The National Universities Commission (NUC), last Friday 24th June, 2022, hosted the much-awaited 2021 Long Service Award its for staff, who had dedicated themselves to the services of the Commission in the past 15 years, 25 and 35 years.
A total of 11 staff were covered in the above categories. Those in the 15 years (2006-2021) category were Mr. Obinna Wachuku, Mrs. Olurunfemi Oluwatoyin Jane, Mr. Omolanwa Morakinyo, Mr. Akinlabi Akinola Oniyide, Miss Inyama Ulonna Odochi, Mrs. Opara- Emeka Gloria Chimeechefulam.
In the 25 years (1996-2021) were Mr. Yahaya Saidu Kamal, Mrs Okorie Virginia N, Mr. Tyolumun Abi and Mr. Isah Adamu, while in the 35 years category (1986-2021) is Mr. Baffa Sani Alhaji.
In his speech at the brief ceremony, the Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary (DES), Mr. Chris Maiyaki, noted that the Commission had gathered in line with its tradition to congratulate its staff who had been found worthy and who had also put in their best, not only to it but to the entire Nigerian University System (NUS).
He congratulated the staff for holding forth in the system at a time when some of their colleagues had gone for greener pastures elsewhere. He noted that Executive Secretary NUC had been so concerned about the career progression of the staff and had exemplified it with ensuring that staff who had distinguished themselves creditably moves up on the ladder in the workplace.
He noted that the Management team were so proud of this crop of staff who had sustained the traditions for which NUC stood for and expressed confidence that by the time the current leadership would be exiting the system in the next couple of years, there was renewed hope that officers of the Commission would hold forth on the legacies which it had been known for.
He particularly poured encomiums on the NUC Management team for sustaining the annual ritual of honouring staff who, had done their best and remained loyal to the course of the Commission. He also singled out Alhaji Baffa Sani, who had put in 35 years of service and on his way out, explaining that having worked this long he must have fond memories of friends and colleagues he met in the course of his work in the system.
He thanked God for his abiding love, mercy and grace upon all staff and for the awardees in particular, praying that God would continue to keep them strong in their endeavours to the Commission.
Earlier in his remarks, the host and Director, Human Resources (DHR), Mr. Boniface Odum said that NUC decided to roll out the drum to honour staff who, had shown commitment and loyalty to the Commission. He disclosed that NUC was supposed to have held the event sometime last year, but due to the Covid-19 protocol, kept shifting the date, but expressed joy that it was holding at such an auspicious moment.
He explained that the reward usually takes place in accordance with the Commission’s extant rules as contained in the Staff Handbook for the various categories, noting that despite the economic situation in the country NUC had continued to live up to its billings. He said the award was a symbol of handwork, loyalty and dedication to service which was instituted to appreciate the efforts of the staff to the growth of the Commission and the Nigerian universities in general.
Mr. Odum said that for those in the 15 years, they were to receive N150, 000 each, while 25 years get N250, 000 and 35 years smiles home with N350, 000. He charged staff to remain resolute, committed and dedicated as it remained one of the hallmarks for which NUC is well-known in its job of managing university education in Nigeria.
As fate would have it, the revered Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev Fr. Mathew Hassan Kukah, was on hand to witness the ceremony.
Speaking on behalf of Nigerians, the Catholic Bishop congratulated the staff for the work they have been doing in regulating the Nigerian University education and for sustaining the legacies of effective management of the system. He thanked the awardees for their commitment towards upholding the learning environment in the country, which had energised the Commission to recognise them at such a time like this.
He admonished all staff to understand that Nigeria had become so hazardous to live in and work, noting that the staff should be grateful to God to have a job they are doing as it was difficult to get one today. He acknowledged that the workplace environment is a good place to make friends since one spends greater part of his or her days in the environment.
He reminded the NUC management to continue to put in mechanism to ensure that those who retire from the system do so happily.
The ceremony witnessed the citation of all the awardees and presentation of commemorative plaques to them which took great cognisance of their dedication and service to the NUC.
The presentation of the plaque to the awardees was done by the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Prof,. Kabiru Bala, who was assisted by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr. Maiyaki and the Director, Human Resources (DHR), Mr. Boniface Odum.
In a Vote of thanks on behalf of other awardees, Deputy Director, Research and Innovations, Mr. Obinna Wachuku expressed gratitude to the Almighty God and to the NUC Management for sustaining the ceremony even in the midst of economic meltdown. He also thanked the staff for supporting them and encouraged all to give their best to the service of the Commission as their day would certainly come.
Bishop Kukah was accompanied to the event by the Catholic Bishop of Yola, Bishop Stephen Hamza.
At the ceremony were the NUC Directors of: Finance and Accounts (DFA), Mr. Sam Onazi; Executive Secretary’s Office (DESO), Mr. John Mairafi Ahmadu; Students (DoS), Mr. Sunday Bassey Essien as well as the Acting Director of Research, Innovations, Information and Technology (DRIIT), Mal Faruk Lawan.