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While coming out from a bout of malaria with nothing to do, I took a voyage into the cyberspace just to keep myself from the boredom of inactivity only to stumble on a petition (?) written to the Registrar/ Chief Executive Officer of the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies.

The petitioner (?) a certain Muhammadu Sani Jada, alleged that a graduate of a school – The Atiku Abubakar Centre for Arabic and Islamic Studies was withdrawn from the Modibbo Adama University, Yola after being admitted into the school to read Animal Science and Range Management. The ‘O’ levels results used by the candidate was administered by the NBAIS, which as the name suggests conducts and regulates exams in Arabic and Islamic studies. Reading through the petition (?), I had the distinct feeling that the petitioner (?) was just shopping for a platform to escalate a personal grudge into an institutional one. Very pathetic.

The petition (?) is short on substance but long on innuendos. It is clear going through the petition (?) that the intent is not to right a wrong but to injure the image of the Vice Chancellor and by extension the institution he heads. The petition (?) was copied to the Minister of Education, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Atiku Abubakar, the Gangwari Ganye, his Highness Alhaji Umar Adamu Sanda, Alhaji Sadiq Mohammed, the Wali Ganye, the Vice Chancellor, Modibbo Adama University, Yola and the Registrar of the school. Phew! An impressive list, I must admit. The list exposes the tilt of the petition – more for its nuisance value than any academic value. Most of the people copied have nothing to do with the matter at hand but it is perfectly in character for the author to bring them in the loop in trying to sell himself to his patrons as one who is concerned about the educational advancement of their wards while a stubborn Vice Chancellor from the same patch of the woods is proving to be a hurdle to his lofty, altruistic efforts.

The petition (?) raised my curiosity about NBAIS and its statutory mandate, particularly with regards to who are qualified to write their examinations and what courses one can apply for using the results of the exams. With time on my hands, I visited the web site of the organisation and was able to learn a lot. One of the things I learnt was that if the petitioner (?) had made time to educate himself just by going through the organisation’s FAQs page, he wouldn’t have messed himself up by writing to the NBAIS CEO. The courses that their exams could be used to apply for and the schools that admit their products are clearly stated on the site of NBAIS and there is neither Animal Science as a course on the list nor Modibbo Adama University among the institutions listed. Unless the petitioner is mistaking Animal Science for Arabic Science.

Whenever I see such petitions (?) I become suspicious of the motives particularly where the petitioner has unfettered access to the one he is complaining against. And in this case, I know there is such a relationship between the author of the petition (?) and the Vice Chancellor of Modibbo Adama University. In the about four pages of his disjointed, incoherent treatise to the NBAIS CEO, nowhere did he mention any effort made to reach out to the school authorities formally or the Vice Chancellor informally. I did not see any effort to exhaust all avenues and request for an explanation from the school as to why their product was withdrawn from the school. All I see is a barely veiled bitterness by a person who has an over-estimation of his self-worth trying to sell another person short, which is his trademark overtime.

Students’ withdrawal by school authorities has been a part of our educational system just like admissions has been part of the system since time. This I expect the petitioner to know as a school administrator and a retired Chief Lecturer with the Federal College of Education, Yola. National examination bodies and their core mandates are also clearly spelt out for those who want to know and I also expect the petitioner to know as a school administrator unless mischief is the underlying motive for his petition (?). NBAIS unequivocally stated on their web site that their exams are to prepare students who wish to pursue further education in Shari’a Law, Islamic and Arabic studies and not in Animal Science and Range Management. The organisation also listed the schools that accept their products and Modibbo Adamawa University is not one of the schools. If the petitioner (?) has done his homework, he wouldn’t have set himself up for ridicule – because that is what he did. It is patently clear that mischief is the motive.

Much as I try to make sense of what he is after, I couldn’t fathom what he wants to achieve – is it to sanction the University or the Vice Chancellor? The NBAIS doesn’t have the power to do both. To embarrass the Vice Chancellor? May be. Has he achieved his aim? Surely not. He only succeeded in exposing so many things about who he is. A bitter, vengeful, narcissistic, egoistic wannabe. Someone who couldn’t live with the success of others. The letter to the NBAIS CEO contains no substance, which instead exposes the intellectual deficiency of the author and a personal animosity towards the Vice Chancellor rather than the system. I will advise the author of the petition (?) to have the courage of his conviction to take up the Vice Chancellor head-on on any issue he might have with him instead of trying to portray our educational institutions just like the ones in Cotonou. Or even better, seek the office of the Vice Chancellor of Modibbo Adama University and offer admission to products of Atiku Abubakar Centre for Arabic and Islamic Studies. I am sure most of the products of this Centre are in the American University, Yola reading courses such as engineering and entrepreneurship studies.

I know it is not easy for someone used to the limelight by perpetually being an appendage to politicians and suddenly find oneself on the fringes – it takes a lot of courage and will power to adjust – but I will strongly advise Muhammadu Sani Jada to accept reality and face his new vocation – a school administrator in Ganye.

Accepting our fate is sine quo non to a peaceful life.

Murtala Mohammed Abubakar
Arewa Defence League