Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has been promoted to the position of Professor of Cybersecurity at the Federal Univerity of Technology Owerri (FUTO) the Imo State capital.
Pantami is among seven Readers (Associate Professors) promoted to Professors by the Governing Council of the institution at its 186th meeting held on Friday, August 20, 2021.
Others promoted from Readers to Professor are Dr Okechukwu Onyelucheya of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Alex I. Opara (Geology), Dr. Conrad Enenebeaku (Chemistry), Dr. Chikwendu Okereke (Geology), Engr. Dr. Lawence Ettu (Civil Engineering) and Dr. Godfrey Emeghara (Maritime Management Technology).
The Council also approved the recommendation of the Academic Staff Appointment and Promotions Committee (Professorial) for the promotion of nine Senior Lecturers to Readers and two Senior University Librarians to Deputy University Librarians.
Pantami, a scholar of information technology, who recently bagged the Security and Emergency Management Award, SAEMA, on Cybersecurity had lectured at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, ATBU, Bauchi, on ICT, before joining the Islamic University of Madinah as Head of Technical Writing in 2014.
He was appointed the Director-General and CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, in 2016, before he was appointed the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy on 21 August 2019.
A senior lecturer at the FUTO said that the university committee is excited to have Mr Pantami as one of its new seven Professors, even though the minister has indicated that he would not receive remuneration because of his current position.
“We gladly welcome this new set of Professors, in our reputable institution. It is even more heartwarming to note that Prof. Pantami has already communicated to the University that he won’t collect salary for now because of his national assignment.
“As you are aware Professorial title on an individual connotes leadership and exceptional contribution at national and international levels in research, scholarship, teaching/mentorship and learning.
“In Nigerian universities, a professorial appointment has been a prerogative of the Senate of the Universities. Because of autonomy, the criteria for the appointment of a professor varies from one university to another.
“A criteria for appointment of a professor is usually a process unless strong evidence indicates some waiver. The professorship is not a theory, but a practical aspect; an expert with the ability to profess his expertise in his field/profession.
“The procedure for appointment and conferment of a professor is annual and include an application by suitably qualified individuals through recruitment or promotion.
“The application is internally assessed by a panel of assessors (mostly professors) usually by the relevant members of a Senate standing committee of Appointment and Promotion (A&PC) of the University.
“Upon the committee’s positive assessment, the University may communicate to the applicant his appointment to the professorial position subject to a positive assessment of External Academic Assessors (usually three, one of which may be a reputable professor in Europe or North America).
“These External Assessors are independent of the applicant and are of professorial standing in a discipline related to the applicant’s core research and academic interest.
“The referees must not have supervised or collaborated with the applicant on any research/scholarly projects as well as must not be related whatsoever to the applicant.
“Therefore, in summary, appointment and promotion to a professorial position is a process and varies from university to university. University Senate is the final approving body for the conferment of professorial title on applicant and has also the power to waive certain criteria to confer the title when they are convinced that the applicant is qualified to have the title,” he said.