Pro Chancellors condemn protest, violence over new OAU VC

cbec oau
cbec oau

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities has condemned the recent protest and violence that erupted in the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, over the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adebayo Bamire.

Indigenes of Ile-Ife had registered their displeasure with the announcement of Prof. Bamire as the new Vice Chancellor of OAU, with protest that disrupted academic and non academic activities in the school.

Besides blocking the entrance to the University and preventing the free flow of traffic, the protest assumed a most bizarre dimension when masquerades and traditionalists began to parade the campus, placing fetish objects in various locations.

Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs, in a statement on Wednesday, said the insistence that an indigene of Ile-Ife be appointed to the position of Vice Chancellor that formed the basis of the protest is very unfortunate at two levels.

“First, OAU is a federal institution and has staff from all over Nigeria. Second, and more importantly is the fact that OAU is a university that recruit staff and students from all over the world.

“In the same vein, the Vice-Chancellor can come from any part of Nigeria and beyond. The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities, thus notes that stringent protocols guide the appointment of Vice-Chancellors.

“First, is a defined scoring formula that is not subjective which is followed by an oral presentation of the candidate’s vision for the University if appointed, and his or her track record and pedigree in realising aspects of that vision.

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“The answers provided, thereafter, constitute what makes the difference between applicants. The Pro Chancellor chairs the Selection Committee while the final decision is approved by the Governing Council.”

Prof. Briggs confirmed that the Owelle Oscar Udoji led Council meticulously went through the process to appoint Prof. Bamire as Vice Chancellor, and saluted the fortitude and candour of members in insisting that only the best is best for OAU, which remains one of the best schools in the continent of Africa.

He said that, while several Nigerians and other stakeholders such as the Alumni Association of OAU, the Osun State Government, and the Palace of the Ooni of Ife condemned the act, the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities insists that the matter be properly investigated by the country’s law enforcement agents, and criminal charges brought against those who fomented it.

He said that such punitive measures would serve as deterrence towards future occurrences and protect the Vice-Chancellor when he assumes office.

He urged all stakeholders to forge a common front to tackle the many challenges that currently bedevil Universities in Nigeria, particularly the periodic industrial actions that often interrupt academic programmes.

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