TOR TIV STOOL: James Ayatse - The Untold Story of An Achiever [MUST READ]

By Akosu Emmanuel Lubem

Often times the character content of uncommon achievers are gauged chiefly on

selflessness, impact on fellow man, uncommon participation towards building

and uplifting the spheres of not just their immediate communities but the world

around them;
most times leaving it better than was ever imagined. Such rare

individuals at several instances were acknowledged to have expressed deeper

convictions, sole concerns and rare sacrifices for the benefit of mankind than

merely seek to promote inner penchants for self induced attainments. These

uncommon individuals equally view public positions or engagements as

opportunities to be best utilized for the ultimate good of humanity than cheaply

driven to personal aggrandizement, self acquisition, class promotion,

exclusivism, and other related pecuniary desires.

This is indeed true of James Ayatse, Professor of Bio- Chemistry, veteran

academic and beyond doubt a purist, braced in deeper rewarding societal

values, forthrightness and in spirit of humanism. A seasoned teacher per

excellence, scientist and researcher of no little reckoning; indeed a meticulous

manager of men and resources cultured in best global competitive standing

amidst contemporaries in the act of managing the university system across

board. He has over the years served at various times across board, first as a

Vice Chancellor of two separate Federal Universities and in both instances

brought to bear his professional mettle, endearing legacies and excellent public

conduct to bare on the system with attendant results of excellence and

remarkable successes, leaving enduring feats far too wide to be matched. With


an almost untainted tract record of service and delivery demonstrated by this

rare academic czar over the years, particularly within the education bulwarks of

the Nigeria and the continent.

Ayatse undoubtedly stands out today as a bride to both the young, and old and

undisputably a model to most aspiring and established managers of institutions

of higher learning who daily strive for excellence.

In 2011, the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in realization of

Professor James Ayatse’s consummate successes in similarly administering a

Federal University in Nigeria - The University of Agriculture , Makurdi and in

view of other obvious potent factors, would find in this celebrated academic

the required qualities and worthiness to be appointed as the pioneer Vice

Chancellor in one of the then newly formed Federal Universities- in this case

the Federal University, Dutsin – Ma, Katsina State. With virtually a near-non

existent of structural developments and absence of both academic and non

academic personnel to adequately kick off its full programmes and progress,

Ayatse would not fret at the apparent glare of challenges but rather

courageously muscled out his uncommon leadership prowess and dexterity to

approach the inherent challenges typical of a fresh university. He performed

exceptionally above board to entrench a facelift on the newly formed Federal

University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State. In a couple of years he began to unveil

his managerial kits to effectively chart and later produce an academic citadel

that today stands out as the pride of the nation’s learning systems whilst

competing on the continental rating.


Ayatse as the pioneer Vice Chancellor university had release the required tools,

visions and and arsenals to address the challenges of a virgin institution of this

nature. At his breast chest he had desired to first and foremost lay a formidable

foundation of a world class university system that would be technologically

driven as well as promote and ensure excellence that thrives mainly on the

principles of equity, justice, and fairness. At the close of his enviable tenure,

many, including critics would come to terms and realistically justify Ayatse’s

earlier position and vision for the institution as it pointedly became glare that

indeed these objectives were not just roundly and squarely met but surpassed

their imagination too.

It became quite remarkable also that out of the nine universities established

across the geo- political zones, the University of Dutsin- Ma became the first to

graduate students. It ranked as number one among the new universities. In fact

the world ranking of universities placed it among 14 th best universities in

Nigeria. Within a relative short span of time, the university expanded its

tentacles to cover wider and demanding fields in Social Sciences, Sciences, Arts

and Humanities, Education and Agriculture. It equally arrived at the threshold

to breaking newer grounds when it introduced Engineering and Technology

programmes. While this profound admnistrator lasted at the helm of affairs,

virtually all programmes received NUC accreditation. The Law Faculty,

Environmental Sciences and Medicine were in the offing ready to fully take off.

A feat he had earlier attained as Vice Chancellor , University of Agriculture

from 2002-2007.

From the Professorial cadre to Senior lecturers, down to assistant lectures, the

academic cream under Ayatse strived to attract the best manpower possible to


superintend over its programmes of study even though it was apparently

difficult to attract employees especially Senior- cadre employees given seeming

dearth in staff housing, university staff school, and other related factors.

In the Vice Chancellor’s recruitment agenda, he practically kept close to his

words by imbibing his cherished principles of fairness, justice and equity. 56 %

of staff recruited were from the North- West geopolitical zone , with Katsina the

host State accounting for 45.5%. In achieving this, he was never unmindful of

the comparative advantage his home state would gain from the exercise

particularly his kinsmen- the TIVs As such about 12% of such successful

employees came from Benue state. It can be argued that there is nothing wrong

in identifying with ones kinsmen; his closer ties and roots. It simply means that

a man identifies first with his birth place as a point of concern and love for his

people. Ayatse held this thoughts closely and ensured that a good number of

well qualified Benue –indigent personnel had their fair share in the recruitment,

despite other overbearing interests, especially the Dutsin – Ma Community.

Inspite of his well intended, genuinely induced, and concerted efforts made by

this forthright Professor and administrator to ensure a fair and open process,

several petitions bothering on bias in the recruitment process were levelled

against him, but with the needed courage , bravely, confidence and the openness

of the entire recruitment process, he never deterred. He was invited by the

National Assembly to answer on allegations of recruitment biases in favor of his

TIV kinsmen and on confronting the Senate Committee with the needed

statistics adopted during the recruitment exercise, Ayatse was completely

exonerated as the committee became satisfied and gave the exercise a clean bill

of health, alluding that the process was not just transparent, competitive and


open, but equally met best practices with a high consideration for federal

character spread.

Many of Ayatse’s critics, some disgruntled lawyers from Katsina inclusive who

had earlier taken the latter to court would later bow to reason and agree that

indeed the Vice Chancellor meant well for the university and the overall

Katsina community in all intent and purposes.

Professor James Ayatse who first appeared on the political scene in 2007 to fly

his aspiration as Senator representing Benue – North East Senatorial District

would virtually receive aggressive backing, wider acceptability and a roared

support base from the people. The reason for this was not farfetched. Ayatse

had shown in the past, and at every capacity of public service engagement that

he was equal and above his given responsibilities which were mainly driven by

genuine service and good for mankind. Many Benue indigenes would not forget

in a hurry his treasured and benign acts of giving the proverbial net for people

to fish than merely offering fish to them. As the Vice Chancellor of the

University of Agriculture, Makurdi, he left no one in doubt as to his undaunted

resolve to bring about overall turnaround of the university. The university had

the better lot for his profound policies as infrastructure and academic excellence

became household features and boosted significantly while the institution kept

advancing on its academic and managerial expansion drive, whilst creating

massive employment for many Benue indigenes particularly the TIV people

who handled most of the academic, managerial, infrastructural expansion policy

of the university.


To many, it was little wonder that Ayatse would be find worthy of appointment

again at the new Federal University in Katsina-State. The appointment received

wide accolades from all and sundry particularly the academia who saw to it that

it was indeed merited and well deserved. Its significance and essence was

marked when his tenure successfully ended in February, 2016, after 5 years in

the saddle.

In his usual spirit of humanism and altruism , Ayatse had over the years fought

for and ensured that the people, particularly his kinsmen stand supreme in his

selfless quest to liberate, empower and make the people take up viable places in

the society for their survival and sustenance. It is equally refreshing to note that

in all his public service undertaking Prof James Ayatse had kept an impeccable

tract record with no element of corruption beneath. He typically fights for the

people, stands with them with a sole zeal to make them take up befitting

positions in both public and private undertakings thus earning him the

appellation as the grandeur to human capital development and builder for

societal growth.


Public Affairs Analyst

Wrote from Adikpo, Kwande, Benue State Text: 07038578549

No comments

Powered by Blogger.