace patience as the money meant for their administration may soon be credited to the Union’s bank:
“Everything is about patience the money we inherited was due to the circumstance, the money that’s meant for them will surely come to them and money will be released soon to them by the University management” he says.
Kalgo’s Predecessors React
Aminu Hashidu Danjuma, the 2017/18 Students’ Representatives Assembly Speaker explains that for the sake of transparency and accountability, the outgoing administration needs to leave all the necessary documents for its predecessor, he said:
“Ideally I know what used to happen is that hand-over note summarizes all the activities of the previous administration by each principal officer to the next coming on, then the details follows in, on inherited files and folders, I’m sure I met a lot of documents that guided me as a speaker from my predecessors, by that I don’t mean my immediate predecessor, even others before him.
Hashidu however noted that for the sake of transparency ,the previous administration needs to leave it, ” I believe for integrity sake, morality demands that leaders remain accountable and take responsibility for there actions in and outside office”
The 2016/17 Assistant General Secretary, Comrade Sunusi Mailafiya faulted the current administration for indicting the previous administration without due consultation, he advised the current administration to seek clarification from their predecessor if they smell any rat of misappropriation
“I could remember during our administration, it’s caretaker committee that handed over to us wherever we’ve issues to them, we’re asking them directly to shed more light, we did not use any social media during our handing over” says Mailafiya
He further charged the current administration to checkmate each office sequentially rather than indicting the President only for the whole issue,” they should checkmate each office by office, not blaming the president alone. The president has nothing to do with the budget of each officer after it was approved”
Mailafiya however emphasizes the importance of financial details and advised the current administration to meet their predecessors one-on-one to seek clarifications or otherwise take the Matter to the Dean Student Affairs
“Financial details is necessary, but it is the responsibility of Financial Secretary, and even during our handing over to Kalgo, the financial secretary is not around, the successor met his predecessor and do their handing over, its office by office. So just to blame the President alone, it’s very disturbing if we’re talking about fairness” says Mailafiya.
The former clerk of Students Representative Assembly during the Maibasira’s administration, Ibrahim Nakowa explained that Government is a continuous process and necessary documents need to be handed over to any successive administration, “Government is a continuous process and at the end of every administration there is always a transition process, so ideally in the legislative arm the Union where I served as the clerk, there used to be a hand over note inside inherited files which gives brief account of every activity of the Union and also serves as a guide to the incoming principal officer” Says Nakowa.
He however noted that there is no “any constitutional provision that authorises the incoming administration to probe the outgoing”
Did They Really Hand Over?
On Monday 6th of May 2019, three days after the official handing over, both parties agreed to meet at the Students’ Union secretariat for the official handing over as a matter of tradition and formality.
Pen Press gathered that the outgone EXCO and the current agreed to meet at around 8:00pm which the current administration failed to show up at the agreed time and that averted the previous administration mission to officially handover their documents to the current administration.
The past financial secretary kept the financial records in a wardrobe at the Office of the Secretary General because of the failure of the current to show up.
Checks by Pen Press confirmed the whereabouts of the financial details and were found in the Office of the Secretary General.
The General Secretary of the Union, Abubakar Sulyman also affirmed that the records of the previous administration was left by the Financial secretary in files containing all the documents of request for fund before and during the past administration but the only thing that’s missing was the financial breakdown/ summary of how the funds was spent.
Zero Tolerance Vows To Investigate The Matter
The Zero Tolerance Club, Usmanu Danfodiyo is the students body saddled with the responsibility of ensuring fairness and accountability of financial spendings of unions.
The President of the Club, Usman Jibril while speaking with Pen Press reinstated the commitment of the Union in ensuring that the matter will be investigated thoroughly.
He further explained that handing over is not only a tradition but an obligation for any successive administration,” It has always been not only the tradition but an obligation for any outgoing adminstration to leave a financial report of its tenure in office to prove transparency” he said.
He further explained that transparency and accountability are two virtues that allow an individual to exercise justice and fairness in all circumstances and to all manner of people regardless of ethno-religious sentiments or inclinations.
He assured that the Union will set an investigation committee to ensure that the matter is investigated and they will send their reports to the University Management.
“On receiving the petition, the investigatory committee will convene to study the petition, then send invitation letters to the concerned parties for fair hearing which is followed by a thorough investigation, at the end of it all, a report is sent to the Student Affairs division for necessary steps to sanction indicted parties to the petition” He vowed.
He therefore advised both parties to shun the trade of words and allow the body to investigate the matter.
Due Process And The Provisions Of The Student Handbook
The concept of power transition is not limited to the financial aspect only, it’s expected that necessary documents are transferred from one administration to another with detailed account of how the administration runs the affairs of the organization.
The article XV section 4 of the Student Handbook made it a necessity for any outgoing officer of the Union to handover all the Union’s properties before leaving the office and section 5 under the same article gazette a sanction for any officer who fails to do so.
“A list of all union properties shall be compiled by the respective outgoing officers and countersigned by the President and Speaker, properties and inventory shall be handed over to the Caretaker Committee within forty eight (48) hours of the dissolution”
“Exco/SRA committees Officer(s) failing to comply with this provision (Article XV, Section 4) shall be duly questioned and disciplined if necessary by the University” section 5 says.
We Are Yet To Receive Any Petition— Says Dean
The Dean, student Affairs, Prof Aminu Mode while speaking with Pen Press said the University management is yet to receive any official reports from both parties
“I can only talk when they report to me there is no way we can interfere if they are yet to bring the report to us. Nobody has written anything when they write once we are going to investigate to see if there is problem” he said.
He however advised them to resolve the issue within themselves and consult him if they are unable to do so
He said: “They should settle the matter within themselves and if they are unable to resolve it they should bring it to us our own is to give them fatherly advice”.