It is with a heavy heart, but with total rejection of the will of some destiny hijackers that I write this letter to you sir, fittingly so because whatever/whoever it is that has put a blockade on the path of my and thousand others’ socioeconomic advancement is within your ministry. I therefore write this in confidence that you can and will come to the rescue.
By way of introduction, I am Choji David Chuwang, a supposed graduate of English education of the Federal College of Education, Pankshin (FCEP) in affiliation with the University of Jos, Jos. I say supposed because I too have begun to contemplate along with my detractors, “Did I really graduate?”
I will be quick to state the problem sir. My graduation year was supposed to be in the year 2016. For reasons the college management will be in a better position to explain, graduation did not come until May, 2017. And up until now, I am yet to receive neither my testimonial, nor my certificate, not to mention mobilization for the compulsory national youth service. Worst still, if history is anything to go by, the present situation is set to continue until next year or even beyond. It is so because since the first set of B. Ed graduates emerged from the college in 2012, no set has had its certificate and/or NYSC mobilization come in less than a two year period of wait after graduation. No wonder today, April, 2018, the latest set of graduates from the college serving is set 2014. It is an ugly situation indeed!
I have often wondered how I am able to keep sane in spite of the traumatizing mess. Life during and after FCEP have been trying to say the least. One has and continues to suffer a great deal of social and occupational embarrassment for no fault other than being a student of FCEP. The management on the other hand has all but continued to play the game of politics with the whole situation as if that is what it is, going on air to lie and make the situation seem less grievous than it really is. They forget that the problems bedeviling the college are literally too numerous to mention.
However, notable amongst these problems is the fact that from the 2012/2013 session to date, there has not been a single session that went without at least a strike. These strikes, apart from the one in 2013/2014, are all internal and have as their remote causes, gross mismanagement from successive leaderships of the college. This problem alone has given rise to a plethora of other problems on campus.
Closely following the problem of strikes is the issue of whether or not the college remits the affiliation fee it is duty bound to remit to the University of Jos. We have been told repeatedly that the reason why the University of Jos is persistently hesitant in attending to issues of certification and mobilization of graduates of FCEP is squarely rest on the fact that the college management does not make this remittance as and at when due. One is then left to wonder what the college does with the affiliation levies it collects from students. Worst still, even the stipends that is the due of lecturers taking undergraduate courses— those kind lecturers— is not paid most of the time, which too has caused a couple of strikes.
Furthermore, sometimes in 2016, in an obvious effort to raise funds, the college management called on all of its students, past and present, to pay the sum of N5000 for JAMB Regularization. Because of the sense of urgency they attached to this, students streamed in from nook and crannies to make this payment. Later, like the price of oil in the market, the student union government of the time which I was a part of beat down the price to N3000. Students in their thousands complied. Later, only a negligible number of students was regularized. The rest of us have been told, in unclear terms though, to get ourselves regularized directly with JAMB, of course bearing the full cost. No mention was made of a refund of the N5000/N3000 we paid earlier to that effect. Perhaps that snake swallowed more than 36M?
Yet again, there is the issue of convocation. One of the joys of graduation, especially a laborious one as what obtains in FCEP, is the ceremony of convocation. But alas! B. Ed graduates of FCEP may have to await that joy in heaven. In 2016 the graduates were called to be part of the first convocation ceremony in the college for over 10 years. They came. But their long journey to Pankshin yielded nothing but embarrassment and proved a waste of time and resources. The college management was ordered to not conduct the convocation for these graduates since it was not a degree awarding institution of itself. So why is the University of Jos not conducting the convocation ceremony for these students whose affiliation levies it was collecting?
I could go on and on sir. I mean these problems are so much that I have genuine fear for our emotional and mental health. Our dreams and aspirations as young people are being replaced by God-knows-what. Destinies are literally being put on hold as the clock ticks. Daily, graduates of the college are being embarrassed here and there. It was told how one of us (set 2016), was shouted out of a job interview. The interviewers couldn’t understand how a supposed 2016 graduate will present a letter of attestation in 2018. They thought that if it took two years after graduation to produce an attestation letter, surely it will take eternity to produce the certificate. If the pain and suffering we are subjected to is not witchcraft, I don’t know what is.
I have thus come to wonder, is right still right, and wrong wrong? Right and wrong have lost that age-long opposition it seems. What else could one make of the continued drowning of consciences? The selection is now class-bound so that what concerns the strong is now a choice between right and rite. Wrong and rung describes the goings-on among the weak as their very nature ensures that nothing can be right about them.
I regret terribly that I have to write you so long a letter sir, especially that you are likely being faced with more pressing issues. Still, since protest against this grave injustice is all that we can do, do take this as such, and as an invitation to come wrong the rites and right the wrongs in our darling FCEP. I and thousands of others will forever remain in your debt.
Choji, David Chuwang
Fed. Col. of Edu., Pankshin.