As the vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan (UI), Oyo State, Idowu Olayinka, bows out of office Monday, three major candidates have emerged in the race to be appointed an acting vice-chancellor.
The development is as a result of the inconclusive selection process for the appointment of a substantive successor to Mr Olayinka.
Following the directive by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the 639-member senate of the university will, on Monday morning, vote for a nominee for the governing council’s approval as the acting vice-chancellor.
Thus, barring any last minute change ahead of today’s senate meeting on the campus, findings by PREMIUM TIMES have revealed that the trio of the incumbent deputy vice-chancellor (academics), Adebola Ekanola; former dean, faculty of technology, Ayo Oluleye, and a professor of political science, Adigun Agbaje, will slug it out.
NUC steps in
For the second time in a week, the National Universities Commission (NUC), the regulatory body for universities in the country, has written to the governing council of the university to intervene in the lingering crisis over the selection of a substantive vice-chancellor.
The body had earlier on Monday, November 23, cancelled the then ongoing processes towards appointing a substantive VC. It also listed steps to be followed by the council towards addressing the controversies surrounding the selection process.
In its latest letter dated November 27, NUC directed the university’s governing council to postpone its meeting earlier scheduled for 10a.m on Monday to 3p.m, in order to pave way for the meeting of the senate to appoint one of its members as an acting vice-chancellor. It, however, cautioned that none of the 18 candidates for the substantive vice-chancellorship position, who had earlier been screened to be qualified for the appointment, should be considered for the nomination as acting VC.
The council is directed to confirm the nomination during its meeting later on Monday.
The letter, which was signed by the deputy executive secretary, (academics), Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf, is referenced; NUC/ES/334/Vol.125/74.
It reads in part; “In view of the fact that the tenure of the incumbent vice-chancellor expires on Monday, November 30, 2020, it is pertinent for the governing council to meet in the afternoon of Monday, November 30, 2020, to consider and approve the appointment of the senate nominee as acting vice chancellor in order to avoid a vacuum in the administration of the university.
“Following the appointment of an acting vice-chancellor, the outgoing vice-chancellor should hand over to the acting vice-chancellor possibly on Monday, November 30, 2020, or latest by Tuesday, December 1, 2020.”
The body also directed the chairman of the governing council, Joshua Waklek, to meet with the minister on Wednesday, December 2, for an update on the selection process towards appointing a substantive vice-chancellor.
As the incumbent deputy vice-chancellor and a loyalist of the outgoing VC, Ekanola, will likely be nominated by the supporters of deputy VC in charge of administration, Kayode Adebowale. Mr Adebowale is seen by many as the favorite candidate of the outgoing vice-chancellor as his successor.
ALSO READ: UI VC Appointment: Again, council members write minister, accuse chairperson, VC of conspiracy
Mr Ekanola was chosen last week to chair the emergency senate meeting where the decision to hold the controversial rerun of the annulled senate election. The senate election, which eventually held on Wednesday November 25 with less than half of the members of the senate participating, has been criticised by stakeholders and described as kangaroo.
It was in anticipation of Mr Ekanola’s nomination that other members of the senate shopped for another candidate, who they felt would stay neutral in the contest for the position of a substantive vice-chancellor.
But Mr Ekanola said there is no contest over the position, saying it is the prerogative of the senate to choose who it wishes to be appointed an acting vice-chancellor.
“There is no race here. There are no forms for applicants to be purchased and there will be no such things that characterise contests. So, let’s leave the decision for the senate to take,” he told our reporter on the phone on Monday morning.
Asked whether he is being considered for the acting VC’s position or not, Mr Ekanola said the decision should be left for the senate.
On his part, Mr Oluleye is a product of those who oppose the candidature of both Messrs Ekanola and Adebowale as acting and substantive VC respectively.
According to an insider, who does not want to be mentioned, those who approached Mr Oluleye believed in his maturity and independence, “and a better alternative to Ekanola.”
The professor of industrial and production engineering, who joined the university in 1981, has been described by some of his supporters as a better administrator, having served as a head of department and as dean of a faculty.
But speaking on the phone with our reporter, Mr Oluleye, believes that peace and tranquillity should be the focus of anyone interested in the progress of the premier university.
He said he would not like to comment on the matter, even as he advises the media to stay neutral in the crisis rocking the university, rather than fuelling the controversies.
“Thank you for reaching out to me. I do not believe this is a matter for the press. Though we recognise your importance, I think it is ideal for the university to be accorded the dignity of its ability to address its matters justly without unnecessary rancour,” he said on the phone.
Meanwhile, as of the time of filing this report, it is not clear those who were behind the possible nomination of Mr Agbaje, a political scientist.
Efforts to reach him on the phone were also not successful as he did not pick calls to his mobile line.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...