Professor Abiodun Onilude, a member of the Senate of the University of Ibadan, has urged the National University Commission and the Ministry of Education not to bring Abuja politics into the selection of new Vice Chancellor.
The former Dean of the Faculty of Science and current Head, Department of Microbiology of the University, stated this in an interview.
Speaking on the crisis that greeted the process leading up to the emergence of the next Vice Chancellor of Nigeria’s premier university, Prof Onilude said there are contention because some people believe that they have influence up there in Abuja and want to use such influence on the selection of the next Vice Chancellor.
“What you discover is that due to their action or inaction, the actual autonomy of the university is being eroded. The power of the Senate to appoint its own member to serve on the selection board is also being eroded by people from the Ministry of Education, that is the Minister of Education himself and the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC).”
“They have no role to play in the appointment of Vice Chancellor. Why are they coming around to annul elections? It has never happened in the University of Ibadan. Let’s see how far the powers will go. But, it will reach a particular point where we will tell them that they don’t have that power.”
On plans to impose a Vice Chancellor on the university, the professor said the Act of the University, 1995 (as amended) cannot allow room for imposition.
“The Act stipulates the procedure for the appointment of a Vice Chancellor. The procedure has not been breached at any point in time. We were at the tail end wherein the selection board will meet and you now come around goaded by some other people within the system who don’t want to agree that somebody will win to say that you don’t want certain person and created anarchy.
“What has any union got to do with the appointment of the Vice Chancellor, whether ASUU, SSANU or NASU?
“It is purely academic and between the Senate and the Governing Council. Unfortunately, I do not know how exactly some unions came around and started disrupting the entire process and the entire university. Note that the Council was able to accede to whatever it is that SSANU and NASU demanded which came out of pure effrontery to the governing board.
“The Council is the overall boss of everyone of us and they should be respected. The council was having its meeting and SSANU, NASU in asking for a stop to the meeting put off electricity, put off air conditioner and lock up council members, under threats. Of course, the Chairman of Council, who is about 80 years, and was just recuperating would not want to die there. So, in order to save your life, you have to agree to their demands, at that moment. Under such stress, anybody will agree to anything.”
He added that the Senate is made up of well over 650 persons, cannot be manipulated by one person.
“You are talking of the best set of professors and academia in Africa.
“The Senate have full and absolute confidence in the Waklek-led Council to deliver, provided Abuja allows him to do his work.
“There is no room for any union to interfere in the election of a Vice Chancellor. How can some people come around to say they don’t want this or that person? What were you looking at when the process commenced?
“We are about to conclude the process and some people came around to say they don’t want particular candidate and that a particular candidate should be included in the shortlist. People should not throw caution to the wind.”