Dr Abubakar Abdul Dzukogi assumed duties as rector, Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State, in April 2015, succeeding Engineer Abdullahi Sule, who served in that capacity for nine years. Two years in the saddle, Dzukogi discusses with ADELOWO OLADIPO his vision, achievements and challenges.
WHEN you took office as rector, what was your road map to reposition the institution, and what steps have you taken to achieve it?
I came in with a vision to improve on everything I met on the ground and leave the polytechnic better than I met it. I want to implement a seven-point agenda: these involve instilling discipline in the system, ensuring academic integrity, renewing efforts at revenue generation, pursuing more aggressive infrastructure development, paying more attention to human capital development, staff and students’ welfare, and paying more attention to research and community service.
I had a clear picture of where we wanted to go; and in doing so, I promised to operate an open door policy anchored on truthful and transparent operations. These we have kept for almost two years.
How has your administration fared in the area of instilling discipline particularly?
When we came in, there was a lot of indiscipline in the system; but to a large extent, we have been able to restore discipline. On a personal level, I have led by good example; any day I am in Bida, I am always in my office by 8a.m. and most of the staff have keyed to it. In order to maintain discipline in the system, we empowered SERVICOM 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.
The polytechnic under my watch has been able to restore sanity into the system. We have also ensured that we carry the three unions along, including the students’ union.
In line with the academic integrity, we have successfully received accreditation and re-accreditation visitors from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for some of our programmes which had expired as far back as 2012/2013 academic session. We have also received commendations from the NBTE team in respect of the infrastructure and equipment on ground, despite paucity of funds.
I am happy to inform you that currently, plans are on for resource inspection of the eight new programmes the polytechnic wishes to introduce, such as Agric Technology, Architectural Technology, Computer Engineering, among others.
What are the challenges facing your administration, especially in actualising your vision for the polytechnic?
Funding is one of our major challenges, because government does not usually release appropriated funds to the institution, and so many structures need to be renovated. We are using our maintenance unit to renovate some of them. But we are lucky for now that the Federal Government has not touched our internally generated revenue (IGR). It is through prudent management of resources that we have been able to achieve some of these things.
For instance, from the IGR, we were able to get additional furniture to lecture rooms. We were also able to establish yet-to-be-commissioned Micro Finance Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) can come at any time for the approval before we start operations. We are also ensuring adequate water supply on the campus and we have been able to purchase more than 50 units of drawing boards for Architectural and Engineering students and the School of Environmental Studies. We were also able to construct an FM station on the campus – all from IGR.
What is the level of ICT compliance at the Federal Polytechnic, Bida?
Following the creation of School of Information and Communication Technology, the directorate was renamed Information Technology Services. The management under my watch has provided a number of facilities to give sound footing to ICT in the polytechnic. These include development of fiber optic network across the entire polytechnic community, provision of smart boards at strategic locations within, provision of computer laptops to all heads of departments, examinations officers, including other units such as registry, bursary and audit departments.
Part of our modest achievements also in the area of ICT is the provision of printers to units and departments as well as full computerisation of both the bursary and registry departments.
In addition, the management has completed arrangement to sign memorandum of understanding with Globacom Network for deployment of last mile for the fiber optic network. We are also planning to upgrade the current 15megabytes bandwidth to 155 MB for the polytechnic internet access, and now our school’s website has been installed. We now have a new students’ portal which has features for online registration, payment, clearance, application, admission, accommodation, results and transcripts. This has made it possible for the polytechnic to communicate with the internet worldwide. We have signed MoU with A3 Foundation with coverage of online registration, training and final examination for about 103 capable but disadvantaged youths in Bida Emirate Council in Niger State. We have also signed MoU with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board for online registration and conduct of Computer Based Test.
What have you done so far in the area of staff and research development?
My administration places high emphasis on staff development, and as a result, in the last 20 months as the rector of the polytechnic, we have been able to increase the drive for acquisition of higher qualifications for higher productivity. Now, we can boast of 50 PhD holders and quite a number of PhD-awaiting candidates. This is in addition to not fewer than 273 academic and non-academic staff having Master degrees in their respective disciplines. Prior to 2015, the polytechnic had not been accessing the TETFund intervention for manuscripts; but with proper sensitisation, progress has been made.
What are the other achievements recorded by your administration?
We have created three additional schools to the existing four, thereby making it a total of seven schools and 30 academic departments. In addition, the polytechnic, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal University of Technology, Minna, to run the B.Tech (Bachelor of Technology) programme in some engineering and environmental courses. A similar agreement is about to be signed with the Kwara State University, Malete, in respect of management courses.