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Controversy trails selection process for FUOYE new VC

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MEMBERS of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), chapter have expressed concerns over what they described as the skewed process in which the appointment of the next Vice Chancellor of the university has been handled.

The tenure of Professor Kayode Soremekun, incumbent Vice Chancellor of the university will soon come to end and the search for a suitable candidate for the post has pitched the academic union and university management against each other over the choice of Professor Sunday Fasina, a Deputy Vice-Chancellor as a replacement.

In a letter obtained by The ICIR, and signed by Habibat Adubiaro, Vice-Chairperson of ASUU in the university, the union accused Soremekun, and Lawan Muhammadu Yahuza, Chairman FUOYE Governing Council, of working together to scuttle and manipulate the process in favour of a certain candidate.

The letter which was addressed to the federal ministry of education, the national university commission and federal character commission, ASUU alleged that despite previous intervention by concerned authorities, the VC and the council chairman are not following due process in the exercise.

According to ASUU, two out of the external members council and a representative of the ministry of education in the council had recused themselves from the process due to the high handedness of the council chairman.

The three members, who complained that the process for the vice-chancellor selection had been subverted for a suitable and qualified candidate to emerge, had subsequently sent official letters to the secretary to the council and registrar of FUOYE, indicating that they were recusing themselves from the illegality being conducted by the council chairman.

The representative of the minister for education in the council who observed that the selection committee had been totally sidestepped, advised the university management and council to adhere strictly to the administrative procedure of proper selection of a new vice-chancellor as laid down by the federal ministry of education through the National Universities Commission.

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Alkali Aji Kolo, another external council member who had recused himself from the process pointed to an existing court order that stops them from going ahead with the appointment ánd selection of a new vice-chancellor for the university which the pro-chancellor and council chairman and the outgoing vice-chancellor, have all ignored.

The union noted that the council chairman, who did not regard the concerns raised by the three members still went ahead to conduct a shadow council meeting consisting of himself and four internal members whose allegiances are to the outgoing vice-chancellor to perfect plans of imposing the supposed candidate.

ASUU wants both the vice-chancellor and council chairman to rescue themselves from the selection process to give room for a credible and emergence of a qualified candidate.

ASUU alleged that the “outgoing vice-chancellor is desperate to continue to control the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the university even after leaving office, so his interest in installing his successor.”

While calling for the process to start afresh, ASUU wants the vice-chancellor to proceed on a terminal leave demanding that an acting VC should be appointed pending the conclusion for the selection of a new VC.

“From the above, it is clear that the process of selecting a new Vice-Chancellor for FUOYE has been compromised. The process needs to be halted, outgoing Vice-Chancellor recused from the selection process and due process followed whereby the selection committee is allowed to operate.

“The Chairman of Council should be advised to protect the best interest of FUOYE so that competent academics can successfully steer the ship of the university.”

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More petitions

Similarly, the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), in a joint statement addressed to Mallam Adamu Adamu the federal ministry of education, shared the position of ASUU.

 The statement which was signed by Comrades Ojumoola Ayodele, Oyelude Yekeen, Abioye James, Ayeni Abraham, Faleye Benjamin O. and, Babafemi Oluwasola, chairmen and secretaries of SSANU, NASU and NAAT respectively, complained that the university governing council did not follow due process in the VC selection noting that “such is not good for the future of the university.”

Governing council suspends selection process

When contacted, Adeyinka Ademuyiwa, the institution’s deputy director of corporate services, referred this reporter to an earlier press statement and publication of The ICIR that announced the suspension of the VC selection process by the governing council on Thursday.

He said the council took the decision in order to address the concerns and complaints of some stakeholders involved in the selection exercise.

According to him, the council has received not less than 120 petitions before it

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He added that since FUOYE is handling the process of appointing the vice-chancellor for the first time, human errors are bound to occur in what is essentially a learning process and assured that the institution management is ready to correct such errors and deliver an acceptable appointment process.

Ministerial directive

Sources at the Federal Ministry of Education told our reporter that the Minister of Education has directed Professor Abdulrasheed Abubakar, the NUC Executive Secretary to summon the council members, VC, Registrar and all members of both Search and Selection Committees.

“They were summoned on Tuesday 8th December 2020,” a ministry official who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the press said.

“At the meeting where everybody was allowed to express their minds, the Executive Secretary having listened to all parties warned the VC never to interfere in the appointment processes again,” said another source who was privy to the meeting.

“In fact, the Secretary told the VC that he has no job at the meetings of any of the committees that his job stopped at the election of the Selection Committee by the University Senate.”

He said the NUC Executive Secretary also warned the Council Chairman against further defiance to the laws and guidelines on the appointment of VC.

Abubakar was reported to have blamed the university Registrar of incompetence that he ought to have advised the Council appropriately if he knew the job.

“The Secretary recommended the Registrar for training immediately so as to avoid further administrative errors.”

 

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