By Gabriel Dike, Lagos
The selection process to pick a new vice chancellor for the Federal University Oye Ekiti has hit the brick wall, with three members of the Governing Council opting out of the appointment exercise in protest against non-compliance with laid down rules and agreed procedures.
Two external council members and the representative of the Federal Ministry of Education in the Governing Council pulled out and alleged that the Governing Council chairman and the FUOYE outgoing Vice-Chancellor are manipulating the selection exercise to favour a candidate.
In separate letters to the Registrar and Secretary to the Governing Council, the three aggrieved council members expressed pleasure about the handling of the selection process and opted out of the appointment of a new VC.
One of the external members, Sabo Inuwa, said: ‘With interested parties multiplying by the day, and trying to manipulate the selection processes for a suitable person to emerge as VC of our young university to advantage, I feel torn apart and severely constrained, operating in such a heavily charged atmosphere, yet wanting to remain fair-minded and just.
‘I, therefore, wish to honourably recuse myself from participating in this and subsequent meetings that may convene, for the purposes of this recruitment exercise; unless of course appropriate steps are taken to remedy the situation.
‘Such steps may include (but not limited to) honouring an earlier (verbal and voluntary) request, made by the outgoing VC, a dear friend and valued brother, to the chairman of the council. I am convinced that by easing myself out of these quagmires, tempers may cool, paving the way for the system to save itself from imploding on its own weight.’
Another external council member, Alkali Kolo, said: ‘We are now certainly at a crossroad in our history, which is appointing a new VC for the first time using guidelines and provisions laid down by the Federal Ministry of Education. We must therefore do the right thing by strictly adhering to the laws and procedures throughout the process.
‘We have advised the chairman on several occasions regarding this issue on the way forward and the consequences of doing otherwise. All stakeholders must therefore work hard to ensure the next VC emerges through fair, transparent and credible process devoid of inducements, imposition or threats. Any attempt to produce the next VC illegally by improper ways such as undue compromises, skipping or altering council decision on agreed sequence and dates of the process will be a contravention.
‘No single council member has the monopoly of power to appoint the VC, not even the Chairman. The power lies with the Council. Council decisions are sacrosanct and can only be reversed or altered by the council itself in a properly constituted meeting.’
In his protest letter, representative of the Federal Ministry of Education on the Council, Mr Abudlahi Jibrin, said he was complied to advise FUOYE management and council of need to adhere strictly to rules and procedures for the appointment of a new VC.
‘Note that having a council meeting is required to receive applications, produce shortlist using advertisement requirements and handover to the selection committee to commence its work, this is an important item in the procedure. Any meeting of selection committee without the list as stated in No 2 above is illegal.
‘Holding two council meetings consecutively outside council’s venue is also wrong. The decision of the 22nd council meeting on the timeline and activities for the selection process for the appointment of VC is in line with extant rules and is sacrosanct. I would like to be excused from any illegality, please,’ he said.
Reacting to the allegations, FUOYE Deputy Director, Corporate Services, Mr Yinka Ademuyiwa, said it is not true that members of the Council are withdrawing from their roles in the process leading to the appointment of the VC.
‘Any observed or perceived disagreement is normal in a group over issues of contest. But in Team FUOYE, the larger bigger picture is more important than parochial sectional interests. Every member of the Council has been part of the process. Quorums are being formed at every meeting and meetings are ahead of where members will once again demonstrate their patriotic and nationalistic zeal over and above sectional consideration. Wait for that meeting if you don’t want to run foul of impartial judgement,’ he said.