By Tordue Salem
ABUJA—The body of academics at the University of Ibadan, UI, has petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan discrediting the appointment of a new vice chancellor for the university.
The petition, copies of which were sent to the Minister of Education, Prof Ruqayyat Ahmed Rufai and others, and made available to newsmen, was jointly signed by Dr. Kibati Ugochukwu and Pastor J.O. Adetunji.
The academics, under the auspices of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, UI branch, have urged the president to intervene in the matter before the tenure of the incumbent VC expires.
The tenure of the present Vice Chancellor, Prof Femi Bamiro, ends today.
“The university will rather have a credible Acting Vice-Chancellor to run its affairs, while the issues raised are properly investigated, than having a person of questionable integrity imposed on it by the Chairman of Council who now views reversing his decision as an ego matter,” the petitioners said.
They alleged that the anointed candidate as successor to Bamiro, Prof Isaac Adewole, had abused his office as Provost in 2004 when he apponited his wife as a lecturer in his department, while better qualified candidates were shut out of the process of recruitment.
“He chaired the departmental promotions panel which assessed his spouse for promotion in 2009 and he falsified weighted score of his spouse’s publications in his recommendation to the Dean of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences (instead of 20.3 points given by Departmental Panel, he recorded 21.55 to gain additional points and enhance her chances of being promoted,” the petition stated.
The petition also alleged that the Vice Chancellor-designate had misappropriated the N50 million grant by the Federal Ministry of Health in 2005/2006 for the rehabilitation of Ibarapa Primary Health Care Centre for training of students of the College of Medicine.
According to the petition, the documents claiming the misappropriation of N50million should suffice to stop the erstwhile Provost of the College of Medicine who is set to be the next VC of the university.
The petitioners regretted that instead of taking the VC-designate on, with the “facts” they had presented, the Chairman of the University Governing Council went ahead with praises of the man. “Instead, the Chairman of Council went ahead in his convocation address on Friday, November 19, 2010, to defend the candidate and reaffirmed that he is the confirmed candidate for vice-chancellorship of the University of Ibadan.
“This is despite the fact that the Igboora community had repeatedly complained about the failure of the College of Medicine to give value for the N50million grant during the tenure of the anointed candidate of the chairman of council.
“It is on record that the University management, led by the vice-chancellor visited Igboora and had a meeting with the elders of the community on Sunday, July 25, 2010, and promised to take appropriate action on the execution of the projects in accordance with the original proposal of 2005,” he said.
The petitioners want a quick dealing of the matter by the president to “restore sanity” to the University of Ibadan.
Chairman of Governing Council, Chief Wole Oanipekun, SAN, in his convocation address on November 19 defended the selection of Professor Adewole as Vice Chancellor-designate and reaffirmed that he was the confirmed candidate for vice-chancellorship of the University of Ibadan.
Also Olanipekun, while announcing the name of Adewole on September 1, said his appointment followed rigorous exercise that lasted about seven months, during which twelve applicants were thoroughly screened.
Olanipekun told journalists that the name of the vice chancellor-designate would soon be forwarded to the visitor of the institution, President Goodluck Jonathan, for endorsement.
He said the selection team followed all the laws and due processes required for the choice of a new vice chancellor.
The Pro-Chancellor, in an apparent reaction to allegation of excluding some applicants on age factor, said “rather, we tried as much as possible to accommodate everyone. We advertised and allowed a level playing ground”.