Protest stalls announcement of V-C for University of Ibadan

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Protests by unions on Wednesday compelled the University of Ibadan (UI) to suspend the announcement of a new vice-chancellor who would have been the 13th in line.

Members of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and those of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) stormed the Council chambers where the final selection would have been made earlier on Wednesday and disrupted the proceedings.

They also barricaded the varsity gate in protest against perceived plan by the university Council to impose an unpopular candidate as vice-chancellor at the premier university.

Mr Wale Akinremi, Chairman SSANU, UI chapter, said that following the protest, the Pro-Chancellor and Council chairman, Nde Joshua Waklek, addressed the unionists and ordered the immediate suspension of the selection process.

“The Council chairman will be meeting with the unions on Friday to chart a way forward,’’ he said.

One of the shortlisted finalists also confirmed that the selection process had been suspended.

A five-man selection panel, headed by Waklek, was supposed to have announced a candidate out of six finalists shortlisted.

Five of the candidates are on the staff list of the university while the sixth one came from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

They were shortlisted out of 18 professors, eyeing the post, made 15 minutes presentation each at the Council screening on Tuesday.

Three of the finalists are Prof. Kayode Adebowale, Prof. Olusegun Ademowo and Prof. Ebenezer Farombi.

The other three are Prof. Abideen Aderinto, Prof. Babatunde Salako and Prof. Femi Mimiko from Obafemi Awolowo University.

Other members of the panel are two external representatives from the Federal Ministry of Education, Sir Ben Okoronkwo and Dr Uchena Uba.

The two elected representatives of the Senate in the screening committee are Prof. Ezekiel Ayoola and Prof. Peter Olapegba

Akinremi had said earlier on Wednesday that members of the screening committee elected internally “got there through manipulated and fraudulent electoral process’’.

“We will never work with the candidate they plan to impose on us. We have even locked the varsity’s gate,’’ he said.

“We must restart the process. Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the sitting vice-chancellor, must hand over to an acting vice-chancellor,’’ he stressed.

The university’s NASU Chairman, Mr Etim, had also said earlier that the unions decided to make its grievances known because “the process of selection of a vice-chancellor for the university has been very faulty  from the beginning.

“They want to impose a candidate on us through this faulty process and we are saying we cannot accept any imposition.

“Yes, we have had internal crisis before, but the one that triggered today’s protest is the selection process,’’ he said.

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