The public was recently jolted by the peaceful demonstration in front of the Karl Kumm University Vom, by youths of the host community. The public may not have been in the picture of the numerous fruitless efforts of the Vwang community and many men/women of goodwill, from various walks of life, to get to the roots of the saga, to forestall the demonstration and ultimately having the University become an ill-fated project. Also, the host community had desperately tried in vain, to convince the management of the institution to reverse its hostile decision against the appointment of one of theirs, as the Registrar of the institution. The very unfortunate decision on the removal of Dr Daniel Dung Kim, the Registrar of the budding institution, was not only unpopular and reprehensible, but remains largely, unfortunate and unacceptable.
- It will be recalled that the authorities of the Karl Kumm University conducted a recruitment interview for Principal Officers of the institution, during which the following emerged as the successful candidates;
- Prof. Nanven Audu Gambo………Vice-Chancellor (Southern Zone)
- Dr Daniel Dung Kim…………………Registrar (Northern Zone/Host Community)
- Mr Success Sokyes………………….Bursar (Central Zone)
- Prof John Mawak…………………….Director, Academic Planning (Central Zone)
- While the ovation, applause and celebration across board, on these appointments were yet to settle down, a negative twist was rudely introduced into the scenario, as all but the Registrar, were issued their letters of appointment, on the 13th May, 2021. Unbelievably, this development came after the Governing Council had been inaugurated, on 12th May 2021, with Dr Daniel Dung Kim, as Registrar/Secretary of Council and also, had its inaugural meeting. Dr Kim, it should be noted, is the candidate of the host community, in line with the agreements entered into between the community and the church. This agreement formed the basis of the understanding upon which the Vwang community freely gave 61.7 ha of its valuable agricultural land to the church, for the University project. Note that this land belonged to individual families, some of who are not members of the COCIN Church.
- Until the News Parrot Online, of June 23, 2021, came with its revolting and sensational ‘revelation’ on reasons behind KKU’s volte-face on Dr Daniel Dung Kim, all efforts to have the Governing Council Chairman and Board of Trustees of the KKU, as well as the leadership of the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN), to speak out on the matter, have resolutely met a brick wall, in a rehearsed and well-choreographed conspiracy of silence and mischief. Unfortunately, the dwarfish and little known online news outfit ended throwing up a litany of convulsing, contradictory and incoherent fables, which from all indications was ab initio, a hatchet job. At most, what we saw in the findings of the online media outfit is, to say the very least, most disgustingly worse than the rumors, half-truths, and downright falsehood, that have choked the public space, from the day Dr Kim was denied his appointment letter.
- For the purpose of clarity this response shall extensively limit itself to the ‘revelations’ raised in the online news outfit, which are as follows;
a. The Berom being the only ethnic nationality with three members on the KKU Governing Council and two members in the institution’s Board of Trustees
b. The said Registrar is in court with the Plateau State Government, his employer, in a pending case,
c. The Registrar refused to disclose his pensionable status of a retiree and a pensioner that made the committee to give him a tenured appointment
d. NUC indictment
a. BEROM AND MEMBERSHIP OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL & BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF KKU
It is not a hidden fact that the Governing Council of the KKU has three of its members being of Berom extraction, namely Prof Bulus Nyam Gyang, Rev (Prof) Gyang Pam and His Royal Highness, the Gwom Rwey, Vwang. Of the three listed only the latter (Gwom Rwey Vwang), represents the host community and by implication, the Berom nation. If the Online news outfit had taken the pains to look deep and objectively analyse the circumstances surrounding the emergence of the three in the Council, it would have dawned on it that the Berom nation played no role at all, in the emergence of the two Professors. Prof B N Gyang, represents the Steering/Implementation Committee of the University, having been there from inception. He is there on merit, having been nominated by that Committee. Rev (Prof) Gyang Pam was brought in from Kenya, by the COCIN Church, to represent it. Whatever criteria were used in arriving at him/them, we are not privy to. Without any prejudice, we are all the same, indeed glad to have them all on board, given their rich background of serving with honesty, credibility and integrity.
For a balance reportage and objective analysis we would have thought that membership of the BOT should be equally presented on an ethnic spreadsheet, to see if the Berom are still the dominant ethnic nationality here as well. But since the mandate handed to the online news outfit was to generate anti-Berom campaign materials and smear sentiments, it could not have ventured into any form of comparative analysis that would end up unveiling true perspectives, unpleasant to the sponsors. This is much more so that membership of trusteeship is for life, while that of Governing Council is tenured.
That notwithstanding and without any prejudice, Dr Daniel Dung Kim applied for the job, like any other interested persons. It is our conviction that his application was given the same fair treatment others enjoyed all through, without consideration for his ethnic background, else it will be very easy to conclude that his current persecution derives essentially from his ethnic background. His emergence as the best candidate at the interview was purely a reflection of his brilliant performance, in a transparent and fair process of assessment, just the very same way other Principal Officers emerged. In any case, going by the seeming insider privileged position of the Online News stable, it is convincing enough to conclude that Dr Daniel Kim is being frustrated out of office in order to balance the ethnic equation in the Governing Council and not on account of any established anomaly on his part. We are however shocked that the Board of trustees is heavily lopsided in favour of an ethnic nationality, yet the member of the Governing Council of that same ethnic extraction was not denied his appointment letter.
b. DANIEL DUNG KIM’S COURT CASE
Given the shenanigans and contrived schemes and high level manipulations that stage – managed his premature exit from the service of the Plateau State University (PLASU), Bokkos, Dr Daniel Dung Kim, after consultation with his lawyers, ultimately approached the court to seek redress. This is a normal practice in a civilized setting. There is nothing unusual for a worker to take his employers to court or vice versa, for proper and objective interpretation of the principle and letter of the conditions governing his/her employment, discipline or disengagement from employment. This is in order to reduce the possibility of arbitrary and highhanded hiring and firing of workers at the capricious feelings or wishes of the employers. The Parrot Online news outfit failed to realize that it is Dr Kim who took PLASU to court and not vice versa, as it were. There is nothing preventing the KKU from hiring a man/woman simply because he had approached a court of competent jurisdiction on account of irreconcilable differences with his erstwhile employers, except if we are being forewarned that the KKU intends to go the way of lawlessness in relating with its employees, in the future.
C. THAT Dr. DANIEL DUNG KIM REFUSED TO DISCLOSE HIS PENSION STATUS TO THE INTERVIEW TEAM
To say the least, this is the most stupid, ludicrous and horrendous of the so-called revelations of the Parrot News Online. That one desirous of a job would appear before an interview panel and deliberately refused to disclose basic information to the team and yet still emerge tops at the end of the day. This sounds more of an indictment on the Interview Panel. Would the disclosure that he was a pensioner have robbed Dr. Kim of the job? Certainly No, not at all. It is recalled that he (Dr Daniel D. Kim) left College of Education Gindiri, on voluntary retirement, on 6th November, 2014. This was to settle down to his new employment as Registrar of PLASU Bokkos.
His retirement was also in conformity with the directive contained in a Circular from the Head of Service of the Federation, Ref:HCSF/EMS/EIR/B.63694/IV/T2/27 July 2009, titled, INTERPRETATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE RULES ON COMPULSORY RETIREMENT AGE/YEAR OF SERVICE IN RELATION TO TENURED APPOINTMENTS OF SERVING PUBLIC SERVANTS.
Summarily, the Circular directed serving civil servants to retire from service before or when taking a tenured appointment. This has remained the practice in tertiary institutions of learning in Plateau State and other states like Nasarawa, Kaduna, Taraba, etc. over the years. This can be confirmed from the following examples of officers who retired from service and later took tenured appointments;
i. Mr Amos Akims, retired as Bursar in COE Gindiri and later served as Bursar in COE Pankshin, for two tenures. He went further to serve as Bursar at the University of Jos for two tenures.
ii. Sir J. L. Fomwul, retired from COE Gindiri and later became Registrar at CAST Kurgwi. He proceeded to become Pioneer Registrar at PLASU Bokkos.
iii. Dr James M Gwang, retired from the COE Gindiri, as the College Librarian and later took up an appointment as a Librarian at FCE Pankshin. Later he became the Pioneer Librarian at the PLASU, Bokkos.
iv. Mr Christopher Longpoe, retired as Deputy Registrar from the University of Jos and took up an appointment as Ag. Registrar at the PLASU. He was later shortlisted for interview for the post of Registrar at PLASU in 2013.
v. Prof Nenforth E. Gomwalk, retired from the University of Jos, having served as its Vice-Chancellor and was later appointed acting Vice-Chancellor, PLASU, Bokkos. He later attended the interview for the post of Vice-Chancellor and was recommended for the post.
vi. Prof D D D Sheni, retired in 2012 and was appointed Vice Chancellor of PLASU Bokkos in 2013.
vii. Mr John Garang, was retired by the University of Jos, later appointed as Bursar at the College of Education Gindiri in 2011. His tenure was renewed in 2017.
Given the above listed examples, it only amounts to mere wishful imagination and a poorly executed hatchet job, for any right thinking mind to conclude that Dr Kim failed or worse still, refused to disclose his pension status to his interviewers and for whatever reasons. And to think that the same interview panel could not contact one of his referees or his former places of work, for confirmation or additional information, makes this allegation all the more, laughable and childish. Besides, there is nothing hidden about his service profile. For the benefit of doubt, an appointment into the office of a Principal Officer of a University is tenured, irrespective of the appointee’s service background. Dr Kim was therefore, not seeking for a permanent and pensionable offer of appointment in KKU. His pension status, as raised by the online media report, is highly immaterial, in the circumstance.
d. AN INDICTMENT FROM THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION (NUC)
An indictment is a response to an offence. It suffices only where an infringement has occurred. Where the offence is not figured or does not exist, it becomes an effort in futility justifying the alleged indictment. Unlike the online Parrot’s bandying of incoherent and contradictory hearsays, our search has painstakingly, revealed that Dr Daniel Dung Kim was never indicted at any point in time, in the course of his civil service career or in his tenured appointment. Following the protracted and worsening relationship between the Pro-Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the PLASU, resulting in the suspension of Prof DDD Sheni, the VC, in 2014, the suspended VC complained to the National Universities Commission. In response, the National Universities Commission (NUC), put together a Fact-finding Panel to the Plateau State University, Bokkos, in 2014. The panel was mandated to;
i. look into the immediate and remote causes of the crisis that led to the suspension of the Vice-Chancellor and the recent students’ unrest in the university;
ii. examine the governance structure and the effects on the smooth running of the university;
iii. assess the status of academic programs, including student enrolment;
iv. examine the management of finances and other resources of the university and
v. Look into any other issues that could improve the fortunes of the university.
Note that this being a Fact-Finding Panel the Terms of References (ToR), were specific, as stated above. The Panel had nothing to do with apportioning blames, or recommending punishment. Any acts tantamount to an infringement was supposed to constitute part of its findings, to be forwarded to the Visitor and Governing Council of the University, for further policy formulation and decision making. Any other deviation from this, arising from could have easily been a product of overzealousness or manipulation. In any case, there wasn’t any indictment by the Panel. The Panel came up with some findings in keeping with its TOR. However, this was neither submitted to the Visitor nor the University Governing Council. It was not until a new government came into office in the state and the suspended VC recalled that he (the reinstated VC), that he produced an unsigned report allegedly from the NUC. With the support of the newly installed Chairman of Governing Council, the VC began the process of implementing the said report.
It also needs to be stressed that the same VC (Prof DDD Sheni), had earlier got into a collision course with the Registrar, over an application he (VC) submitted to the University for a Loan of #24m, as well as the sum of #26m, being his housing/furniture allowance for five years in advance. This was to enable him purchase a personal house. The application for such amounts out rightly contravened the established financial regulations of the University.
However, in his desperation to raise the said amount, the VC faulted all the laid down guidelines for having his application approved. He personally wrote the memo himself, approved it and instructed the bursar to release the money, which he (Bursar) did. It was when the F&GPC was to discuss the application that it was realized that the money had since been released to the VC. To control the monumental damage already caused, the Registrar was requested to write a memo and have it backdated, in respect of the fraudulent transaction between the VC and the Bursar, which he (Registrar) flatly refused, knowing the weighty implications, of so doing. The Registrar’s action was wrongly construed by the VC as insubordination, which created a frosty relationship with the latter, leading to the forced disengagement of Dr Daniel Dung Kim from PLASU, which is now a matter for litigation in court.
From all the available records, the National Universities Commission (NUC), at no point in time indicted Dr Daniel D Kim. Even where it was alleged that the panel had recommended that Dr Kim be reprimanded, it does not constitute an indictment. Besides, by its ToR the panel lacked the power to make any recommendation and or, take any action outside its established TOR.
It is obvious that unless the forces working against the host community of the Karl Kumm University have other excuses they are holding unto as their joker, there is nothing in the public domain against the appointment of Dr Daniel Dung Kim as Registrar, of the University, that holds water or makes any sense.
- For the sake of emphasis, it should be noted that the much-talked about Fact-Finding Panel of the NUC may have produced a report, but that such a report, as mentioned earlier, was never submitted to the University or the Visitor, until after a change in government had been effected in the state and the suspended VC, Prof DDD Sheni recalled and reinstated.
- Prof Sheni, on resumption from suspension, came with a report (unsigned), which Council (reconstituted) directed that it be produced and implemented. It was now at the VC’s liberty to decide who to indict and who to favour, using the report as a perfect cover. The Registrar, who had hitherto refused to backdate a memo to cover-up for the release of funds for the purchase of a personal house for the VC, couldn’t have escaped the rod of the latter.
- The Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN), being the proprietor of Karl Kumm University, holds the key to the resolution of the unnecessary confusion it inadvertently or deliberately ignited. Respecting and implementing the MOU it entered into with its host community would guarantee a very smooth take-off for the institution. Unfortunately the Church appears to have been held hostage by vested interests, personal aggrandizement of its past leaders, ethnic warlords and a coterie of emergency intellectual tin gods, like one Prof John Wade, who saw a veritable opportunity in the imbroglio (as he calls it) to hit back at the(Xenophobic) Berom, in his commentary on the matter. We reserve comments on the unfortunate overzealous involvement of John Wade in a purely Protestant Denominational issue which, in the very least, concerns him, being a Catholic. It is a known fact that John Wade seemed to have vowed to spleen venom on the entire Berom nation, for his loss of job as VC of PLASU, Bokkos, under the Da J D Jang government. The KKU matter now appears to have become an all-comers affair. With persons of dubious and doubtful integrity and intentions, playing centre-stage roles.
- By setting aside the MOU, with its imperfections, the Church has closed the prospects and avenue for a resolution of the crisis and the take-off of the University. In the absence of the MOU no agreement binds the host community and the Church; hence the community is no longer under any obligation in standing by the gift of its land, for the building of the University. This is in line with the withdrawal of the appointment of our son and candidate, as Registrar of the institution. Hence COCIN has an option of relocating its University elsewhere.
- We have noticed a gradual and sustained worsening of relations between the COCIN and the Berom over the years, but never expected it will get to this terrible pass. Late last year (2020), when the Berom Educational and Cultural Organization (BECO), was working on the portion of land allotted to it by the Jos Museum Authorities, to build the Berom House, it had the shock of its life, when the Resident Pastor of the Headquarters Church ordered the Church security men to throw out our cables meant for use the next day. BECO had pleaded with the security at the Church to allow it keep the cables inside the compound over the night, only to find the same items back in the open inside the Berom Compound the next morning, on the orders of the Resident Pastor, even after being told who owned the items and why they were there.
- As if 5, above was not well taken in, immediately the building of the Berom Compound was completed, the COCIN began furious construction of walls that have completely denied access to the compound, from the main road. All entreaties to the Church for an amicable resolution of the matter have been to no avail, as an Elder in the Church made it abundantly clear, that to COCIN, building the fence was a matter of life and death. Knowing that the greatest proportion of believers in Berom land are of the COCIN Church, it is unbelievable that our own Church could treat us with this uncommon hostility. The Karl Kumm University conundrum is just a trending display of the chilling and calculated hostility towards the Berom, which started way back in the 70s. This ungodly conduct in God’s vineyard is by all means sad and unacceptable.
VOICE OF CONSCIENCE
28th JUNE 2021