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One year after suspension of process, Nigerian university to appoint substantive VC today

Almost a year after the selection process for the appointment of the 13th substantive vice-chancellor at the University of Ibadan was halted, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively confirm that a new vice-chancellor is set to emerge Thursday (today).

Highly placed sources , who confided in the newspaper, but who do not want to be named in print, confirmed that the eight candidates who scaled through the hurdles of the first screening are billed for another round of interview Thursday by the five-member joint senate and council selection board of the university.

Earlier in 2020, about 18 aspirants had declared interest to take over from the then 12th substantive vice-chancellor, Idowu Olayinka, but the process was allegedly marred with irregularities, leading to its suspension by the education minister, Adamu Adamu.

Various interest groups including indigenous men and women of Ibadan land, the host community, religious communities and gender groups have insisted they should be allowed to produce the next university’s vice-chancellor for what they described as reasons of balancing and fairness.

The various workers’ unions also protested against the processes with the Joint Action Committee comprising the non-academic unions staging peaceful protests on the campus.

The then chairman of the university’s governing council, Joshua Waklek, was accused of bias and that the then outgoing vice-chancellor was the one reportedly pulling the strings.

The inconclusive process led to the appointment of Adebola Ekanola, a professor of Philosophy, as an acting vice-chancellor by the university’s senate in November, 2020.

New race begins

Following the appointment of a new governing council led by a former chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Odigie Oyegun, a new process of appointing a substantive vice-chancellor soon commenced.

Meanwhile, the acting vice-chancellor, who did not participate in the process in 2020, apparently because his professorship was less than the mandatory 10 years as required by the conditions for application process, has, however, shown interest having met the requirement.

Mr Ekanola’s appointment as a professor in 2011 was said to have clocked 10 years earlier in the year, prompting him to declare interest in becoming a substantive VC.

Meanwhile, apart from Mr Ekanola, 15 other dons showed interest and applied.

The applicants, all professors, include, Kayode Adebowale of the Department of Chemistry, Aderemi Raji-Oyelade of the Department of English; Adeyinka Aderinto of the Department of Sociology; Emiola Olapade-Olaopa of the College of Medicine, and Temitope Alonge of the University College Hospital (UCH).


Others are George Ademowo of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutic Medicine; Kolawole Olaniran of the Department of Teacher Education; Ganiyu Aderounmu, Ebenezer Farombi of Biochemistry, Hakeem Faweyinmi of the University of Port Harcourt, Rasaq Kalilu of the department of Fine and Applied Arts, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso; Oladele Layiwola of the Institute of African Studies; Oluwafemi Mimiko of the department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife; Anthony Kolawole, and Babatunde Salako, a former provost of the university’s college of medicine and now the director-general of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in Lagos.

Eight scale first hurdle

Apart from Mr Raji, an Ibadan indigene, who withdrew from the race, the first round of screening conducted on Wednesday by the selection board for the remaining 15 candidates, pruned down the figure to eight.

The eight successful candidates include the acting vice-chancellor, Mr Ekanola; a deputy vice-chancellor, Adebowale; Aderinto, Farounbi, Aderoumu, Fawehinmi, Ademowo and Salako.

READ ALSO: UI Governing Council approves appointment of Ekanola as acting VC

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the candidates are currently being grilled by the five-member joint senate and council selection board which is chaired by Mr Oyegun. Other members of the board are Masud Kazaure and Abubakar Maikarfi representing the governing council while the duo of Peter Olapegba and Ezekiel Ayoola represent the university’s Senate.

This newspaper authoritatively learnt that Mr Oyegun will address a briefing on Thursday evening to present the candidate with the highest score to the public as the university’s 13th substantive vice-chancellor.

The spokesperson for the university, Olatunji Oladejo, in a telephone interview with our reporter, simply said the process of the appointment of the vice-chancellor has been smooth and that he could not say anything further.

Background

The University of Ibadan has been enmeshed in crisis in the last one year over the appointment of a new vice-chancellor.

The process had been greeted by a series of protests by the non-academic staff unions under the umbrella of the Joint Action Committee, accusing the dissolved governing council of bias.

The JAC comprises the university’s chapters of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech at the institution’s convocation ceremony recently, condemned the controversies surrounding the selection process and threatened consequences against anyone found guilty of manipulating the process.

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