The stakeholders
and impartial observers in the affairs of the University of Port
Harcourt have digested the weird dance steps of Professor Andrew
Efemini of the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of
Humanities, especially in recent times and come to the conclusion
that silence can no longer be golden under the circumstance.
Ordinarily, we would have preferred to respond to Professor
Efemini’s latest litany of misrepresentations with deafening
silence, but for the fact that his tissue of lies could be bought
hook, line and sinker by unsuspecting members of the public who
may begin to view the University in bad light. Still, we have
refused to be dragged into the gutter which appears to be
Professor Efemini’s natural habitat in the public space. We do not
have to respond to every falsehood placed in the public space by
people with pecuniary interest to protect in the system. Of course,
the University is a human institution with human imperfections,
nobody has a right to ceaselessly denigrate its image the was
Professor Efemini and his cohorts have done with relish in the
hope that they are hurting the incumbent Vice-Chancellor,
Professor Ndowa Lale. Professor Efemini could be likened unto a
self-validating preacher without a pulpit to stand on and a moral
crusader without character. Members of the public who watch
Professor Efemini pontificating from all available public spaces
may not be aware that he comprehensively lacks the credentials to
claim higher moral grounds on matters of ethics, equity and good
conscience as he has deceived the public into believing. To those
of us who know him from close quarters, Professor Efemini’s
farcical and hypocritical self-righteous indignation on behalf of
“students” and the “masses” is a clever cover-up for a long list of
official misdemeanours that should have been serially sanctioned
by successive administrations of the University of Port Harcourt.
In recent times, Professor Efemini has taken his self-validating
social crusade and manufactured populism to rather ridiculous
limits –especially on the Social Media—where he has repeatedly
attempted to pull wool over the eyes of his gullible audiences with
respect to the actual situation in the University of Port Harcourt. A
few examples would suffice for those who are genuinely in search
of the real motive behind Professor Efemini’s fake activism and
farcical messianic complex. The facts bellow speak for
themselves: Before Professor Efemini assumed office as Acting
Dean of the Student Affairs Department, students of the University
of Port Harcourt paid N300.00 only to their Union as yearly levy.
No sooner than Dr. Efemini (as he then was) took office, he
colluded with a few unscrupulous student leaders to jack up the
levy to a whopping N2,000.00 without reference to the
administration. Remember he is a champion of students’ welfare
and “the rights of man”! Not yet done with such fraudulent act, Dr.
Efemini (as he then was), secretly negotiated with a “Contractor”
to supply laptops to all students of the University at the official
cost of N22,000.00. He did not stop there; this self-acclaimed
defender of students’ welfare secretly padded the agreed sum with
an additional N11,000.00 for each laptop, bringing the total price
to N33,000.00. The additional money as was discovered later was
for himself! He unilaterally committed the University as guarantor
of the lucrative deal without clearance from Management of which
he was a Member at the time. This fraudulent act resulted in the
summary removal of Dr. Efemini (as he then was) from office as
Acting Dean of Student Affairs. This is on record and he has
continued to threaten fire and fury for being “disgraced out of
office” by the Vice-Chancellor. In 2014, Professor Efemini
submitted an elaborate proposal to the Committee of Pro-
Chancellors of Nigerian Universities in which he strongly
recommended the introduction of “tuition fees” in Public
Universities as a means of keeping them afloat in the era of
dwindling statutory allocations from government. This outlandish
proposal led to Professor Efemini’s summary suspension from
office by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Academic
Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which has been fighting for
“tuition-free education” in Nigeria. In a recent Facebook post,
Professor Efemini has shamelessly contradicted himself by
substituting “tuition fee” with “charges”. Some form of “semantic
fog”. Professor Efemini was among those who initiated the
debacle known on campus as “ASUU Home Ownership Scheme”
through which contributors were to own their own homes on land
acquired by a Cooperative Society that was established without
clearly-defined operational structure and loan repayment
schedule. The Scheme became marred in unending fraudulent
deductions from the salaries of participating staff to the extent
that they revolted against him. The Efemini-led Executive was
dissolved and replaced with a Caretaker Committee headed by
Professor Henry Alapiki as a precondition for peace. There are still
no verifiable records to show that Professor Efemini and his
cohorts paid a dime for their share of the plots of land at the site.
Shortly after assuming office, the incumbent Vice-Chancellor
embarked upon a University-wide inspection to see things for
himself. One of the places he inspected was a large parcel of land
adjourning the Graduate Hostel at the Permanent Site of the
University, which Professor Efemini had already allocated to
private developers without authorisation from relevant organs of
the University. When asked to explain the anomaly, Professor
Efemini barefacedly insisted that the land belonged to unnamed
“students”. He claimed to be in possession of official documents
that ceded the choice parcel of land to the faceless students. He
promised to produce the documentation which never happened till
today. In-between his contentious Deanship of the Student Affairs
Department, Professor Efemini collected large sums of money
from some unsuspecting students under the guise of providing
none-existent hostel accommodation to the students, who
thereafter protested against him. To avert the brewing scandal,
this fake human rights defender secretly settled with a few of the
aggrieved students, while many more were left in the lurk till they
graduated. Professor Efemini recently took to Facebook to declare
himself a “destitute” and openly solicited for donations into his
private account from students and the general public. Only on
Monday (5/2/2018), he posted another message in which he
thanked the faceless donors for their financial support, claiming:
“I am now better”. Just a few days after declaring himself
“destitute” and contemplating “suicide”. A professional corn man
is obviously at work here. Such a fraudulent act deserves to be
referred to the EFCC for proper investigation because there are no
cogent and verifiable reasons why a Public Officer should submit
his personal bank details into which people should pay money
without following due process. Does it then mean that anybody
can post account details online for people to pay money without
proper verification? How can Professor Efemini claim to be a
champion of students’ matters and turn around to demand that the
same “poor students” he is defending pay N50,000.00 into his
personal account on monthly basis to enable him “survive”. Is this
not a classic definition of extortion? How does this shameful act
portray the image of the University to the general public?
Professor Efemini was paid a total of N961,038.27 in December,
2017, which was his share of the Earned Academic Allowance
(EAA) that was paid to all academic staff of Federal Universities.
Is it not an act of brazen daylight robbery and obtaining by tricks
(419) for Professor Efemini to hoodwink unsuspecting members of
the public to pay money into his personal account on false
pretense? This man must be truth-challenged, indeed! For
infringing upon certain extant rules governing the terms of his
employment, Professor Efemini was dragged before the Senior
Staff Disciplinary Committee, which made recommendations that
the Governing Council relied on to place him on suspension. Yes,
suspension should for an initial three months, but Professor
Efemini knows, like everybody else, that the University
administration is currently shut down by a national strike that has
put everything on hold, including staff promotions and students’
registration. There are other staff who are similarly suspended
from duty. Even at that, Professor Efemini is currently earning half
salary, while his wife is a Senior Staff of the University on full
salary. This is certainly NOT the picture of a “destitute” family
that Professor Efemini has been laboring to project to the public;
unless the word “destitution” has recently acquired a new
etymological meaning in the Efemini household. It should be
noted that Professor Efemini was suspended before the ongoing
national strike declared by the three non-teaching unions in the
federal university system. Professor Efemini should know that the
charges/payments being collected by the University is statutorily
approved by the Federal Government, and were agreed upon long
before Professor Ndowa Lale become Vice-Chancellor. The same
charges are routinely collected in all federal universities without
grandstanding by self-appointed do-gooders instigating students
not to pay and to take to the streets as Professor Efemini has
openly advocated in his recent Facebook posts. First, Professor
Efemini and his fellow agents provocateurs claimed that Professor
Lale increased “school fees” without engaging the students and
“other stakeholders”. When that dummy did not sell, they turned
around to claim that students who refused to pay their charges
were so indigent that they could not source the money. In his
latest convoluted Facebook post, Professor Efemini claims to be in
favour of students paying their charges. Doublespeak
incorporated! On 6th March, 2017, Professor Efemini stormed the
office of the Vice-Chancellor to demand N15,000,000.00 which he
claimed was the “balance” of a N30,000,000.00 bargain with the
immediate past Vice-Chancellor, whom he claimed was already at
the verge of paying him the “balance” before leaving office on 10
July, 2015. He, thereafter, told the Special Assistant to the Vice-
Chancellor that students and NANS officials were already
mobilising to attack the University if the money was not released
to him. He added in a tone that betrayed utter impunity that the
impending “attack” would be more destructive than what the
University community experienced on April 11, 2016. On July 27,
2017, Professor Efemini mobilised a few students who failed to
pay their charges in the 2015/2016 session to the Rumuokoro
Round About to demonstrate as the convoy of the then Acting
President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, was passing by the area.
When he was interrogated by the Police on his disruptive activities
that day, Professor Efemini insisted that “only justice can bring
peace in the University of Port Harcourt.” The Police has since
recommended that he be summarily prosecuted for attempting to
embarrass the Police, Rivers State and the Acting President. From
the foregoing, it is self-evident that Professor Andrew Efemini has
been instigating students to protest against the University
Management and has recently cited a Supreme Court ruling that
backs protests. In a post only yesterday, Professor Efemini
painted a grim picture of a phantom “crisis” in the University
which must be resolved as a precondition for “peace” on campus.
He is calling for a “meeting” between him and Management of the
University to “resolve the crisis”. According to him, “the
University is not a military barracks”. This erroneous conclusion
appears to suggest that Professor Efemini and his cohorts may be
in advanced stages of launching a counter-attack on the imaginary
“barracks” with impending casualties as was the case on April 11,
2016. Having not achieved any results here as a rebel without a
cause, Professor Efemini has inundated the Federal Ministry of
Education, the National Universities Commission and even the
Executive of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with protest
letters containing wild allegations of “misdeeds” by the University
Management and the person of the Vice-Chancellor. Each protest
letter ends with a demand that he be consulted as a precondition
foe ending the “crisis” in the University of Port Harcourt. Impartial
observers are beginning to question the mental balance of
Professor Andrew Efemini as he stumbles from one blunder onto
another. During the last Convocation Ceremony, Professor Efemini
took to Facebook to demand N100,000,000.00 from the University
Management to safeguard the event from rainfall. He also claimed
to have spent a whole day on the busy East/West Road axis during
the Aluu 4 killings in 2012, armed with a preacher’s horn speaker.
He has done so many other bizarre things that appear to point to a
deranged mind at work. It is possible that this rebel without a
course is in dare needs of help to restore him to sanity. His people,
the Urhobos’ have a saying that the older a man becomes, the
smaller the size of his farm. While concerted efforts are made to
offer him help, we are not going to allow Professor Efemini’s
jaundiced views and activities to drag the University of Port
Harcourt down the drain where he operates with relish. The public
must be made to know the real Professor Andrew Efemini and his
brand of populism! We are now willing, ready and able to respond
to Professor Andrew Efemini’s farcical populist rantings at every
turn. He has drawn a red line on the sand.

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