• NUC: Apology not related

Paul Obi in Abuja

The federal government on Wednesday clarified the position of government relating to the recent apology by President Muhammadu Buhari over the sacked 13 vice chancellors and the dissolution of governing councils of universities.

Buhari had apologised for the decision by government to hurriedly terminate the appointments of universities’ vice chancellors, particularly, their governing councils, without recourse to the extant laws.

He did so at a forum in Abuja with All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwarts.

The president had told his party members that government “gave a blanket order which we had to rescind when we said all boards are suspended or dissolved. We had to go back and lick our vomit in terms of universities councils because we found out that according to their laws, they cannot choose vice chancellors unless the councils sit and interview candidates who want to be VCs. So, there is nothing wrong in saying sorry and going back on your decision. So, we said sorry and allow all the universities to continue with their councils. So, please, try to bear with us as we reflect on where we found ourselves.”

But speaking to THISDAY, Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of Education, Dauda Abdulramid, explained that the president’s apology does not connote reinstating the sacked vice chancellors given that government’s earlier position was no longer reversible.

Abdulramid told THISDAY that notwithstanding Buhari’s apology, the decision by government cannot be rescinded by recalling the sacked vice chancellors.

“He did not say that he has reversed the sack, he only apologised. Once government takes a decision, it stands by it. Maybe, subsequently, they will take caution next time. But that does not mean he clearly stated that the sacked Vice Chancellors should be recalled,” he added.

Similarly, Head of Information and Public Relations, National University Commission (NUC), Ibrahim Yakassi, in an interview with THISDAY, collaborated the position of the minister’s aide, arguing that “the situation is misunderstood; the president was speaking in past tense, go back and read what he said.

“He made reference to the dissolution of all boards in this country. It has nothing to do with the 13 vice chancellors that were recently disengaged. It has no relation to that. The president when he dissolved all boards in this country included all the councils of federal universities then. But he rescinded that decision as he said because the councils needed to be in place to appoint vice chancellors. There was a process then; most universities’ vice chancellors were going then.”