Enemies of progress: The lies

Enemies of progress:  The lies

Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shall not escape calumny – William Shakespeare

Between March 14 and 16, 2017, a national newspaper newspaper regaled its audience with a barrage of outright lies and disingenuous distortions aimed at impugning the University of Ilorin along with its past and present leaders.  Knowing that the average newspaper reader would not subject their spin to critical scrutiny, the sponsors of the badly woven cobweb of lies decided to throw a sticky mud at the bright sun of the University – a wasted effort.

By the way, a spin in public relations and politics “is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion (in favour or) against some organisation or public figure”. By targeting the University in this post-truth era, a period “when objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion” (www.mahfouzadedimeji.com/2016/11/29/the-post-truth-era/), the enemies of progress believed they would succeed in painting the University black and achieve their sinister objectives. The futility of their efforts is stark in their perennial mourning mode, evident again by some recent developments that startle some so-called “stakeholders”.

From the perspective of a perceptive observer, it is easy to burst the bubble of the scurrility that the author of the three-part verbiage made against the better by far University. I take some of the major issues highlighted one after the other, according to their sequence in the nine-page spin.

One, after acknowledging that the former Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, “stepped down in a rare blaze of glory without sustaining a bruise”, the reporter was not comfortable with his being hailed, by his own admission, “far and wide as a rare gem”, he therefore lied against him by accusing him of illegally acquiring vehicles as well as receiving illegal emoluments. Though the writer acknowledged a valid document directing that a former Vice-Chancellor be paid the same earnings received by a Vice Chancellor, he sought to dismiss it. Besides, relying on the theory that the more stupid a lie is, the more likely is its believability by the stupid, the hagiographer accused Prof. Oloyede of collecting double salary from the Federal Government, a wicked lie and sheer bunkum.

Then, shifting his attention to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdul Ganiyu Ambali, the hatchet jobber could not deny that he is “a celebrated veterinary Professor of several years’ standing”, yet he still made wild allegations. Even when it is clear that no impropriety was found against the University under the Vice-Chancellor, he sought to discredit the external auditors in search of who to blame. Their crime is that they found no discrepancy in the financial records of the University.

There are several reports that Prof. Ambali was not humiliated at the National Assembly on February 4, 2016, contrary to the insinuation. Even, the Vice-Chancellor’s denial of that isolated spin from the familiar quarters has not been controverted till date. In an apparent case of self-indictment, the rubble rouser confessed that a federal lawmaker he wanted to bait to twist what happened that day eventually “turned his back on this reporter, refusing to answer or return his calls henceforth.”

While Prof. Abdullateef Usman defended himself in the report as the University had determined the case concerning him according to the recommendations of the Committee set up on it, investigations actually revealed that Prof. Abdul Rafii Omotoso was not promoted by the University of Ilorin. Contrary to the dummy that the newspaper wanted the world to believe, the 1984 PhD graduate of the University of Edinburgh was promoted to the rank of Professor by the University of Jos from where he transferred his services to the University.

Then, records are there to prove the allegation that Mr Ibrahim Ambali is on absence without leave is another lie. The actual fact is that he is on leave of absence and he is not collecting salary from the University of Ilorin. While the Dean of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Prof. Sulaiman Ambali, is not a brother of the Vice-Chancellor, the truth is that he was not promoted by the Vice-Chancellor and no one has even become a Professor in that Faculty since the beginning of this Administration. Facts are sacred.

On a related case, the submission of the Vice-Chancellor in this regard puts the issue in perspective: “My wife commenced her career at the University of Maiduguri as a Lecturer II Officer in 2006 and was promoted Lecturer I in 2009.” The question of whether a 2009 Lecturer I is qualified to become a Senior Lecturer in 2016 or not is left to the discerning members of the academia.

Virtually all the spurious allegations against the University hold no water. They are purposely driven by the desire to disrupt the peaceful and harmonious life on campus on the one hand and to struggle for the soul of the University on the other. The important thing is that the University keeps soaring to higher heights while its enemies keep on wondering with their mouths and eyes wide open.