UI VC SELECTION, TENSION, CONTROVERSIES DOG PROCESS AS ACCUSATIONS AND COUNTER-ACCUSATIONS FLY

Governing Council members walk out of meeting

By Adeola Badru

The University of Ibadan, the oldest in the country, may end up without a substantive Vice-Chancellor being appointed when the tenure of the incumbent, Prof. Idowu Olayinka expires next Monday, findings by Vanguard have revealed.

This is because attempts to choose a new VC took a blow on Wednesday, as four members of the Governing Council of the university walked out at the meeting which was part of the selection process.

The meeting, which was still ongoing as of press time, held under tight security as tension enveloped the campus.

The members, who walked out were the two external members appointed by the Federal Government, Dr. Jaju Muhammad, and Professor Mande Samaila, and two internal members of the Council, Professors Ademola Aremu and Abel Olorunnisola.

They walked out after about five and a half hours when the meeting had commenced.

Investigations, however, revealed that the members walked out after efforts to ensure that the Council maintained absolute control and act according to the letter from the Federal Government through the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Federal Ministry of Education which asked the Council to review the entire process including re-inviting the shortlisted 18 candidates for the VC position, were not yielded to by other Council members.

A reliable source in the Council informed our correspondent that the management of the University, under Professor Idowu Olayinka has “been gagging the Council. Those who staged the walk-out were protesting undue interference of the management in the affairs of the Governing Council.

According to the source: “The reputation of the university Governing Council is being impugned upon by the fact that the Ministry of Education had to intervene in an affair that the Council ought to have handled.”

Vanguard gathered that the Council was discussing the validity of the election being conducted on Wednesday by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor despite the instruction by the Federal Ministry of Education that the Council should take charge.

“You see those who staged the walkout were asking for the letter from Federal Ministry of Education and NUC. They were saying the Senate was wrong to have hurriedly met and ordered election within 24hours.

“They were worried that the election did not follow due process. In fact, the election is already generating a fresh crisis as many contestants pulled out of the election citing violation of FG’s directive and illegal process as reasons.

“They felt that the Federal Ministry of Education instructed the Council to review it and not the Senate. In fact, the letter from the Federal Ministry of Education was not even presented for discussion at the Council meeting until they raised issues on the validity of the election being held on campus.”

Rather than allow the Council to act on petitions relating to the election, the Vice-Chancellor was alleged to have only briefed the Council Chairman who was said to have a health challenge at the time.

“The fundamental allegations levelled against the candidates have not been independently verified and a thorough investigation conducted. The petition was addressed to the Council and not the Senate. They left when it was obvious that due process will not be followed. I think they don’t want to be used to endorse illegality.”

Investigations revealed that efforts are being made to hurriedly conclude the process and announce the anointed candidate of the outgoing VC, whose tenure expires on November 30 in defiance to a directive from the Federal Ministry of Education.

However, in order to maintain law and order, security agents including soldiers, officers of the Department of State Services were drafted to the university due to the controversy generated by the selection process.

As of the time of filing this report the results of the election are being counted at the Senate meeting of the University.

Available information on the University of Ibadan website however showed that no fewer than four acting Vice-Chancellors had been appointed in the past as an internal mechanism put in place to fill the vacuum in the position of Vice-Chancellor.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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