President Muhammadu Buhari has warned against the manipulation of the process of the appointment of a new vice-chancellor at the University of Ibadan.
The president, who stated this on Tuesday during the 72nd foundation day and convocation ceremony of the university, said his administration was worried by the “avalanche of petitions, many bordering on serious allegations of bribery and corruption as well as disrespect for due process, in the course of selecting new vice-chancellors in some of our federal universities.”
Mr. Buhari, whose speech was read on his behalf by the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Abubakar Rasheed, said his administration would not hesitate to dissolve or suspend any council or its leadership found wanting in observing due process.
He said as Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan is expected to live up to its billing by conducting open, transparent fair processes in the appointment of a new vice-chancellor.
“Government is determined to continue to fight corruption at all levels, including in our tertiary institutions. It is not useful to talk of adequate funding of education, if our universities are mired in crisis, confusion, fraud and lack of institutional vision…Government has set in motion several mechanisms to monitor the selection process with a view to taking appropriate measures to ensure that the processes are conducted in open, fair and transparent manner and that all violators are properly sanctioned.
“Government will not hesitate to dissolve or suspend all erring governing councils or university managements found to have fallen short of the standard expected of them as leaders of citadels of learning in our country. Pro-Chancellors, in their dual role as chairpersons of governing councils and chairpersons of the five-person selection committee for the appointment of vice-chancellors, must be prepared to bear full responsibility for the management or mismanagement of the process.”
The Precision NG reports that the crisis in the University of Ibadan is not far from over as the deadline approaches. A new VC should takeover from the outgoing one, Prof Abel Olayinka by December but the coast is not clear as the selection process had been suspended.
The UI JAC had on October 28 disrupted the selection process convened by the council of the institution led by its Chairman, NDE Joshua Waklek. Six aspirants are contesting the coveted seat but the union members believed that the process is being skewed to favor the candidate of the outgoing VC.
One of the issues raised by the JAC against the process was also the inclusion of a staff of the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr Uchena Uba on the list of council members to conduct the selection process. For them Uba should be an observer and not a member of the panel.