The Gaskiya Group (TGG) has been watching with great concern the ugly trend that is emerging in the on-going process of selection of a new vice-chancellor in the University of Ibadan. As stakeholders concerned with sustaining the rising profile of the University, we are afraid of this trend which in theory can be described as that of ‘ordination’ and ‘predestination’: a situation in which a particular candidate has already been ordained and predestined to occupy the office of the Vice- Chancellor, by some cabals in the University, even before the commencement of the race. This tactically wane the support for other candidates and play up the candidacy of the anointed one. This is an affirmation that selection process has been cleverly and technically compromised.
TGG will like to draw the attention of concerned stakeholders in the project Save-UI to the chains of communication flying around social media platforms within the campus which are indicative of the foregoing premonition. One of such messages was a post on WhatsApp platform of Arts Committee of Friends made on 8 September 2020 by Professor Francis Offor, a well-known coordinator of the campaign team of the sitting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adebowale, which reads as follow:
As we are all aware, the process for the election of Senate Representatives to the Selection Board for the Appointment of the Vice-Chancellor has commenced. Having carefully examined all the candidates for this election, it is our enlightened position that the following will serve the best interest of the University:
1. _Prof. Ezekiel Olusola Ayola of the Department of Mathematics and_
2. _Prof. Peter Olamakinde Olapegba of the Department of Psychology._
The detailed Bio-data are here uploaded for our perusal. Please, let us give them our maximum support and votes. Kindly encourage others to also support them with their votes. Thank you and God bless.
In a similar post on the Faculty of Science platform (the faculty of Professor Adebowale, the current DVC Admin and a Vice -Chancellorship contestant), the current Dean of Science, Prof. Ayodele noted as follow:
Good morning. As promised, our two candidates for selection committee are Prof Peter Olamakinde Olapegba & Prof Ezekiel Ayoola. Pls campaign for them separately. And never link them formally with Prof Adebowale. Election is on 21 sept. Thanks. Prof. Ayodele
TGG also noted that upon realizing the threat these posts might pose to their candidacy for the Selection Board, the duo of Professors Ayoola and Olapegba quickly issued separate but similar disclaimers: In an email dated 9 September 2020, Professor Olapegba wrote as follows:
It has come to my notice that some mischief makers are circulating a message linking me with one of the candidates contesting to be Vice Chancellor. THIS DID NOT EMANATE FROM ME. IT IS THE HANDIWORK OF MISCHIEF MAKERS, AND I ALREADY KNOW THE SOURCE. It is unfortunate that academics will descend to this level of desperation. For the benefit of doubt, I am prepared to serve on the Selection Board with objectivity & fairness to all. Once again, I solicit your support and vote. Thank you’.
Similarly, same day, in an e-mail dated 9 September 2020, Professor Ayoola wrote as follow:
Distinguished Colleagues and Members of Senate, I have just received with the great shock, a mischievous post claiming that my aspiration for election as a Senate Rep on the Selection board is being made on behalf of one VC aspirant. This is very far from the truth. Neither am I in alliance with any other candidate contesting to be a Senate Representative on the Selection Board. My loyalty and allegiances are to the University of Ibadan through the University Senate. Only the best among the aspirants is good enough for our University. Please ignore the mischievous post. I am seeking to represent Senate without any underlying motive. I believe each VC aspirant must be given a level playing ground. It is obvious that the mischief makers are ignorant of the working of the Selection Board. The template of scoring for each applicant is well known to me as a former member of Council. I promise that objectivity and open mindedness will be used to access each candidate if I have the opportunity to serve once more on this occasion. Thank you.
What a coincidence? Similar disclaimers, same day, by the two alleged contestants? This is analogous to working from answer to question which in every sense is an anomaly, unacademic, anti-scholarship and should, therefore, be condemned and discountenanced. And this we shall resist in order to protect the image of our great institution.
The above messages speak volume of the intention of the two candidates mentioned in these posts, namely Professors Ayoola and Olapegba if elected as the Senate Representatives on the Joint Council and Senate Selection Board for the Appointment of Vice Chancellor (2020-2025). It shows that they are already biased in favour of a contestant, in whose interest they will function if elected into the selection board. And this is contrary to the norms and ethics guiding election into such position.
These assumed intentions of Professors Ayoola and Olapegba become more worrisome considering that their names are being associated with a particular Vice-Chancellorship contestant and with several of his campaign teams. We also heard that Prof Ayoola has been tipped to serve as MD of a new company being floated by the outgoing administration in UI. He is therefore morally burdened to pay back this seeming kindness to whoever is the anointed candidate of his benefactors. Both Professors Olapegba and Ayoola should therefore honourably pull out of the contest for Senate Representatives on the Joint Council and Senate Selection Board so as to retain the integrity of the process.
We in TGG wish to draw attention of the people to a public document by one of the contestants, a respected Professor with impeachable and disciplined academic records on the corruption of the system through open adoption of one of the candidates contesting to be VC and attempt to compromise the whole process. He lamented that ‘It is the University tradition across the globe to reward merit. It should not be seen, or given them as a favour! That is the beauty of the great university tradition that many of us are oblivious of, but which we must bring back.
The contestant, one of those who believed in the culture and independence of the system, further opined that, there is nothing wrong for a sitting VC to desire that one of his DVCs becomes the next VC either. It is almost natural, and nothing offending about it. But it is evil, unacceptable, and a condemnable act of disciplinary magnitude, for an individual, or a group of people to not stop at campaigning for a candidate but, in addition, plan to strategically position themselves within the processing architecture for the purpose of manipulating the appointment process in favour of a given preferred candidate. He went further to appeal that the governing council of the university should see it as a disciplinary issue which must be investigated. This is against the backdrop of the recent claim by the outgoing VC that he had no anointed candidate.
TGG hereby call on all stakeholders in the project of taking this great University to a higher level where it can compete favourably globally, to rise and condemn this obnoxious trend. We 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. Time is now to safe the university from avoidable crisis of integrity and confidence. Let’s avoid an implosion.
Long Live the University of Ibadan!
Comrade Bala Ayodele
The Gaskiya Group (TGG)