Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education and Services have appealed to the federal government to rescind its sack of the Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Vincent Tenebe.
The lawmakers stated that since Tenebe was already midway into his two-year extension granted to him by the Governing Council of the university and approved by the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, government would not lose anything by allowing him to complete the tenure, which remainings one year.
The lawmakers made the appeal last Wednesday during a dialogue session with representatives of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu, over the sack of 13 vice-chancellors of federal universities by the federal government in February.
Tenebe was affected by the sack, but unlike eight of the vice-chancellors whose tenures were remaining just two weeks before the sack, the NOUN VC had slightly more than one year before the expiration of his extended tenure.
The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Aminu Suleiman, who made the appeal on behalf of other members of the committee, stated that: “It is on record that Tenebe worked very meritoriously to turn the National Open University to a world class university. Before him, very little was known about the university, but through his tenacity and hard work, it is to his credit that the university has today become a household name in Nigeria and abroad.”
Continuing, he said: “It is only proper for the regulator to advise the federal government that such person who has sacrificed so much to the growth of the university be allowed to exhaust his remaining tenure. The system should have a way of encouraging such person who has given so much to the service of the country. Why can’t we allow him since he already knows that in the next one year he will leave office? That way, continuity would be maintained.”
The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, who led the team from the ministry to the dialogue, while admitting that President Jonathan truly approved the extension of Tenebe’s tenure as vice-chancellor, stated that following the unification of the guidelines and procedures governing all federal universities in the country, the present administration has decided to discontinue to exercise further discretions in the extension of the tenure of any vice-chancellor in the country.
He further explained that the present administration has decided to comply strictly to the provisions of the universities (miscellaneous provisions) (amendment) Act 2012, which provides for five year single non renewable term, for all VCs of federal universities in the country.
While also acknowledging the great contributions of Tenebe in the growth and development of the NOUN Okojie promised that the ministry would recommend to the Federal Government that Tenebe be given more opportunity to serve the country in other capacities.
“If a man is good, it is not only in the university that he can perform. He is a very articulate and hardworking person no doubt, but we are talking about the law here. We have heard what you said and we shall recommend to the government that he be made to serve the country in another capacity,” Okojie pledged.