Obafemi Awolowo University wants acting Vice Chancellor

Yinka Salaam, Osogbo

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State

The Academic Staff Union of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, has urged the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint an acting Vice Chancellor for the university, pending the appointment of a substantive VC and the resolution of other contending issues.

Professor Akinola Peter of the Department of Mathematics, who spoke on behalf of other lecturers, said the appointment of an acting VC was expedient to ensure smooth running of the University as the crisis rages.

Voice of Nigeria reports that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu had on June 30th, announced the dissolution of the University’s governing council.

Adamu equally directed that the process for selection of a new Vice-Chancellor be stopped until the determination of a pending court case.

Call for investigation
Addressing a press conference in Osogbo, Osun State capital, Professor Adegbola urged the “President to ensure proper investigation of allegations of misappropriation of resources of the university by the immediate past leadership.’’

He commended the Nigerian government over the dissolution of the Governing Council of the university.

“No academic in OAU can validly claim that due process had not been breached by the manner and actions of the University of the Governing Council since December last year.

“ASUU will always demand for due, free, fair and just process in an appointment. We are happy, okay with the dissolution of the Governing Council of OAU. However, we want the visitor to appoint an acting VC on time to avoid a vacuum in the administration of the university,” Adegbola stated.

A student body, Alliance of Nigerian Students against Neo-Liberal Attacks (ANSA) has described the dissolution of the Governing Council of OAU as a well deserved victory for students and workers of the institution.

In a release, signed by its Secretary, Wole Oluwajuwon, ANSA maintained that the workers, whose rights were being massively subverted, must prevent future reoccurrence by uniting for a genuine democratisation of the education sector.
It recalled that Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) had protested the VC selection process for months, as the entire process was tilted to favour one candidate over others.

Consequently, the unions approached the court and obtained an injunction restraining the Governing Council from proceeding with the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor, until the substantive suit was determined. But against the court order, the Council went ahead to announce Professor Ayobami Salami, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in the dissolved council, as substantive Vice-Chancellor.

Call for probe
The students’ coalition also called for the probe of the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bamitale Omole and the Chairman of the dissolved Governing Council for their management of the institution finances, saying, there were enough reasons for the probe.

It also urged workers and students to ensure that the university was restructured to permanently guarantee the role and place of unions in decision making and the running of the university.

“It is only when this is done that the university can run ‘dispute-free’, with transparency and accountability, as against the current practice that is characterised by secrecy and mismanagement,’’ the students coalition explained.