By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN â€” THE protracted crisis rocking the University of Benin (UNIBEN) over the choice of a substantive vice-chancellor was laid to rest yesterday, as the Governing Council of the University announced the appointment of Professor Osayuki Godwin Oshodin, the immediate past Dean of Education, as the new Vice-Chancellor of the institution.
This is the first time a Bini man would be occupying the position in the universityâ€™s 39- year history.
However, one of the candidates, Professor Emma-nuel Obaseki-Ebo, who claimed that he emerged first in the interview, faulted the emergence of Professor Oshodin, saying due process was not followed.
Consequently, he urged the Council to declare him the authentic winner, having emerged first among the three candidates that took part in the interview.
However, a joyous Profes-sor Oshodin, who was flanked by family, friends and other well wishers, declared that he emerged based on merit and gave glory to God for finding him worthy for the job.
Announcing Oshodinâ€™s appointment through a statement signed by the Head, Public Relations and Protocol, of the university, Mr Richmond Omagbemi, the Governing Council of the university, led by the former deputy governor of Rivers State, Sir Gabriel Tobi, and eight others, said his appointment, which took effect yesterday, November 30, 2009, was for a tenure of five years.
Protesting the emergence of Professor Oshodin at the NUJ centre, Benin City, Professor Obaseki-Ebo asserted that â€œrecords have it that the ranking of the interview exercise placed me as first in the interview.
â€œThere was no voting for a final choice of the selected person in Council, how then did the Council appoint Professor Oshodin as the Vice-Chancellor?
â€œI need justice, fair play and due process to be followed because we are in an academic society to restore confidence in the academic system.â€
Reacting to his victory, Professor Oshodin assured that he would bring back peace to the university and insisted that his emergence followed due process and had nothing to do with the Bini agenda, as it was being insinuated in some quarters.
â€œThe first thing I will embark on is reconciliation. I will bring everybody together as a family. We have always been like a family.
â€œYou can recall that a few years back, we had a vice-chancellor who brought all of us together. I will follow that footstep of bringing all the groups together and that will be the first thing I will do,â€ he said.
On whether he emerged as a result of the agitation by the Binis to produce the next vice-chancellor, Oshodin stated: â€œI do not think my emergence has any thing to do with Bini agenda.
â€œPersonally, I have never attended any of the group’s meeting.Â I was just on my own. I am a Bini man to the core, but I was just on my own. I emerged based on merit, nothing more.â€
Oshodin, an indigene of Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State was born on August 9, 1950.
He attended the Western Boys High School, Federal School of Science, Lagos; Central State University Ohio, USA; University of New York and the Columbia University, USA.
He joined UNIBEN as a Research Fellow in 1981 and rose to the position of a Professor in 1991.
He is an external assessor and external examiner to more than fifteen universities and also a member of twenty learned societies and has bagged 41 awards and honours.
He also held the position of Dean of Students Affairs.
He has over 78 academic publications, six books and twenty-seven other books as co-author.
Oshodin is married and hasÂ five children. He is succeeding Professor Emmanuel Nwanze whose tenure terminated in February 2009.