By Ugo Aliogo
A group, Concerned Citizens for Educational Development, has asked the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to comply with the presidential directives on the recall of the 13 vice-chancellors of some federal universities whose appointments were wrongfully terminated by the federal government last February.
The group in a statement in Abuja at the weekend, expressed concerns that despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s public apology for the wrongful dissolution of the governing boards of the affected universities, which preceded the sack of the vice-chancellors and the directive that the affected university dons should be recalled, the order is yet to be complied with by the minister.
It said: “We are however dismayed and befuddled that the Minister of Education – who is an appointee of the president – has chosen to misinterpret the President’s statement and turned a deaf ear to the directive by Mr. President that the whole imbroglio of sack/removal and replacement/appointment be reversed,” noting that, “This is quite unhealthy for our educational system and the apparatchik of governance as a whole.”
According to it, “Adamu has unwittingly usurped the powers of the Visitor to all federal universities by his tacit refusal to reverse his missteps. To this extent, the minister must be called to order and compelled to do things in the right manner to wit; recalling the sacked vice chancellors since he also made the decision unilaterally,” the group said.
The group recalled that, most of the affected vice chancellors etched their names in gold as heroes of our thriving democracy while serving as returning officers in the 2015 general election.
It is to the credit of the affected university vice chancellors, according to the group, that the dons refused to compromise and rig the 2015 general elections, the dividend of which, we all Nigerians now enjoy, stressing that, “As such these patriots should not be mistreated with such actions as have been meted against them by the Minister of Education.”
The group expressed hope that the universities must not be treated as what they described as, “A fiefdom of political compensation where autocracy prevails, then Mr. President’s stand – that vice chancellors cannot be removed or appointed without recourse to the governing council – ought to be implemented in its entirety.”
In conclusion, they called on the Minister of Education to refrain forthwith from flouting the good intentions of Mr. President for our educational system, demanding that, “He should in consonance and obedient compliance to Mr. President immediately recall the hitherto sacked vice chancellors. Anything to the contrary will be seen as brazen contempt for Mr. President and also an attempt to introduce autocracy and politicking into our universities in an era when autonomy and merit should be the prevailing order.”