UBa Frustrates Final Year Students

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The second batch of students expected to pass out of the University of Bamenda (UBa) have been left highly frustrated by the authorities of the University following a series of postponements of the graduation. This batch was supposed to have graduated in December 2015, but this is yet to be so and no official reasons have been advanced by the university administration up till now.

The appointment of a new Vice Chancellor Prof. Theresa Nkuo Akenji, seems to have instead retarded the process with the university authorities opting to remain mute about the upcoming graduation. When the we visited UBa campus, no one was ready to talk or open up to the press about what is actually delaying the graduation.

This situation has left many students in a state of confusion. Some students the we spoke too said they face the challenge of preparing for the event blindly, who to invite and when and how to further their education elsewhere. Nji Larry, a student of the department of Chemistry said his family is simply confused now as to what to do next. “I had applied for master abroad and was asked to summit my documents but that seems impossible with this current situation” he said.

According to our sources at the university, Prof. Akenji Therese, is working hard to have the minister of Higher Education, Jacques Fame Ndongo preside over the graduation. Ever since the creation of the University in 2012 the Minister had never attended a graduation ceremony in UBa, unlike in University of Buea (UB). Some blame this to the strained relationship between Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo and the former VC who were said to be at loggerhead.

Our source said it requires a huge budget to organize an event like the upcoming graduation with the institution due to provide lodging and mission allowances for the minister and his huge entourage, for visiting university dons from other state institutions, various organizing committees, amongst many others. The budget is said to run into tens of millions of francs CFA, with the fledgling university expected to raise this money entirely by itself. 

That could explain why UBa under Prof.  Tafah Edokat, may not have been able to organize a graduation ceremony with the minister present. Despite these odds, our source said the current Vice Chancellor is doing everything possible within her powers to raise the needed amount and to set a precedent by having the minister of Higher Education in Bamenda on the graduation day. These explain the several planning meetings that has become a routine in UBa for the past few weeks.

Prof. Theresia Akenji we learned has also issued firm instructions to her collaborator not to engage in any financial excesses in the name of accomplishing this goal. The availability of cash at the UBa treasury had been an impediment to Edokat’s administration. Part-time lecturers were owed and outstanding allowances owed some university staff were never paid. This reportedly caused delays in the activities of the university, reason why the new VC has instructed her collaborators not to over indulge so as to enable the payment of dues and other financial engagement of the university and to facilitate the running of the school.

Others have been quick to blame the delay in cash disbursement at UBa to the unqualified staff that was recruited at the finance department. Series of documents are rejected at the level of payment because of wrong processing. The treasurer is said to be faced several incomplete files on his table pending payment. This same people are hoping to see new VC care out some changes at the finance department.

By Akumbom Elvis McCarthy

The Era Newspaper

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