By Kareem Shamusudeen
The claims that the process of appointing the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan is marred with irregularities are fast gaining ground. Different groups and infact some members of the University community have disclosed that there are displeasing movements to favour and force a candidate, among others as the next vice chancellor.
Professors Ademola Dasylva and Adesoji Fasanmade, in their petitions, alleged that the election into the Selection Board for the Appointment of the Vice-Chancellor was fraught with irregularities and was not transparent. However these claims were debunked by Professor M.K. Akinsola who was also a contestant in the election.
In a letter written to the Pro-Chancellor of the University and signed by its Secretary, A.R Omisore and its Chairman, S.A Akinremi Esq., the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, University of Ibadan chapter, (SSANU UI) lamented that “corruption, intellectual thievery, maladministration, compensatory appointments hitherto alien to the ivory tower are now the order of the day,” as regards the appointment of the next Vice-Chancellor. It said these vices and many more have been reported but no meaningful efforts have been taken to curb the menace.
The group appealed that the Pro-Chancellor listen “to the audible cry and concern of a people who had suffered from that bad rulership and serfdom of an outgoing administration,” as the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor is a global agenda that requires utmost rectitude, sincerity of purpose, transparency and due diligence.
It further said the absence of fairness in the appointment process is “a complete travesty and sham, stage-managed and predetermined to foist the older order on the entire University Community.”
“A lot of chicanery, ethnic prejudices, sectarianism etc have taken the centre stage in the process.”
The group also said it is a common knowledge that the current vice-chancellor, Professor Idowu Olayinka strongly supports a candidate which is within his rights, but it would be expected he maintain honourable distance from the process.
However, in a recent interview with the Guardian Newspaper, the Vice-Chancellor made it known that tribal, religious war will not be a factor in the appointment of the next Vice-Chancellor.
The group added that if the despicable irregularities and manipulations are waved on and met with silence, “the years ahead are definitely foredoomed unless a miracle happens.”
Faulting the use of electronic voting in the last Congregation election, the group said it is a “tool used to achieve personal agendas and aggrandizement,” clamouring for the urgent need for a bailout to forestall unpalatable backwardness.
The group believes that overhauling the whole process, the independent handling of the process, away from the current gladiators will bring an acceptable result.
“We cannot afford to have a replay of what happened in Obafemi Awolowo University and University of Lagos in the University of Ibadan,” it added.
Similarly, in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Comrade Bala Ayodele, The Gaskiya Group (TGG) accused the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Olayinka of making efforts to impose the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Kayode Adebowale as his successor according to its Intelligence.
The group said it had earlier revealed that there are plans to ensure the election of Prof. Ezekiel Olusola Ayoola of Mathematics Department and Prof. Peter Olamakinde Olapegba of Psychology Department in the Selection Board “so as to ensure or force the candidacy of the current Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Kayode Adebowale on the University community.”
“Noting that this unfortunate arrangement would affect the integrity of the process, as well as rob the other contestants of their right to fairness and level playing ground, we also called on Professors Ayoola and Olapegba to pull out of the contest because they had become tainted and could not be fair or objective if they won. We concluded by calling on the University Council, the Federal Government and the general public to take technical note of this dangerous politics that might plunge the university into an unprecedented calamity.”
Explaining the role of Prof Olayinka, the group said: “Our checks showed that the campaign team of Professor Adebowale met regularly with Professors Ayoola and Olapegba in two locations, one of which was the official residence of the current Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka. To be precise, Prof Idowu Olayinka used the facilities of the Vice Chancellor’s Lodge to hold Adebowale’s campaign meetings on August 24 and 25, 2020. We are therefore not surprised by the outcome of the election, because we knew from the onset that Professors Ayoola and Olapegba were going to be aided and declared winners by electronic fraud. Our early warning sign was either ignored nor (sic) attacked.”
It further stated that Prof Olayinka has portrayed his inability to serve as an impartial umpire as he has shown support for the DVC Admin, Prof Adebowale, “coupled with his boast in private and public functions to install” the latter as his sucessor.
The group said it “will release the manifest evidence of other notable desperate actions of the outgoing Vice Chancellor to install his stooge.”
“We, therefore, wish to repeat our earlier call on the University Council, the Federal Government and the general public to take technical note of this dangerous politics that may plunge the university into an unprecedented calamity.
“TGG hereby requests an immediate constitution of a panel of enquiry to investigate the damning allegations raised in the petitions of Professors Dasylva and Fasanmade to safeguard the integrity of the selection process. We hold that every autocratic act must be challenged; due process must be followed; the will of the representative majority of UI Senate must prevail.”