By Adesina Wahab
THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has described the agitations by some individuals and groups that indigenes of towns where universities are sited be made the vice chancellors of such universities as reducing the institutions to local entities.
The union, through the National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, in a chat with Vanguard, also said universities are universal in nature and that appointments there should be devoid of ethnic and other sentiments. The union was reacting to the recent action by some people in Ile Ife who protested against the choice of a non-indigene as the VC of Obafemi Awolowo University.
“They have taken universality out of the university system in the country. Assuming without conceding the fact, does it mean an ile Ife son has not been vice chancellor in any other university? That is the ridiculous level we have found ourselves regarding the handling of education issues in the country We now have a situation whereby some members of Governing Councils are appointed because of political considerations not competence. Some of them don’t know their onions.
“When Adamu Baike was the VC of UNIBEN did where he came from matter? Eni Njoku was VC in UNILAG, Dike was VC in UI. Is VC not about being competent? So, the VCs in all universities in the South-West must be Yoruba, those in the North must be Hausa/Fulani and those in the South-East must be Igbo? The university is universal and a Russian can be heading a university in America and vice versa.”
He also wondered if the funds used in setting up these universities were sourced from their host communities only. The ASUU boss also blamed the government for not putting the right persons in the Governing Councils of the universities, saying some council members lacked the knowledge of how to run the universities.
In recent times, the choice of who become the VCs of some universities has been turned into what some people have labelled ‘a show of shame.’ Recently, some people took over the main gate of OAU to protest the non-recommendation of an Ife man as the next OAU VC.
Meanwhile, the Traditional Religion Worshippers Association has dissociated itself from the OAU protest. A statement by Chief Ifasola Onifade and Dr Oluseyi Atanda, exonerated the group from the issue. “While we recognise the inalienable right of whoever feels aggrieved to protest of any perceived injustice, we consider it strange that our sacred costumes, parapanelia and other items (except charms and strange objects as reported) synonymous with traditionalists were adorned by the protesters.
“After thorough checks, we discovered that the protesters were neither members of TRAWSO in our Ile-Ife branch, nor belong to our other branches around the Ile Ife community. As respected members of traditional institution, we were not involved in the running of the affairs of OAU and we were not involved in the processes that led to the appointment of the new Vice Chancellor for the University, hence, we have no justifiable reason to protest the appointment of the VC of the institution, a federal university for that matter.”
“We call on security agencies to investigate and uncover those that dressed like traditionalists and invaded OAU and prosecute those that are found wanting. Our members were not involved in the protest. The activities of those involved are self-serving and shameful.
The worrisome aspect is the fact that the protesters tended to portray us in bad light as fetish and uncivilised and we warn against the use of our items by people that are not known to us. Those that are involved should be warned seriously as our members will not take kindly with the repeat of such show of shame which may attract stronger reaction, or even litigation from our end to protect our integrity.
“We also advise whoever wants to express displeasure through protest to take proper channel and desist from the conducts capable of destroying the integrity and honour of others. We want to place it on record that our members did not participate in such despicable acts and we dissociate ourselves from the protest and describe same as inexplicable to use anything belonging to us, when in the real sense of it, the cause of the protest has nothing to do with us.
“We believe in fairness and we oppose cutting corners. We did not participate in the protest within the Campus of OAU and we are not in anyway displeased with the management of the University regarding the running of the Institution.”